Author: Nora Roberts
Publishers: Jove (1995)
I have avoided Nora Roberts for one reason: I'm deeply suspicious of any author that needs several pages to list her/his novels. Perhaps it's unfair of me (or simply insulting (or plain jealousy)) but to be that prolific and still write good books seems so improbable as to be statistically impossible. Born In Ice, while much better than I would have expected from someone who appears to write novels with factory-like output, was not good enough to change my suspicious mind. (NR fans, please feel free to set me right! I'm always interested in being pointed to the good works - easy to miss in a three page list, methinks.) Anyway, synopsis...
Brianna runs a bed and breakfast in Ireland. It's the slow season and she has only one guest. He is an American author finishing up his latest novel. Hmm, well, actually that's about it. Huh. It's not nearly as boring as that description makes it sound, though now I'm starting to see why there's just a picture of Roberts on the back cuz how does one come up with more back copy than what I've just said? Huh. Anyway... so Grayson's working on his book and Brianna's doing her thing of running the B&B. Brianna, by the way, is awesome! If I had half the skills she has I think it'd be ~100x as many as I currently have. Holy damn, she is one talented lady! She's also excellent at dealing with Grayson's moodiness. She's got a great way of cutting right to the issue and making a person feel pretty small for being a jerk. Grayson's actually not a bad guy he's just up and down depending on how the writing is going. (I actually enjoy when a character is a writer as I think it's funny to hear authors describe their professions.)
This is another of those romances that didn't work for me because everything was too easy. Sure, Grayson had to overcome a deeply personal fear to make a change in his life but there wasn't one single moment when I didn't think he would. Also, Grayson is one of those mega-successful authors with money coming out of his ears* so Brianna, who has to scrimp and save for every improvement, gets insta-cash cuz he's around. I'm certainly happy for her but, again, too easy.
There's really nothing particularly wrong with the story, or the protags who are both decent and likable, it's just that I never had any sort of investment in it. I could have put it down at any time and not once worried about what happened to anyone. What I ended up enjoying the most was Grayson interacting with people when they mentioned his work (actually Grayson is a pretty funny guy so he often had lines that made me giggle). To me this is a bad sign. It's a romance, shouldn't my favorite conversations include the protags? I mean, at least some of the time? So anyway, this one does not get a huge recommendation from me and it wouldn't surprise me if I never read another Roberts. However, I will exit with a quote from some random guy to Grayson about his novels:
"I'll have to get it out of the way and tell you I'm a big fan."
"It's never in the way."
Awe. Some! No kidding, it's never in the way! In fact, it's paving the way to my bank account. :)
rating: 3 of 5 stars
(a rating of 3 really is the least informative isn't it?)
**I've always wondered at the possible similarities in horse racing success and author success. There's something like 37,000 thoroughbreds registered every year (in North America) and less than 5% of them end up making the big bucks. Percentages go up a little if you're talking just breaking even but the mega-bucks are hard to come by.