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Birthright

Cover of Birthright

Birthright

From beloved author Nora Roberts comes the #1 New York Times bestseller about shattering loss and shocking discovery—set in a small town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains...
When five-thousand-year-old human bones are found at a construction site in the small town of Woodsboro, the news draws archaeologist Callie Dunbrook out of her sabbatical and into a whirlwind of adventure, danger, and romance.
While overseeing the dig, she must try to make sense of a cloud of death and misfortune that hangs over the project—fueling rumors that the site is cursed. She must cope with the presence of her irritatingbut irresistibleex-husband, Jake. And when a stranger claims to know a secret about her privileged Boston childhood, she must question her own past as well...
From the Paperback edition.
From beloved author Nora Roberts comes the #1 New York Times bestseller about shattering loss and shocking discovery—set in a small town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains...
When five-thousand-year-old human bones are found at a construction site in the small town of Woodsboro, the news draws archaeologist Callie Dunbrook out of her sabbatical and into a whirlwind of adventure, danger, and romance.
While overseeing the dig, she must try to make sense of a cloud of death and misfortune that hangs over the project—fueling rumors that the site is cursed. She must cope with the presence of her irritatingbut irresistibleex-husband, Jake. And when a stranger claims to know a secret about her privileged Boston childhood, she must question her own past as well...
From the Paperback edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Prologue

    The bright red nose of Rudolph, his very favorite reindeer,

    blinked on and off until Douglas's eyes were dazzled.

    He tried to entertain himself by counting the red dots that

    swam in front of his eyes, the way the Count counted on

    Sesame Street.

    One, two, three! Three red dots! Ha ha ha ha ha!

    But it made him feel a little bit sick.

    The mall was full of noise, the blasts of Christmas music

    that added to his impatience, the shouts of other children,

    the crying of babies.

    He knew all about crying babies now that he had a little

    sister. When babies cried you were supposed to pick them

    up and walk around with them singing songs, or sit with

    them in the rocking chair and pat them on the back till they

    burped.

    Babies could burp right out loud and nobody made

    them say scuze me. Because, dummy, babies couldn't talk!

    But Jessica wasn't crying now. She was sleeping in the

    stroller and looked like a doll baby in her red dress with the

    white frilly junk on it.

    That's what Grandma called Jessica. Her little doll

    baby. But sometimes Jessie cried and cried and her face

    got all red and scrunched up. Nothing would stop her from

    crying, not the singing or the walking or the rocking chair.

    Douglas didn't think she looked much like a doll baby

    then. She looked mean and mad. When that happened,

    Mama got too tired to play with him. She was never too

    tired to play with him before Jessica got in her belly.

    Sometimes he didn't like having a little sister who cried

    and pooped in her pants and made Mama too tired to play.

    But most of the time it was okay. He liked to look at her

    and watch the way she kicked her legs. And when she

    grabbed his finger, really tight, it made him laugh.

    Grandma said he had to protect Jessica because that's

    what big brothers do. He'd worried so much about it that

    he'd snuck in to sleep on the floor beside her crib just in

    case the monsters who lived in the closet came to eat her in

    the nighttime.

    2 _ Nora Roberts

    But he'd woken in his own bed in the morning, so

    maybe he'd only dreamed he'd gone in to protect her.

    They shuffled up in line, and Douglas glanced, a bit uneasily,

    at the smiling elves who danced around Santa's

    workshop. They looked a little bit mean and mad—like

    Jessica when she was crying really loud.

    If Jessica didn't wake up, she wasn't going to get to sit

    on Santa's lap. It was stupid for Jessie to be all dressed up

    to sit on Santa's lap, because she couldn't say scuze me

    when she burped, and she couldn't tell Santa what she

    wanted for Christmas.

    But he could. He was three and a half years old. He was

    a big boy now. Everyone said so.

    Mama crouched down and spoke to him softly. When

    she asked if he had to pee, he shook his head. She had that

    tired look on her face and he was afraid if they went to the

    bathroom they'd never get back in line and see Santa.

    She gave his hand a squeeze, smiled at him and promised

    it wouldn't be much longer.

    He wanted a Hot Wheels, and a G.I. Joe, and a Fisher-

    Price garage, and some Matchbox cars and a big yellow

    bulldozer like the one his friend Mitch got for his birthday.

    Jessica was too young to play with real toys. She just

    got girl stuff like funny dresses and stuffed animals. Girls

    were pretty dopey, but baby girls were even more dopey.

    But he was going to tell Santa about Jessica, so he

    wouldn't forget to bring stuff for her when he came down

    the chimney at their house.

    Mama was talking to someone, but he didn't listen. The

    grown-up talk didn't interest him. Especially when the line

    moved, people shifted, and he saw Santa.

    He was big. It seemed to Douglas, on the first...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 24, 2003
    Set in and around rural Woodsboro, Md., a small town drawn with affection and familiarity, Roberts's latest is the literary equivalent of a big delicious meal whipped up by a talented home cook. She offers a dash of exoticism and innovation—a Neanderthal settlement is discovered on the site of an unwanted housing development, prompting gorgeous young archeologist Callie Dunbrook to race to Woodsboro to take charge of what promises to be the dig of her career. After dollops of detail about archeological work, Roberts dishes up huge servings of comfort food, and it is all the more satisfying for being so straightforward. When the owner of the Antietam Creek development turns up murdered on the site, Callie is thrown into closer contact than she'd like with her ex-husband, who also happens to be the anthropologist sharing responsibility for the dig. Jacob Greystone is a hunk—"long bones, long muscles, all covered in bronzed skin...." Meanwhile, Suzanne Cullen, the hugely successful proprietor of a Mrs. Field's–like baked-goods business, tracks down the archeologist after seeing her on the evening news. Callie, the woman claims, is the baby daughter who was snatched from her stroller when she was just a few months old. Callie hires a beautiful young lawyer, Lana Campbell, who happens to be involved with Doug Cullen, Callie's long-lost brother. Another murder, arson and attempted murder heat up the chase until all the young lovers are drawn in. As in other delectable entertainments by Roberts, it is not the wild denouement but the pursuit itself—studded with scrumptious romantic encounters—that is the real dessert. Expect the usual huge sales. Author tour.

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