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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

****½ Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts. Contemporary romance. Re-read.

In case it's not obvious, I'm on an email list that discusses a book by Nora Roberts or J. D. Robb every week. This was the book from two weeks ago. I'm just a little bit behind.

Vanessa Sexton is a concert pianist, returning to her hometown after her father's death. She hasn't been back home in twelve years, since her parents split up and her father took charge of Vanessa and her career. Now she's back, trying to rebuild a relationship with her mother, and unsuccessfully trying to avoid Brady Tucker, the boyfriend who stood her up the night of their prom.

Brady is back in town himself, now a doctor, in practice with his father. He hasn't been able to forget Vanessa either, but in a more positive way.

Complicating matters for Vanessa is the fact that she's uncertain about her future. She's always loved playing and composing music, but performing makes her physically ill, and she only did so to please her father, who was, as far as she knew, the only person who loved her and stuck by her.

Unfinished Business packs a punch for such a small book. There's humor, friendship, family issues, and even a secondary romance. It's a reunited-lovers story, which grabs me every time. But what I enjoyed most was the emotional impact. It's very much Vanessa's story--Brady has already gone through his emotional growth, and while we do find out about it, it's in the past. She has a lot to deal with, discovering that not only was there more to some issues than she realized, but that some things she believed were wrong.

It's about seeing your childhood through grown-up eyes, and your parents as human. It's about discovering yourself and learning to balance obligations to yourself and others. And of course it's about finding and accepting love. I told you, it packs a punch.

Mind you, Unfinished Business is a Silhouette Intimate Moments from 1992, and I read it as such. If it were a new single title, I think I might find it a bit dated or naive. But maybe not. It's really hard to tell with re-reads. It does have the dreaded virgin heroine, but it's explained and makes perfect sense.

Oh, and there's a lovely treat for those of us who've read the backlist: a cameo appearance from Princess Gabriella of Cordina. (yes, that website is not updated--it's Not My Fault.)

I hadn't really remembered this one, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to find that it was such an emotion-filled read.


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