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Friday, September 08, 2006

**** Rising Tides by Nora Roberts. Contemporary romance. Re-read.

This is the 2nd book in the Quinn series, and my least favorite, though it was better this time through than I remembered. (The first book was Sea Swept.)

Ethan is the strong, silent type, referred to as a "waterman," by which I assume is meant that he makes his living on the water. Grace is a single mother, extremely hard-working and devoted to her child. She's got a bit of estrangement from her father, but it's due to normal family stuff--they disappointed each other and were both too stubborn to be the first to forgive--rather than anything more dramatic than that.

Ethan's character was better explained than I remembered--introverted because of his past before coming to the Quinns. And I suppose that explains his self-imposed martyrdom, though it doesn't make me like it any better for being explained. "I can never marry because I might have a child and I can never have a child because my birth mother was an evil whore and I might pass on her genes." That doesn't make me sympathetic. It just makes me want to smack some sense into him. Which Anna does, eventually, in one of my absolute favorite scenes in the book.

I want to smack Grace, too. She married because she was pregnant, and divorced soon after. Her father was disappointed in her, which got her back up, and they've both stubbornly clung to what's often referred to as "pride"--more commonly known as stupidity, IMO. So she's preternaturally perfect, except for her "fatal flaw" of stubborn pride, which is seen as some sort of warped virtue. She cleans houses and waits tables until she's dead on her feet; she's The Perfect Mother, a genius at home decoration, the world's greatest cook, tall & slim & gorgeous of course, beloved by small children and animals, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Then there's the problem that nothing much happens in this book. In the first one, the whole problem is set up, and the brothers have to change their lives. The third book has the climactic showdown. This one... there's not much development in the ongoing trilogy plot except for a demand from Seth's mother for more money. And with Ethan and Grace having the fewest conflicts of the three couples, it makes for a less engaging book.

And do I need to mention how much 22-year-old Ethan having the hots for 14-year-old Grace squicks me out? Do 22-year-old men (who aren't sickos) spend a lot of time pining after high school freshmen?

Okay, those are my complaints. But you'll notice that I did give this book 4 stars anyway. Why? Because despite the fact that I didn't particularly like the characters, they were very real and very understandable. And despite the fact that it didn't move the trilogy plot along very much, there were some wonderful scenes.


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Agree, agree and agree!!

This was my least favourite of the original trilogy as well. Felt like a filling the gap between the first and third books exactly as you described!
Thanks, Marg! It took me until this re-read to pinpoint why I didn't like this book as well, but once I thought of it, that really clicked.
I just read this (first time). Didn't particularly like it, but didn't try to figure out why. Now I know! Exactly what you said. Nothing going on to keep me interested, and yeah, the main chars were just being stupid.
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