Customer Reviews: Northern Lights
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on October 19, 2004
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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on March 6, 2005
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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on October 24, 2004
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? It is the author's prerogrative to form her character's as she sees them, and wants them to be. The main part of the story for me, and the reason I bought the book, was the murder mystery, and none of the earlier reviews even touches on that, only on the romance between Meg and Nate! If romance was all I was looking for when I paid the high price that I did for this book, I would have spent less and bought a Harlequin Romance Novel! It was the deaths and who was committing them that kept me riveted with my nose in this book and could barely put it down

until the unveiling of the coldhearted murderer. I must say that I had an inkling of who it was about half way through, but wasn't sure until the actual showdown. The suspense kept me reading until the very end, and unable to put it down even when the wee hours of the morning told me to give it up until the next day, but the suspense overruled common sense and I kept at it until the end! The book is well worth the price I paid, as far as I am concerned, and I like it better than the supernatural books that Ms. Roberts has written a lot of in the past few years. It was completely realistic, and her description of the Alaskan Northern Lights is the best that I have ever read.

Alphia D. Larkins
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VINE VOICEon February 6, 2008
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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on October 18, 2004
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. It was all about the money, I had a harder time trying to figure out the Star Wars aspect, and still never fully got it, but I am living w/it.

I definatley recommend it, if you read the above qualifier and can live with it. Good reading!
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on October 28, 2004
The thing is that for you to enjoy this type of book, you need to like romance and have a modern woman's perspective. I've read several reviews by men that gave me a good chuckle. Although I do not disagree with them on many of their criticisms, I think that Nora Roberts is a wonderful writer who provides her readers exactly what they are yearning for. Even though Roberts includes thorough details on substantive matters, professions and the such, she is still a romance writer. I think that because of the setting and the title this book may attract more male readers, but men beware...her modern view of sex roles may shock your senses. ;-)

I enjoyed this book. As I usually enjoy Nora Robert's novels. I liked the setting. Nora Roberts does such a good job describing the scenery and the character's perception of the Alaskan winter that I actually felt cold as I was reading. Though the book does not glamorize living in Alaska, it certainly makes you want to go visit.

The characters, are well formed, from appearance to personality. She accomplishes this not just by description, but by providing the characters with unique idiosyncrasies and speech pattern or language. (at one point, I accidentally flipped two pages together during a conversation between Nate and Rose, at first I thought I just missed something, but when I read the second line, I knew that someone else was talking because of how the speach pattern was written) This takes talent and an understanding of people. The book was a bit long, but it was interesting from start to finish and easy to read. I think that she does a particularly good job at portraying Nate's despair and his character's healing process or transition into a more stable/happy frame of mind. Her femeine characters were good as well.(Notice the pink and red associations in several of her books?) The conflict between mother and daughter was clearly delineated and added more depth.

Overall a read worth the time. I would not expect anything less from Nora.

PS: I am adding this to my review after reading some of the other reviews. It's kind of interesting to see how different people criticize different things about the same book. I've commented upon men's criticisms above, but here I have a message for some of the traditional romance readers. I don't agree with all the comments on Meg's character. I think that people need to stop romanticizing characters. I think that it's helpful to have a non-perfect heroine or love interest once in a while. They don't all have to sweet and beautiful to be captivating. So much for the feminist movement! I think that Meg, yes was rough around the edges, but she was real. I simply can not imagine a woman at her age, living in Alaska, flying planes for a living, who would not be tough and self sufficient. I also found it interesting that she is not described as beautiful, yet Nate finds her attractive. Hey that's real! I laughed during the Bear scene. I don't want to ruin anything, but I'll just say that I don't know many men who would have taken that as well as Nate did. He's a sport!!
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on January 2, 2006
What a cracker of a book and what a thrilling movie it would make! Nate Burke is a mentally fragile cop who was present when his partner was fatally wounded and he himself wounded. A part of him keeps insisting that he could have done more to save his partner, even though his real self knows that he did all that was possible. Around the same time as the killing, his marriage fell apart and left him hovering on the brink of a complete mental breakdown. In an effort to keep himself stable, he transfers, as Chief of Police, to Lunacy, a tiny, aptly named town in Alaska. The town is peopled with characters straight out of a novel, most of them likeable, some crazies, some surlies and one in particular, most lovable. Meg Galloway is the local bush pilot, picking up and dropping off passengers, packages and supplies in her tiny plane. Meg's father was a larger than life, Errol Flynn type character who supposedly just took off 16 years previously, so when his body is discovered in an ice cave on the nearby mountain, finding his murderer becomes a personal issue for Nate, who by this time, is heavily involved with Meg. This is such a visual book with wonderful descriptions of what must be an incredibly beautiful state, and beautifully written descriptions of the Northern Lights, that breathtaking phenomena of the Artic skies.
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on July 14, 2012
One of my favorite authors has delivered yet another wonderfully written novel. I prefer novels that don't innundate the reader with a complicated line of extended characters. Ms. Roberts introduces her cast of characters in a manner that allows the reader to get a real feel for their place in the story. This is one of her best novels, and I think I have purchased most of them over the years. The movie(starring LeAnn Rimes and her true life husband Eddie Cibrian) is also worth owning as it remains true to the story line of the book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 3, 2005
I have just started reading Nora Roberts recently on the recommendation of a close friend. I don't generally read "romance" authors since I find them very boring (tried Danielle Steele once because it was given to me and will never, never, never read another - awful stuff!), but Nora Roberts does such a wonderful job of describing the setting and the culture of the location in her books, that I really enjoy reading her when I want something on the "lighter" side.

That being said, this one was especially good. To tell you the truth, I was greatful it was a long novel and disappointed when it was over. I LOVED THIS BOOK !!! The setting of Alaska makes for a wonderful read, regardless of the storyline. In addition, the story was gripping and the characters compelling. I am so glad I did not read the other reviews until I had finished this for myself!
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on March 22, 2006
I'm not sure if I like Nora Roberts' mysteries or her romances better, but when she mixes the two, like she did in NORTHERN LIGHTS, it's definitely a winner! The romantic suspense is my absolute favorite genre, or blending of the genres.

Roberts takes us on a journey to Lunacy, Alaska where a vast assortment of characters lives. The reader follows the life of Nate Burke, a former Baltimore cop who thinks a role as Lunacy's Chief of Police is the perfect way to outrun his past and not let depression overtake him. Yep Lunacy is the place where not much happens with their population of 506 with the long winter nights and the frozen landscape. We are given glimpses into Burke's past and what has made him so miserable - seems his partner was killed and he feels guilty. We're not given the entire story, only tidbits along the way until the very end. By then, everyone can guess that the guilt should not be at Nate's feet.

His first days in Lunacy show that the town is made up of an interesting lot. First there is Meg Galloway who is definitely her own woman. She's a bush pilot by trade and can stand on her own two feet in any situation, even facing down a bear that is attacking her dogs. The Mackie brothers are the town jesters - they are always fighting (usually with each other), driving their snow-dos into trouble, or just plain having "fun" at the expense of others. Charlene Galloway is the town tramp - she runs the local lodge and gives the good looking men a few extra amenities. She isn't cast in a negative manner and this behavior is somewhat excepted. Other support characters are interesting but easily forgotten.

The plot thickens and grabs the reader when three college boys are lost doing a winter hike on No Name Mountain. While searching and eventually rescuing them, a body is discovered in an ice cave where the boys take refuge. Seems Pat Galloway, Meg's father, had disappeared 16 years before and everyone thought he just took off. This wasn't the case; he had been murdered and left in the ice cave. The murderer is being hunted by Nate and Meg, and the story stops being a sleeper and becomes very interesting.

Even though the outcome is on the predictable side, the journey is worth the read. Roberts weaves an interesting tale and tosses some viable red herrings in the mix. In fact, I wasn't sure of the killer until the last few pages but once I thought back, it definitely had the only outcome it could have.


Ok, the parade scene in which the killer is captured is so far-fetched is was a let down. This type of scene has been done way too many times to be practical for an ending. Come on, we need originality, not the mundane!


Overall, the story is interesting because Nora Roberts tosses in more than we expect. Not only is there the murder mystery and the romance angles, but she gives us insight into small community life. We see the bonds between the mayor and citizens; we come to understand the camaraderie between Lunatics (don't ya love that name for the townsfolk?). It makes NORTHERN LIGHTS that much more enjoyable and definitely should be on your must read list.
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