Skip to main content

The Witness, by Nora Roberts

Maria is a book reviewer, editor, and proofreader, as well as a master of public health, master gardener, photographer, artist, and writer.


I Couldn't Put It Down!

I read The Witness, by Nora Roberts, when it was first published in April, 2012. It immediately became a New York Times #1 Bestseller. I have read it twice now. Both then and now, I couldn't wait to talk about it and write about it. I talked about it at our neighborhood book club, where most of them knew Nora Roberts only from her romance novels, but after my description, the club decided to read it, too. Of course, they loved it, as I knew they would, and we had a great discussion.

There are several novels I have read more than once. This one is different. This book is the first one I have ever finished, and then within only a few days started reading again. I couldn't seem to get the main character, Liz (a.k.a., Abigail) out of my mind. She was brave, smart, beautiful... should I go on?

Although The Witness doesn't grab the reader on the first page, it doesn't take long to become hooked. Roberts then holds the attention of the reader right up to the last page, and that is the kind of drama readers always enjoy.

Roberts has created a compelling heroine, a character that works her way into your heart. She will be with you for a while after you have closed this book.

Withholding Love and Affection From a Child Is Cruel and Dangerous

The book explores not only the ways in which all normal teenagers rebel against authority, but the multitude of demoralizing ways the withholding of parental love and affection can damage a child. It also deals with issues of trust, love, and romance, in addition to cybercrimes, organized crime, and justice. I believe it is one of Roberts’ best efforts.

Smart Kids Still Make Poor Choices

Sixteen-year-old girl, Elizabeth Fitch has an I.Q. of 210, and she has had enough. Hurt to the core, she finally defies a psychologically abusive, domineering, robotic mother, and goes to the mall to buy her first "normal teenage clothes" where she runs into a classmate Julie. She then expertly creates fake IDs for herself and her new-found "friend. The girls then go out to a nightclub. Unfortunately, they chose a nightclub owned by the Russian Mafia, and their lives are changed forever.

Scroll to Continue

I expected Elizabeth and Julie to end up being forced into the sex trade. Instead, Julie is killed, and Elizabeth (now calling herself Liz) witnesses the execution-style murder of one of the mobsters, and the murder of Julie, who had the misfortune of walking into the wrong room at the wrong time.

Can a Witness to a Mafia Crime Ever Have a Normal Life?

Liz is placed in witness protection, but after dirty cops murder two of the U.S. Marshals who are staying with Liz in a safe house, she escapes, then appears twelve years later in Bickford, Arkansas, living a solitary life in a cabin similar to the one depicted in the photos on the fly-leaves of the book. The artwork was designed by Meighan Cavanaugh. My photo of the fly-leaves of my book are shown below.

This is my photo of the fly leaf in my copy of the book. The picture is by Meighan Cavanaugh.

This is my photo of the fly leaf in my copy of the book. The picture is by Meighan Cavanaugh.

Liz Is a New Person

By now Liz has become Abigail Lowery, and has an entirely different physical appearance. She has attended M.I.T. under an assumed name supported by false documents that she expertly created, is a computer whiz, is multi-lingual, an expert shot, and carries a Glock at all times.

Although well-mannered, Abigail has few social skills, and has given up on ever having what she thinks is a "normal” life. At first, she resists the overtures of the local police chief, Brooks Gleason, but he isn't discouraged. In fact, he is fascinated by her secretive behavior. It is through Brooks, his kindness, and his more "normal" family life that Abigail finally comes to trust, and to believe a normal life is possible, even for her.

A True Page Turner

This reader wasn't ready for the story to end, and would love to see (read about) the reaction of the Russian character, Ilya Volkov, when he learns the computer worm Abigail created has destroyed everything he has created. Could we please have a sequel?

I Really Did Read It Twice!

Are You a Fan of Nora Roberts' Books?

Which Roberts' Genre Do You Prefer?

© 2021 Maria Logan Montgomery

Related Articles