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Monday, May 14, 2007

Born in Ice

****½ Born in Ice by Nora Roberts. Contemporary romance. Re-read.

This one surprised me. The heroine I liked least was featured in the book I liked most in the trilogy.

Brianna is the "good" sister. In fact, her sister Maggie calls her a saint, and I agree. She runs a B&B in the house where she grew up, and she's very, very into things like cleaning and cooking and housework in general. I can understand, maybe, enjoying running a B&B--not relate to it--having people around all the time that you have to converse with.... *shudder* But I could understand that. Enjoying cleaning, though, makes me think she has a couple of screws loose. Which is fair warning, by the way, if you drop by my house unexpected.

Grayson Thane is a mystery writer who comes to stay at Brianna's B&B while he finishes his latest book. Yes, I know--conventional wisdom says it's a Bad Idea to write a book about a writer writing a book, but Gray is deep. He's got layers. He's got a wonderful emotional journey, which I'm not going to deprive you of by explaining it all here. Suffice it to say that he thinks he's perfectly fine all by himself, and that he learns the error of that notion.

Nora is really a master of the romance trilogy--the books aren't just connected, there's an ongoing story. The ongoing story concerns Brianna and sister Maggie discovering the truth about their parents' pasts. And yet the books do stand alone. Maggie and Rogan are integral parts of Born in Ice, just as Brianna is an integral part of Born in Fire. There's no sense of
**fanfare** Maggie! and Rogan! from Born in Fire! **applause** When last we saw Maggie and Rogan, they were newlyweds. Now look at them! Expecting their first child! **bows** Let's hear it for Maggie and Rogan! **applause** and off they go, never to be heard from again.
that's all too common in connected romances. Oh, you could surmise that Maggie & Rogan had a story of their own, but it doesn't feel like you've missed something, or like you're at a party where you're the only one who doesn't know everybody.

As for the Maeve story, even though I wanted to smack Brianna upside the head for catering to the bitter, nasty old woman, Brianna learned to say no, and to stand up for herself. So despite the fact that she still ended up more conciliatory than her sister, I liked the "lesson" in Born in Ice better. It probably says something negative about me that I bristle whenever I detect a "be nicer" message, but I really don't want to examine that too closely. Not right now, anyway.


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