Book Reviews

Book Review: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts


For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore–and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it’s home…
A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of–but never arrested for–the murder of his soon-to-be-ex wife.
He finds sanctuary at Bluff House, even though his beloved grandmother is in Boston recuperating from a nasty fall. Abra Walsh is always there, though. Whiskey Beach’s resident housekeeper, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist, Abra is a woman of many talents–including helping Eli take control of his life and clear his name. But as they become entangled in each other, they find themselves caught in a net that stretches back for centuries–one that has ensnared a man intent on reaping the rewards of destroying Eli Landon once and for all…


Eli Landon

Before settling at his family home in Whiskey Beach, Massachusetts, at Bluff House, Eli Landon was saturated in speculation and accusations. After finding out his wife had been unfaithful, he’d made a rather public scene at her art gallery, with many witnesses, the same night she was murdered. Given there were no suspects, he naturally became the number one for the police, family, and media. Only, he didn’t do it.

Public opinion matters more than what the police can piece together. Not having enough evidence, they leave him be. For a year, he’s saturated in the misery of what has become his life. At the promise of his grandmother, he is the Landon meant to be in Bluff house. He also uses this isolation and time, to write a novel.

Eli Landon is determined, loyal, broody, and criminal minded in his thought process. He takes time to come back from misery. Thanks to Abra Walsh, he slowly finds himself again. Together, they solve the mystery of who killed Lindsay, his wife among other crimes.

Abra Walsh

Abra Walsh is a woman who has her fingers in all sorts of pies. With a relationship with Hester Landon, Eli’s grandmother, she cleans Bluff House. She also is a yoga instructor, jewelry maker, tarot reader, masseuse, palm reader, and more. She likes variety and doesn’t stick to a schedule, enjoys the spotenatity of her routines.

Abra has some demons from her past that she hides from, but the most important thing about her is that through Eli’s grandmother, she helps Eli come back to life. She cooks, cleans, ensures that he gets plenty of exercise, massages him, encourages him to write, and provides companionship when he isolates himself.

Abra is free, fun, and loves to be with her friends, Maureen and Mike O’Malley. She’s friendly with people in town as she works at a bar waitress. She’s the opposite of isolated. Which brings a very nice and contrasting viewpoint of Eli.


Whiskey Beach, Massachusetts and Boston, Massachusetts

The setting is at Bluff House on the beach. A village of people with shops that don’t change much. People who grew up in the area and a tight-knit community. Boston is where many offices, Eli and Abra’s pasts were, and the location of Eli’s family.

Literary Awards

RITA Award for Romance Writers of America Nominee for Contemporary Romance 2014

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“Remember, sometimes a pancake is just a pancake.” -Hester Landon

“What are you my mother? Maybe I don’t want an apple.” -Eli Landon

“If it’s legal, I can almost gaurantee agreement in exchange for meat loaf.” -Eli Landon

“You’re not a victim if you don’t allow it.” -Abra Walsh

“You can’t rebuild a life by building barriers.” -Abra Walsh

“You can never read too many books, any kind.” -Maureen O’Malley

“Word always traveled, ugly words traveled fast.” -Whiskey Beach

“Spring brought storms just like winter.” -Whiskey Beach

“Unfair and wrong happen every hour, every day.” -Eli Landon

“People who say not to speak ill of the dead just don’t have the spine to say what they think.” -Hester Landon

“She makes a difference in him, in the book.” -Eli Landon

“The man’s a worm, on the karma wheel, he’ll come back as a slug next.” -Abra Walsh

“Being a smart-ass before dawn’s annoying.” -Eli Landon

“Negative thinking’s unproductive.” -Abra Walsh

“Some happy you just have to grab.” -Abra Walsh

My Thoughts

My first book of 2020! I’ve started with Whiskey Beach and I’m happy to have re-read this treasure.

Eli Landon, a previous defense attorney, is suspected of killing his wife and lost his job, his credibility, his friends, and his own peace of mind. For a year, he lives with his family in Boston, before deciding to go to his family home. Bluff House is on the beach in Massachusetts and has been there for generations. There is always a Landon in Bluff House, as they say.

His grandmother, Hester Landon, suffered a fall and is forced to live in Boston to recuperate. Eli moves to Bluff House where he takes solace in the waves, the quiet, and the familiarity. Reeling from his miserable year, he finds himself immersed in writing a novel and isolating himself from the world.

Abra Walsh, a friend of his grandmother, and Bluff House housekeeper, she helps Eli. Annoyingly, to him, she leaves him notes via his grandmother, to eat, to get exercise, to live. At first, he doesn’t know what to make of her. She’s pushy, doesn’t seem to be afraid to be around him, and keeps mothering him. It takes time for him to get used to her being there. To expect her to be there. Slowly, he comes back to life and starts to feel again. Slowly, he gains the weight he’d lost, finds purpose in his day to day life, and he begins to feel like himself again.

When he begins to feel himself again, Lindsay, his dead wife’s family can’t let go. They make noise about a wrongful death suit. At the same time Eli’s lawyer informs him of the news, Kirby Duncan, a private investigator, begins to ask around about him. This includes Abra, who cleans for him and has become a friend.

Soon after Duncan makes his residence in the local B & B, Eli seems to feel out of his element. A string of crimes begin to weigh heavily on the Whiskey Beach community. Out of the crimes, comes a bond between Abra and Eli. They begin to see each other, which presents issues in itself when Abra becomes a target.

Throw in the family history of Esmeralda’s Dowry, you get mystery, treasure hunting, murder, and a spicy suspense story. Add in Abra and Eli’s slow turn to love after they’ve both experienced hardships in the past, you’ve got yourself a story worth telling and reading.

Roberts is known for her uncanny ability to bring in her readers by having well developed characters, relationships, story lines, and settings. You’re left with a story that stays with you, makes you want to visit the places she’s described, and yearn for the relationships she describes. I loved Whiskey Beach and I’m glad to start my year with such a brilliant thrilling tale.

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