There’s Something About Nora!

I just finished reading Nora Roberts’ latest – THE NEXT ALWAYS. Verdict? I LOVED it. Why? Now that’s gonna be a little bit harder to explain.

THE NEXT ALWAYS is the story of Clare and Beckett – the first in a new Nora trilogy πŸ™‚ which is fabulous cos I’m hanging out for the next two. Clare’s a widow and Beckett is a single guy who has had a crush on Clare since high school. Oh and Clare has three young boys to her dead husband. And that’s about it in terms of conflict. Seriously – the BIG C that we all strive for, the BIG C that is the subject of many a romance writing conference, the BIG C that many of us have been reject for – is that she’s been married before and he maybe feels a little bit like he’s stepping on his dead school mate’s toes.

That simple conflict is not even really developed to its full potential – at the beginning of the book, Clare is a little nervous but more than happy to move on. She doesn’t think twice about accepting Beckett’s advances and is simply overjoyed that she has it inside her to love again. I guess both characters do have growth – Claire has the learning to love again thing and Beckett realising that he wants the whole shebang that Claire brings with her – but none of this is very strong.

There’s a bit of an external plot point that causes discomfort for these two but I wouldn’t say it really threatens their relationship.

And this is what has got me flummoxed!!

I really enjoyed this book but the plot wasn’t anything special or unique and there was definitely not a strong conflict, however I kept reading because I loved how the book made me feel. I loved the characters – Clare and Beckett, her three boys and the secondary characters which will soon have their own romance stories. I also loved the slight paranormal element – no, there weren’t any vampires or witches orΒ wear wolves, but there was a ghost in the building Beckett and his brothers are renovating. The ghost’s story was beautifully done!

HOW does Nora sustain a book for 300+ pages with no real conflict, yet have me reading late into the night wanting to finish it?

Anyone got any answers? I’d love to hear them!

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16 thoughts on “There’s Something About Nora!

  1. Oh Rach, don't start me.
    I have been a long time Nora fan but I reckon she had a golden age: Chesapeake Bay books, Born In trilogy, Three Sisters Island trilogy, etc. But for me, she's off the boil. And you nailed exactly what I thought. In this new series they are engaging characters going about their lives and falling in love. You can't help liking them – they're nice people. But there's no conflict. No possible reason for these two people to get together. Even the ghost agrees. So whilst I love her style and particularly how she draws male characters, this one was a thumbs down for me 😦

  2. I knew what you meant Lou – and I totally agree!! I took a while to decide if I DID actually like it and in the end it was because of Beckett and his brothers that I did. THEY saved the story in my opinion πŸ™‚

  3. I totally agree. I loved Beckett and Clare. To me they were real, relatable people, which is why I didn't need ΓΌber, angsty conflict. I actually like reading about people on occasion who don't have horrible, scarred pasts. πŸ™‚

  4. Rach, I haven't read this one, but I felt the same after reading #2 in her wedding planner series.

    The hero had no conflict at all, but he was totally adorable and so I loved the book.

    And to answer your question, I doubt anyone else but Nora could get away with it!

  5. I love Nora. She is the queen of simplicity, and like you Rach, I read on cause I loved the way the book made me feel. And I agree with Nicole, Beckett and Clare are real people and that was enough for me. Why must a book always have the big C to be good? Isn't a little diversity or a break from the norm good?

    I've read books with loads of conflict, but the characters irk me or they are so not real that it shites me.

    So for me, I loved it and bring on book two!

  6. Great minds think alike Ally πŸ™‚

    Anita – I found the same with the wedding planner series, but for some reason I really enjoyed them!

    Janette – I have to agree. I actually prefer books where at least ONE character doesn't have a massive roadblock to having normal relationships.

  7. I'm with Louise. I think she's off her boil. Much prefer her writing as JD Robb. This one and the wedding planner series were yawn inducing for me. That said, I did buy them!

  8. I agree, there is something about Nora!! I've read a few of her books and she's great. I'd really like to read this one too.

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  9. I felt the same way about Susan Wiggs' Dockside. Not a huge amount of conflict but the book made me feel the story, and I loved that feeling. It's hard to put into words, but I want that magical power!

    Marcy

  10. I enjoyed the book but think her books are getting a little lack luster in plot and conflict. It is the characters that drove my desire to read this story. I enjoyed the male characters and getting their pov.

    Finding out the Nora owns the particular Inn she is writing about has taken some of the magic out of the place.

    I will read the other books as they come out but not for the conflict or plot, it is because I fell in love with the characters and want to read more about them.

  11. Keziah – I STILL haven't read any JD Robb. Really must FIX that this year πŸ™‚

    Megan – I hope you enjoy it! Will be interesting to hear what you think!

    Marcy – Dockside is on my TBR pile. Might shift it up a bit so I can contemplate this conflict thing again πŸ™‚

    Amy – I'm exactly like you. I'd do a Nora Roberts hero ANY day!!

  12. Not only does she do great heros, I love the way she portrays the friendships between the group of women. They're a nice feel-good read for me.

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