Thursday, December 10, 2015

Book Review: The Next Always by Nora Roberts

I did it! I achieved one of my December goals and finished reading a book! I am actually in the middle of a couple of books, but I am so proud of myself that I was able to read one from beginning to end in a reasonable amount of time. 

I was in Four Seasons Books last week during my lunch break looking for a work of fiction that I could read to unwind. I didn't want anything heavy, just something I could enjoy with a nice cup of hot chocolate in the evenings as I watched Mickey Mouse with my toddler. (Moms are known for multi-tasking.)

The Next Always by Nora Roberts caught my eye. The reason I was drawn to it is because it takes place in a town called Boonsboro, which is outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland. (In case you're not a history buff, Sharpsburg was where the Battle of Antietam took place.) Boonsboro is about 30 minutes from where I live and 10 minutes from where I work. I was intrigued by a novel that took place in a local town. 

I was not surprised that Nora Roberts wrote a series of three books that take place in Boonsboro, she owns like half of the town and is a very prominent local figure. All of the places she mentions in the book actually exist and most of them, if not all, are owned by her family. 

The book tells the story of a trio of brothers who are rebuilding a dilapidated inn. They want it to be the finest inn in the area and really make it luxurious. In the meantime, one of the brothers, Beckett (cool name!), falls in love with the local bookstore owner, Clare, who is also a widow and a mother of three boys. It describes the complexities of starting a new relationship while also running a business. 

It's not the greatest book that I have ever read. While the characters have some moments of great development, overall they were mostly one dimensional. HOWEVER, I still enjoyed reading this book because I did not want to be heavily invested in character development. I just wanted to read a story. Nora Robert's writing style is great and she keeps you wanting to know what is going to happen next! I also could totally identify with Clare as she wrangled three young boys while trying to run a small business. 

Nora Roberts ingeniously wove actual locations into a book! I used to work at a bookstore and I know that there are some die hard Nora Roberts fans who would love to go to a location that was featured in some of her books. It's a pretty savvy business idea too. The Inn BoonBoro is gorgeous and costs about $300 a night! (Too rich for my blood, but one can dream.) 

You can bunk there for a night and walk across the street to Turn the Page Bookstore, owned by Nora's husband, where she does a book signing once a month. Then walk down the block to Vesta Pizza, also owned by the Roberts family, for a bite to eat! (Her fans probably consider this to be some kind of pilgrimage.)  

This is the first Nora Roberts book that I have read. I enjoyed it enough to continue on with the next book in the trilogy. I'll let you know how that one dishes out. In the meantime, if you're looking for a mindless read, I would recommend The Next Always.

*Note: There are instances of pre-marital sex, but not extremely graphic.*

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