Tag Archives: Romance

Worth the Risk by Nora Roberts

21 Sep

If you’ve ever read any of Nora Roberts’ 209 plus romance novels, you’re well aware she always builds characters and their surroundings with proficiency.  In Worth the Risk, she combines two previously published novels under one cover; Partners, originally released in 1985 and The Art of Deception from 1986.  Of course both stories deal with romance and you know the couples will find each other in the end, but Ms. Roberts is so good at adding just enough mystery and suspense it keeps you interested until the very last page. 

Partners

Matthew Bates had wanted Laurel Armand for years, she was the sister of his best friend but she was also his professional adversary.  Laurel, the sultry Southern belle had always kept him at a safe distance. But when the rival newspaper reporters are forced to work together on the murder case of Anne Trulane, sparks fly and madness erupts in steamy New Orleans. Nora Roberts describes the scenes so vividly you can almost hear and picture the newsroom and the swamp. Determined to get their story, Matt and Laurel find themselves in the path of a disturbed killer, putting love and life on the line.

As Ms. Roberts always does, she creates characters that make us laugh.  Enter Laurel’s eccentric grandmother who wants to see the same happy ending we’re hoping for but at the same time we learn Laurel has an old childhood crush on the murder suspect, thus making him a rival of her current love interest.


The Art of Deception

The second story is The Art of Deception. It deals with 3 artists and forgeries in a castle along the Hudson River. Once more, until the end you are not sure who is responsible for any events or what is going on – you wind up making the discoveries and solving the puzzling activities along with the characters. That alone is extraordinary for romance novels where usually 10 pages in you really know exactly what is occurring.

Artist Adam Haines arrives at the Fairchild castle under the guise of a well-needed breather but was this handsome stranger all that he pretended to be? Kirby Fairchild, daughter of the eccentric patriarch Philip, couldn’t be sure.  What she did know was that as the days and nights wore on, the attraction she felt for him was building, whether she’d wanted it to or not. Was she in danger of falling hard for a stranger who was even more practiced in the art of deception than she was?  Very early on, the two are fascinated with one another and the walls she’s built up around herself slowly come down in the arms of Adam.  

The story is full of playful interaction between Kirby and her father and her father and everyone else.  He is generous and loving one minute and accusatory and suspicious the next.  Kirby does what she can to protect her father but knows he is not quite on the level.  

Throw in loveable characters like Cards and Harriet as well as groundskeeper Jamie, who although retired years ago runs the gardens like he owns the place (I can relate to controlling behavior in the garden) and you enjoy every scene they’re in. There are also necessary characters like Stuart and McIntyre that help pull the storyline together. What you end up with is a book with all the elements it needs for a great read.

 

Like I mentioned before, the fact that Nora Roberts’ couples end up together is no surprise. Still, you root for them and want to see their lives begin brand new.  The plot of these stories appeal to women looking for a good love story with a twist. Nora Roberts is a wonderful author because of the interesting plots she comes up with and the path she leads you down as you read.  Ms. Roberts knows a thing or two about writing romance novels, she has more than 400 million of her books in print, writes under several pseudonyms and has written more best sellers than anyone else on the planet.  I can’t be the only one enjoying her yarns… try one out for yourself.

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With Song by Dorothy Garlock

3 Jul

Let me start off by saying that I bought this book at our library bookstore (as I do many books) for $.50 and didn’t realize at the time it was part of a trilogy.  Now I need to buy the first and third novels…

Set in the depression-era, the trilogy With Hope, With Heart, and With Song give an intriguing look at the dangerous backdrop of the Old West.

In With Song, Molly McKenzie’s peaceful world is devastated one summer evening in 1935 when gangsters kill her parents while robbing their country store.

When she hears a series of loud pops, she thinks her father is teasing her mother with the latest shipment of firecrackers, but when she looks out the front window and sees two suspicious men getting into a big black car, she begins to think otherwise. In this small town, everyone knows everyone.  When she goes downstairs, she discovers that both her parents have been killed and the store robbed.

Molly’s world is further upset by the arrival of federal agent Hod Dolan who convinces Molly to let him use her as bait to lure the men back to the scene of the crime, not realizing just how dangerous this might prove to be. While Hod knows the plan threatens all of their lives, he doesn’t know that protecting Molly will endanger his heart as well. Drawn to the pretty young woman at first sight, he finds himself falling deeply in love with her. Molly, however, is still struggling to deal with the violent death of her parents and is wary of loving a man whose occupation is fraught with danger. She doesn’t trust his intentions but Hod is determined to prove his love is real.  Bound together by their mutual determination to bring her parents’ killers to justice, the two begin to forge a relationship, but neither of them knows yet of another threat to their lives that is darker, more sinister, and much closer to home. I found this twist especially fun to read.  It gave the story more depth and creativity than most of the romance novels I’ve come across.

Molly and Hod are strong, honorable, and courageous characters whose story is balanced by colorful secondary characters and a well-developed plot.  While there are quite a few characters you’ll enjoy getting to know, I want to introduce you to a few of them here.

Aunt Bertha: Molly’s aunt who comes to help Molly after the death of her parents.  Simply said, Bertha is a kick in the pants.  Her no-nonsense approach reminded me a lot of Alice from The Brady Bunch.  She’s honest, direct and has a great sense of humor.  Aunt Bertha drives a brand new ’34 Ford.  This detail hit close to home because when I was in Junior High School a family friend owned a beautifully restored 1934 Ford that I absolutely loved.  

The Bonner Family: Humble, dignified and proud.

George and his sister Gertrude: Neighbors of the McKenzie’s, George is in his 30s, sweet, simple, devoted and misunderstood.  Gertrude on the other hand, considerably older than her brother is a mean recluse who is rarely seen. 

Charlotte: Young, full of life and living a burdened life.  Makes you wonder how many real-life Charlottes are out there.

When it comes to reading I think I’m pretty easy to please, I really don’t ask for much.  Maybe I come away happy because I don’t often stray far from my comfort zone, but I’m okay with that.  I want reading to be a relaxing, enjoying adventure, not a chore.  I enjoyed this book and the characters.  I look forward to finishing the trilogy and sharing my thoughts with you…

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