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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Courting Catherine

***½ Courting Catherine by Nora Roberts. Contemporary romance. re-read.

This is the first in the Calhoun series. My copy is in the 2-in-1 volume pictured above.

The 4 Calhoun sisters and their Aunt Coco live in The Towers, their crumbling old family mansion. They have jobs, and they've been selling things off a little at a time to make ends meet, but it's just not working, and they've finally decided to consider selling.

Enter Trent--Trenton St. James III, of the hotel St. Jameses, visiting with an eye toward adding the Towers to the family's hotel chain at the behest of Aunt Coco, who's "forgotten" to tell her nieces he's coming. He meets CC, the youngest sister, who's an auto mechanic, and they immediately start annoying each other, much to Aunt Coco's delight.

The first time I read this, I thought it was fun, and clever. This time... well, it had been a rough week, so I was probably much more cynical than usual (yeah, hard to believe that's possible, isn't it?), and it didn't seem very realistic to me. Not that it's unrealistic for a woman to be a mechanic--one of Curran's better girl friends was in his auto-tech class last year, frex--but it didn't seem that Nora was as thorough with it as she usually is. Generally when a main character has a specific job in one of Nora's books, you come away half-believing that Nora's done that job herself, and that didn't happen here. Maybe it's just because it's an earlier Silhouette.

CC starts off the book angry with Trent for buying their home. Ridiculous--he's not forcing them to sell, nor is he trying to cheat them--but it's understandable. But it's not just that--it seems everything about him annoys her. So I really didn't get it when she told him she loved him so
soon. It was like she went from despising him to loving him without any ah-ha! moment in between. I think that's what I was missing, was that moment when she realizes it herself.

I did enjoy the scene at the dinner table when
Aunt Coco was trying to figure out which of her nieces should be paired up with Trent. It was one of the brighter, more humorous parts of the story.

So the romance itself was iffy, but then there were the flashbacks. See, an ancestor had a miserable marriage, a love affair with a painter, hid a priceless emerald necklace, and committed suicide. And there are periodic flashbacks to Bianca's story throughout the book.

I didn't see any reason at all for those flashbacks. Bianca's story didn't relate in any way to the current story, other than to show the necklace, and I think that part of the story was better told in the seance and visions, etc. As for Bianca's story itself--it was depressing and pitiful. Maybe if I found Romeo and Juliet romantic rather than stupidly tragic, I'd have enjoyed that part more, but I doubt it--even if Bianca's story had been a happy one, it still had no purpose.


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