Review: The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts
This book is the conclusion to the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy. Hope and Ryder finally have their romance after butting heads and creating sparks throughout the first two books. I’ll admit, Ryder has been the Montgomery brother that I’ve been most interested throughout the series. He was sarcastic, cranky, and much more interested in doing instead of talking. How could I not love him? I always fall for the grumpy ones. :) And I don’t know if you know this or not, but Nora Roberts has quite a history of impressing me with her skill at writing said grumpy men. *sigh* Jed from Hidden Riches comes to mind. He’s a favorite of mine.

While I didn’t get wowed by the romance the way I was hoping to, I still enjoyed the read. I honestly haven’t met a Nora Roberts book that I flat out dislike. Even the ones that I don’t particularly love come across as solid reads. There’s just something impressive about the way Roberts can craft a tale. She’s solid at creating an excellent setting and her characters always come across as someone you might meet in real life. But even with those pluses I didn’t get the spark I was hoping for.

This book suffers from the same issues I had with the other books. There’s a whole lot of talking and not a lot of action. The characters talk and talk and talk about everything and we get to see the same discussions happen multiple times because multiple characters are discussing the same issue. After a while it just drives you nuts because it’s not driving the plot along. All that talking helps build a wonderful sense of family and community, which this author is very skilled at, but in this trilogy it felt like that build was at the expense of the romance. Usually I find a much better balance between family ties and burgeoning romance in this author’s other works.

Maybe part of the problem is Hope’s personality and occupation. She’s a meticulous person, and she’s also employed as the innkeeper, so she’s basically at the beck and call of the guests around the clock. Even though you live there it’s not quite professional to go have sex during the middle of the day while a bunch of guests are in residence. I get it. But scheduling sex really brings the mood down. Especially because they’re both so restrained about it. Do they even care that they keep having to delay? It didn’t feel like it. I thought Ryder would be a lot more moody and passionate than he was, but he turned out to be a pretty mellow guy. He just rolled with the punches and didn’t spend much time worrying about developing emotions or wondering where this all might go. It was a little disappointing since I had a different picture of Ryder in my head based on what I had seen of him earlier in the series.

Because family is so much a part of this series we get to see a lot of the past couples. There are some interesting new developments with one of the couples that many will be excited to hear about. Each book has tightened ties that bind the friendships and family together and by the end of this book they are 100% solid. I continue to love the dynamic between the brothers—especially when they’re rude and cuss at each other—and the relationship they have with their mom. At times the girls’ friendship and wedding/baby/love-fest got to be too much for me, but mostly I just appreciated how nice it was to have such likable characters to read about.

We finally get a wrap up on the inn’s ghost, Lizzie. For the past two books we have seen Lizzie reveal herself more and more to the family and heard about her lost love, Billy. I was pretty sure I knew where this resolution was going earlier in the series and I was right. They discovered more about Billy and how he tied into things (I totally had that nailed) and eventually got to see them reunited. I won’t go into the how’s of it all, but I wasn’t very happy with how the particulars of it all were revealed. It felt abrupt and didn’t flow very well. It was basically a big reveal plopped in their laps. I’ve seen this author do the ghost thing before and I’ve seen her do it well, so I was expecting better handling of it here.

It sounds like I’m really negative about this book, but I’m not. It was a nice read and I enjoyed getting to see everything wrap up. Roberts is queen at nailing familial dynamics and building a well-developed setting and cast of characters. But I’ve read this author faithfully through the years and I have read almost all her books (not all the older categories because I’m not a huge fan of those). So I’ve seen her do a number of different plots with a number of different characters, and I’ve seen her slam dunk those books. So while I mostly enjoyed this book/series, would it be one I would recommend to someone looking to try out Nora Roberts? No. I’ve seen her do it better. But that doesn’t mean this still wasn’t a good read.

Favorite Quote:

”And don’t go running to Mom.”

“Jesus, why would I? I’m no tattletale.”

“You told her I broke her cut-glass vase throwing the ball in the house, and hid the pieces,” Beckett reminded him.

“I was eight!” Genuine grief and insult vibrated in Owen’s voice. “How long are you going to hold that over me?”

“Forever. She took TV privileges away from me for three days—for hiding the pieces, and another day for throwing the ball in the house. I missed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

“Grow up and buy the DVD.”

“I did. Doesn’t clear you, dude. The Silence of the Brotherhood is sacred.”

Rating: B-
The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts
November 6th 2012 by Berkley Trade
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