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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Genuine LIes

***** Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts. Romantic suspense. Re-read.

Celebrity biographer Julia Summers is hired to write the biography of film star Eve Benedict (think Elizabeth Taylor, somebody larger-than-life like that). Unfortunately, Eve knows a lot of secrets, and there are a lot of people who worry about what she'll reveal in the book. So much so, that both Julia and Eve are getting threatening notes, and it starts escalating from there.

The romance comes in the form of Paul Winthrop, fiction author and Eve's erstwhile stepson, who's very close to her. He's also against the book being written, but then he starts falling in love with Julia and things get more complicated.

That's the first half of the book. Then two things happen in rapid succession: Eve reveals that Julia is the child she'd given up for adoption at birth, and Eve is murdered, with Julia the prime suspect.

It's a nice rollercoaster of a ride, with no lack of suspects, and Julia has to worry about her son, her fledgling romance with Paul, staying out of jail, finding the real killer, and writing the book, as well as coming to terms with losing the mother she didn't even know she had.

So many good things about this one. I especially liked the way Paul's relationship with Brandon echoed Eve's relationship with Paul--that was a nice bit of subtle symmetry. Also impressive was the gritty realism of Eve's life--it wasn't by any means a glorified version of Hollywood. Delrickio was chilling, Eve's nephew was weak and creepy, and her relationship with Victor was beautiful and heartbreaking... and also annoying.

That was something I found awfully hard to understand--Victor was apparently religious enough not to leave his wife, but not religious enough to be faithful. And he seemed to see through her manipulation, so why he didn't just move out years before.... Yeah, I know: guilt is a powerful motivator, and his wife was a master at using it. Though what she got out of it, I can't tell--it certainly didn't make her happy. Apparently she was the type of person who, being unhappy herself, finds satisfaction in making others just as miserable. Bleah.

It would be fun if CeeCee turned up as a famous designer in one of Nora's later books. Won't happen, but it would be cute if it did.

Genuine Lies is one of Nora's oxymoron books*--which are my favorites of all 150+. (Is she past 160 yet? I've lost count.) It's partly because those are the first of her books I read, after the In Death books, and partly because I came to romance from mystery (and sf/f), so romantic suspense (and paranormal romance) tend to be my favorites of the genre. I also think that these dozen books, plus the next eight romantic suspense (from Montana Sky through Three Fates), have the best balance of characterization, romance, and suspense.

*since I couldn't find a list, I'm providing one:

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I remember how much I really enjoy reading Genuine Lies. It was good mix of romance and suspense. And I still think that Montana Sky is one of my favorite book..even Three Fates. because both not only have mix of romance and suspense. But lot of humor dilogues in them.
Been looking for a good book to suggest for our book club! We all enjoy Nora -- just might suggest this one! thanks!
It's a good one for a book club--there's a lot going on in the story for people to discuss. Plus, it's fun to read. :)
One of my favorite all time re-reads! This books is a GREAT example of the richness of characters and in depth stories that has sadly been lacking in Nora's past few books.

Not only is there sex, but there's ROMANCE.

And I'm so with you regarding Victor. Would've liked to see Paul just punch Lincoln the prick ONCE. It still astounds me that this guy, out of guilt, I suppose, is willing to defend Julia on a murder charge, but has NO FEELINGS whatsoever for the child they created? It's not as if he'd raped her. They were having an affair. I mean, he loves his other children, right? So the "paternal" feelings are there. I just hated him.

But I LOVED Paul! And how he'd get oh so properly British when irritated with Julia,lol.
Oh, yeah. I think Paul would have enjoyed punching Lincoln once, too. :)

Same here--it's definitely one of my absolute favorite Noras. Suspense, romance, even tragedy.
Yes, I wish this was one of those times Nora would let the hero do EXACTLY what he felt like, lol.

I know her writing style has changed, but she keeps saying in every article, that she's a great proponent of romance, relationships, etc., yet I see less and less of that aspect in each book she puts out.
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