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Friday, October 13, 2006

****½ Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts. Contemporary romance. Re-read.

I'm glad I re-read this sequel to the Quinn trilogy. When looking back on it, I had focused on only the negatives: that the trilogy really didn't need a sequel, and that Seth's dilemma was a little too much like Luke Callahan's in Honest Illusions.

What I'd forgotten was the characters. To catch you up: Ray and Stella Quinn had adopted three adolescent boys--boys with horrible childhoods. Years later, with the three brothers grown, and Stella dead, Ray ends up with another boy, and his death in a car accidents puts the responsibility for Seth on the shoulders of his three new brothers. How they cope with it and form a family, and find love is the subject of the trilogy. Chesapeake Blue opens 20 years after that, Seth returning home as a successful artist with a troubling secret--his junkie/prostitute mother has been extorting money from him since he was 14, threatening his new family.

The heroine of the story is flower shop owner Drusilla Whitcomb Banks, "poor little rich girl" trying to break out of the mold she's been forced into all her life.

The story itself is pretty predictable, but it's the way it's told, and the way the characters are themselves rather than two-dimensional stock characters that make it shine. The reactions go beyond the standard and become individual.

And it's occurring to me that I can't think of a good example. Drusilla, maybe, as I've already described her as the "poor little rich girl." She does have the standard cold-hearted upbringing, the parents disapproving because she broke up with the philanderer who was, nonetheless, a "good match." But she doesn't wallow in it. She sees herself clearly, and knows there's a middle ground between cutting herself off from her family completely and caving in to their expectations. Her parents, likewise, aren't evil--they're just a tad clueless and self-absorbed. The rest of the characters are similarly well-developed.

There's just something about this book that really showcases Nora's talent. The atmosphere, maybe, the characters, certainly the way the words flow... whatever it is, it sucked me in and made me believe. It's not a big story, but it's a complete and satisfying one.


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Darla -

The Quinn is one of my favorite books. I must admit when I found out Nora going to write Seth story I was excited. But when I read it, at the time, I wish that he didn't grown up. I love him as the little boy that he was.

Anyway - As I re-read Chesapeake Blue so many time, I grew to love it. It suck on me too :) Love seeing the brothers again!

I love the characters, the interaction between the brothers and family. Nora talent is showcases here :)
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