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Northern Lights Hardcover – October 12, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 270 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Roberts shines again with a nuanced tale of the Alaskan wilderness and the appealing eccentrics who cluster there. Former Baltimore cop Nate Burke accepts the unlikely post of police chief of Lunacy, Alaska (pop. 506), to stave off the depression caused by divorce and the traumatic death of his partner, for which he holds himself partly responsible. His early days in the close-knit town are quiet except for minor disturbances and a dalliance with a feisty bush pilot, Meg Galloway. Then Meg's father, who disappeared 16 years before, is found frozen in a remote mountain cave, an ice ax in his chest. The discovery that Pat Galloway was murdered—most likely by a local—shakes up the town and drives his murderer to commit a second, cover-up killing. Though state authorities dismiss that death as suicide, Nate pursues it as a crime—a decision that puts him at odds with many outspoken Lunatics, as the townspeople call themselves. With quiet inexorability he fields the flak, uncovers long-forgotten events and finds a tough but loving balance with the fiercely independent Meg. Though billed as romantic suspense, the novel forsakes artificial genre conventions in favor of a wry, affectionate look at community bonds, generational wounds and soul-testing landscapes. The result is a richly textured novel that captures the intimacy of smalltown police work, the prickliness of the pioneer spirit and the paradox of a setting at once intimate and expansive, welcoming and hostile, indisputably American and yet profoundly exotic to those in the Lower 48.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Nate Burke, a Baltimore police detective, blamed himself for the death of his partner in a shootout, and the resulting anger and grief sent him into a depression so dark and deep he thought he would never climb back out. Then Nate decides to accept the position of police chief in the small town of Lunacy, Alaska, and it seems as if life is giving him one more chance. Things are certainly different in Lunacy, and Nate begins to enjoy his encounters with the town's colorful inhabitants, especially bush pilot Meg Galloway. The unexpected romance that slowly develops between Nate and Meg becomes quite complicated, however, when the body of Meg's father, who disappeared in 1988, is found in an ice cave, and Nate has to try to keep his new love safe from a cold-blooded murderer who is willing to kill again to keep old secrets safely buried. RITA Award-winning and New York Times best-selling Roberts beautifully captures the rugged splendor of Alaska, and her cast of uniquely endearing secondary characters adds just the right touch of quirky humor to her splendidly entertaining, sexy, and suspenseful romance about two tough yet vulnerable people. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152054
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And what a wonderful trip it is. Nora Roberts simply does not know how to write a bad novel and even though this one went more than 500 pages, as far as I'm concerned, she could have doubled it. What was unique about Northern Lights was that the love story was second to the love of the scenery. I've never been to Alaska, but after Northern Lights, I really want to go. I could feel that bone deep chill or see the four feet of new snow. Just as she has done in her other novels "The Villa," or "Midnight Bayou," Ms. Roberts sucks you right into each scene.

As for the "lovers," Meg had fewer flaws than some of her other female characters. She's a strong, independent woman who can truly take men or leave them. Initially, it seemed that Meg pitied Nate. He certainly was a pitiable soul.

And if there were two things that dropped this review from a 5 to a 4 star, it is based on two things: (1) I still felt sorry for Nate even when the book regrettably ended and (2)as others have commented, the love affair grew a little too quickly.

Will I invest in another Nora Robb book? You better believe it, pal!
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Format: Hardcover
Being an Alaska resident, I was very interested to see the setting of Ms. Roberts new book Northern Lights. The book was entertaining in NR style, and it amused me to see certain parallels between where I live and 'Lunacy'. However, I was slightly disapointed with her misuse of several facts and wish the book had been edited more. Alaskans do not hunt in the spring, there are no moose herds, and we do not, in fact, have deer in Alaska exept for the southern islands. As for the characters, some of the whole independence thing went a bit to the extremes, but it did resemble true Alaskans at heart. Suffice to say, it was one of the better ones about my state that I've read.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading all the other reviews (I read the book before reading the reviews, thank heavens, as I might not have bought it if I had read the reviews first!) I am completely puzzled at most of the reviews. First of all, I was thinking that I could have done with a little less of the sexy love scenes, yet these other reviewers are complaining that there aren't enough, or that they aren't hot enough, I"m not really sure what their complaints are. I disagree with both complaints, as there were several pages dedicated to each happenstance of Meg and Nate's couplings, and they were graphic enough for anyone that wasn't looking for porn. We weren't supposed to feel sympathetic toward Charlene at the beginning of the story, she wasn't a very likeable character, it took the unfolding of her background and circumstances, what made her the way she was, to turn her into a sympthetic character. She still didn't ring any bells with me, but everyone reacts to life's blows in different ways and I am sure that there are some women in real life who would react to her man leaving her nearly penniless, with a small child to raise, as immaturely as Charlene's character did. She does change as the story evolves, and the mystery here that leaves us hanging is how she raised a daughter with such character and integrity. Meg is a little too independent for my tastes, but the Women's Movement may account for that, I'm old fashioned and not into the W.M., I like having men (one man)take care of me, but understand that there are women out there who feel entirely different, and as Meg is of a younger generation, I accept the character as written. So we accept Meg the way she is, feisty and independent, as Ms. Roberts portrayed her. What is wrong with that?Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book! I have spent alot of time in Alaska, and it is the perfect setting. It is a bit unusual, but there isn't just one story being told. The current drama involves Nate Burke, the new chief of police by way of Baltimore, and Meg Galloway, a local pilot. They are oil and water, but of course it is lust at first sight. While we are following the new journey for Meg and Nate, the other story being told from the past at the same time is of Pat Galloway. Meg's father has been missing for 16 years, and we learn what happened to him all those years ago. As both stories collide, the mystery and danger escalate.
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Format: Hardcover
Don't get me wrong, as usual, Nora did a great job, but I did not fall in love w/the characters the way I have in some. My favorite characters of hers have been her J.D. Robb series, w/Eve and Roarke and Finn and Deanna in Private Scandals. (Not that you can tell those 4 apart, just set in different time periods.) Nate was great, he just was not "it" for me. In some ways I felt we got alot more interaction with other characters and did not have as much one on one time w/Nate and Meg.

I have seen in prior reviews that alot of people had trouble w/Meg. I didn't, but then I was willing to take into account that she was raised up hard, in a difficult way of life, and this was her result, she was almost tougher than Nate.

While I did not fall in love w/Nate and Meg, I did fall in love with the town of Lunacy, Alaska. Hobb, the feisty mayor, Bing the cantankerous tow truck driver. Peach and Otto, (who I personally think need to hook up.) Peter the young deputy, and pretty shy Rose w/her darling son Jesse. These characters were well developed and thought out, and I thought the romance was more the love of the town and the way of life.

There were some amazing descriptions, and for anyone who thinks they want to go to alaska, I think this will whet your appetite. This is a mystery book where 2 people get together. They are normal people w/flaws, there are no super billionaires, or virgins, if thats what you want, hit the historical shelf. This book has tough characters, and if you skim it you will miss alot.

If you are a straight romance fan, wait for the paperback or library. If you are a fan of mysteries, this one will keep you guessing, and unlike the other reviewers, I found it to be very clear why the murder took place.
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