Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
Successful photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway thought she'd escaped the house called Sanctuary long ago. She'd spent her loneliest years there after the sudden, shattering disappearance of her mother. But now someone is sending Jo strange, candid pictures, culminating in the most shocking portrait of all - a photo of her mother, naked, beautiful and dead.
Jo returns home to face her bitterly estranged family, only to find an unexpected chance for happiness in the form of architect Nathan Delaney. But while Jo and Nathan hope to lay the past to rest, a sinister presence is watching from the shadows. And Jo will soon learn there is no peace at Sanctuary . . .
Originally published: New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1997; London: Penguin, 1998.
Photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway thought she'd escaped the house called Sanctuary long ago. She'd spent her loneliest years there, after the sudden, unexplained disappearance of her mother. But now someone is sending her pictures; strange, candid close-ups, culminating in the most shocking portrait of all - a photo of her mother, naked, beautiful and dead. Jo decides she must return to face her bitterly estranged family: her father, who has never recovered from the loss of his wife, and her brother and sister. But while her presence stirs up old resentments, Jo finds solace with architect Nathan Delaney - who is also facing his own demons. But while Jo and Nathan look for a way to lay the past to rest, a more sinister presence is watching the Hathaway family with interest. It seems Sanctuary may be the most dangerous place of all.
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Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
There's no looking back for Roberts, who made the break to hardcover with the best-selling Montana Sky (LJ 2/1/96). Her latest tells of a young woman who finds danger and love when she returns to her childhood home. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
On the heel of the breakout hardcover success of bestseller Montana Sky, Roberts plows through a predictable saga of passion, betrayal and murder involving an estranged Southern family haunted by tragedy. Recovering from a nervous breakdown brought on by a malevolent stalker, photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway returns to Sanctuary, her childhood home located on a small resort island off the coast of Georgia. But the lush island offers little solace, for there Jo must face the troubled family relationships and painful memories caused by her mother's mysterious disappearance 20 years earlier. Soon, however, Jo finds unexpected joy in the love of a man who leads her to the truth about her mother's life and death and about the crazed stalker who wants Jo dead. Roberts has a talent for vivid description: the sounds and smells of this verdant island waft from the page; her characters' sexual encounters mirror the island's fecundity and shimmer with Southern heat. But she dilutes the story with a silly murder mystery that distracts from the intriguing elements of Jo's confrontation with her past, her discovery of true love and her reconciliation with her family. The denouement arrives with a yawn, despite the arrival of a clichéd hurricane, which is just one example of how Roberts succumbs to the temptation to throw everything into the pot. 250,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection. (Mar.) FYI: Roberts was the first writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Following the success of Montana Sky [BKL Ja 1 & 15 96], Roberts bases another story on the three siblings in that novel: Jo Ellen, Brian, and Lexy Hathaway of Sanctuary Inn, a B & B on Lost Desert Island, off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Jo Ellen is a successful photographer who collapses under the mental anguish of seeing a picture in which her mother is young, beautiful, naked, and unmistakably dead. Her mother disappeared 20 years before, shattering a close-knit family. When the photo disappears while Jo Ellen is in the hospital, she returns to Sanctuary to recover her sanity and mend her relationships with Brian, the chef for the inn, and Lexy, an aspiring actress. The arrival of Nathan Delaney, whose family stayed on the island the summer her mother disappeared, further complicates Jo Ellen's life. Nathan wants Jo Ellen, but he is tormented by a secret that has lured a killer to Sanctuary and to Jo Ellen. Putnam has planned national publicity, including television ads; Sanctuary is also a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection. Roberts has produced an engrossing novel to thrill her fans. Highly recommended. --Melanie Duncan
Kirkus Book Review
Roberts is the perfect perpetual-romance machine. She churns out an almost inhuman number each year; she meets an annual March deadline for her hardcovers (this one even has the same number of pages as last year's bestselling Montana Sky). And each is lively, sexy, and well researched. Her latest concerns three siblings (the Hathaways) who find lovers and strained relationships while a homicidal madman is threatening their safety. The three live in a beautiful white gothic on the Georgia Sea Island of Lost Desire, which they've turned into an inn. Brian, the eldest--tall, cute, and morose--runs the establishment and is chef of its five-star kitchen. (His father Sam can't understand how a man can ``enjoy creating a perfect meringue and still prefer women for sex.'') Brian fights halfheartedly against the amorous advances of Kirby, the pretty Yankee doctor who runs the island's clinic; the two eventually end up locked in an embrace against her refrigerator door. Meanwhile, the youngest sib, Alexa Hathaway--sexy Lexy, the island princess with the gypsy hair--has failed at acting in New York and come home to waitress and throw a few tantrums. She fights halfheartedly against the honorable intentions of childhood buddy Giff Verdon, who's good with his hands and doesn't let her get away with much. Finally, there is Jo Ellen, a world-famous photographer who's returned to Desire after a nervous breakdown and is fighting a losing battle against empathic architect Nathan Delaney. Twenty years earlier, the Hathaways' mother, Annabelle, had disappeared, abandoning her family--or so it seemed. Now someone is stalking the family, having even sent Jo Ellen a picture of her mother, dead and naked. As usual, the romance is better than the weird violence. There's not much suspense here, but it's good to see that heroines are becoming gutsier and heroes better in the kitchen. (First printing of 250,000; Literary Guild main selection; $250,000 ad/promo)