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Monday, May 28, 2007

Second Nature


**** Second Nature by Nora Roberts. Contemporary romance. Re-read.








This is the first of a duo connected by heroines who work for Celebrity magazine.

Lee Radcliffe is a reporter, and she's determined to get an interview with reclusive horror author Hunter Brown. As you can tell from the names, this book was written in the 80s. Masculine name for the heroine, random noun name for the hero. Gak. Though this one's not quite as bad, since Lee can be female, though it's usually spelled differently (Li, Lea, Leigh, Leah)

Anyway. Lee discovers that Hunter will be at a writers' conference, so she dusts off the manuscript she's been fiddling with off and on, and goes undercover.

She meets him at the airport, where he'd gone to pick up his agent, who was a no-show. He offers her a ride to the hotel, and she assumes he works for the hotel. They're attracted to each other, and enjoy their conversation, so she accepts his dinner invitation, though she wonders why such an intelligent, insightful man has such a menial job.

Then she's seated in the front row at a workshop when he's introduced, and, well, you can guess she's pretty irritated. He makes it a dare, so she goes through with dinner, but she lets her anger get in the way of subtly interviewing him, the way she'd intended to. Making matters worse, she leaves her manuscript with him.

The situation hits bottom when, intrigued by the manuscript, he does some checking and discovers she's a reporter, and the rest of the conference is a bust.

Then, back at work, Lee gets an invitation from Hunter to go on a camping trip with him for two weeks, during which time she'll be allowed to interview him. The expected city-girl-on-a-camping-trip hilarity ensues.

If it weren't for Nora's deft hand with characters, I wouldn't have liked this one at all. Lee seemed awfully hypocritical for being angry with Hunter for not correcting her mistaken impression of him, while she was deliberately deceiving him. The saving grace was that she did eventually realize this. And she was a pretty good sport about the camping trip, though that's a pretty common plot--maybe less so in 1986?

I didn't mention Hunter's daughter. She was fairly age-appropriate, but mostly just a plot device to explain his reclusiveness. It was a little hard to reconcile the Great Dadâ„¢ with the man who left his daughter, first for a week-long conference, then shortly afterward for two weeks on a camping trip. Which is not to say that single parents don't deserve personal lives, or that it wasn't satisfactorily explained in the story--it's just one more example of why I don't really like children in romance novels--they tend to conveniently disappear quite a lot.

I also found it a little hard to believe that Lee's partial manuscript was So Great and impressed Hunter so much that he thinks she should quit her job and just finish it. I've been around too many aspiring authors to believe that it's quite that simple or easy.

On the other hand, the characters did come to life, and I very much enjoyed Hunter's dilemma of being so attracted to someone he was also angry with. Even better was Lee's conviction that she needed to return to her old life. The character who's caught between their safe, predictable, comfortable life, and the possibility of their heart's desire is a classic story, and Nora gives us all those emotions, and makes them very real.

...more

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Comments:
My goodness, you read fast...what is your secret? I loved that you noticed the names I was howling with laughter about the trend in names. You are very observant. Fun review. I feel like trying to write one of these books...
 
My secret? Periodic rest-periods because of the CFS, and not having the patience/desire to watch much TV.
 
Darn! TV is my belove things, can't leave it, gotta have it LOL ;)
 
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