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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beach Read Wednesday: The Next Always by Nora Roberts (The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1)

Book cover of The Next Always by Nora Roberts (Inn BoonsBoro #1)
Even though this week's Beach Read Wednesday choice is The Next Always by Nora Roberts, I could have chosen almost any Nora book to fill this role.  Pick up a Nora Roberts book and you're guaranteed a few things: well-drawn characters, charming setting, believable dialogue, good storytelling and a solid romance.  The Inn BoonsBoro trilogy is Roberts' latest series, and it's set at the real-life inn owned by Roberts and her husband.

Summary: The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it's getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett's social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there's another project he's got his eye on: the girl he's been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen... – Goodreads

My thoughts: Nora Roberts does a stellar job depicting the idyllic town of BoonsBoro, Maryland.  No big surprise there – Roberts is the town's most prominent resident.  In The Next Always, Roberts hands over management of her inn to the Montgomerys, a trio of brothers each responsible for part of the inn's reconstruction.  The first book in the series stars Beckett Montgomery and Clare Murphy Brewster, the girl that got away.  Clare is now a widow with three sons, and she owns and manages the town bookstore (in reality, BoonsBoro's bookstore is owned by Nora Roberts' husband).

With Clare and Beckett, Roberts creates a sweet romance that offers a second chance for both of them.  I especially liked that Clare's boys are an important part of the story – in order to win over Clare, Beckett has to win over her sons too.  Though their attraction is present from the beginning, their lasting romance takes time to develop.  Roberts doesn't rush the plot, and it moves along at a pace that allows her to include both a suspense subplot and a paranormal subplot.  Seriously, only Nora Roberts could write a book like that and actually make it work.

The setting is a bit cutesy, yes, and the architectural/construction details might not interest everyone, but The Next Always is representative of what Roberts does so well.  She also manages to set up the rest of the series without forcing too much information down readers' throats.  If you're someone who hates to wait for sequels, book two of The Inn BoonsBoro trilogy, The Last Boyfriend, was published in May and The Perfect Hope will arrive in November.  Note: I tried this one on audio first and couldn't get through it.  It worked much better in print, and I recommend you choose that version.

Photograph of a mug of beer
Deviant Art
Recommended cocktail to accompany The Next Always: Maryland is home to a ton of microbreweries, and Beckett and his brothers are the type of guys who like to kick back with a beer after a hard day of inn-building.  For local suggestions, check out The Brewers Association of Maryland.

Rating: B+
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Length: 384 pages
Sensuality: Steamy

Romance novel book reviews by Sarah the Brazen Bookworm

5 comments:

  1. Ah, Nora Roberts. She's my guilty pleasure author. I'm enjoying this series! How much did you want to check out the bookstore Clare owns!? Did you read the Bride Quartet series? Loved that one :)

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    1. I am liking this series too - I kinda want to visit the Inn! ;) I liked the first three books in the Bride Quartet and had *such* high hopes for Parker's book but was disappointed in that one. But really, even a meh Nora Roberts is still not bad.

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    2. I'd love to visit the Inn too! Especially if all the brothers were there... :) I agree about Parker's book. I think part of that may have come from the fact that we knew a book or two before who she was going to end up with. Make sense? But you're right - meh Nora Roberts is usually still fun! Have you read the Mackade brothers series?

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    3. Yeah, that explanation about Parker's book makes sense. That's one of the weakest parts of Nora's trilogies - she introduces all the heroes/heroines even before they get their books, so you can usually figure out who's going to end up together. But again, not complaining!!

      I haven't read the MacKade Brothers books...I mean, I've made a decent dent in her 200 books, but I haven't hit them all yet! :) Is that series worth checking out? I really enjoyed the Stanislaskis series, even though they were originally published as 'Those Wild Ukrainians!' Ah...how romance has changed since the early 80s!

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    4. I would check out the MacKade brothers - it's quite similar to the Boonsboro ones but there are FOUR brothers! haha. I haven't actually read too many of her books - I think we've covered all of them in these comments, lol, but she's one I'd check out when I need a quick and guaranteed sweet read.

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Romance novel book review