I think I’ve learned my lesson with Nora Roberts’ trilogies. Wait until they are all published and read them in one go, not spread out over the course of a year. I read and reviewed The Next Always in June and The Last Boyfriend in October of last year for Cannonball Read Four. They were enjoyable and looking back The Next Always was certainly my favorite of the three. The Perfect Hope was a standard wrap up but lacked a certain something to hook me in.
I think that in the waiting for books two and three to arrive at my library and be available I had conjured up the story as I wanted it to unfold and was left disappointed with the story as it actually turned out. In recent years Roberts has not shied away from writing books of length. Many of the books I read by Roberts last year were in the neighborhood of 400+ pages. However, I fear she has decided that ideas she as deemed to be for trilogies are to be kept shorter. The idea for the Boonsboro Inn trilogy is simply too big for the pages Roberts allotted for it.
The trilogy masquerades as the story of three brothers refurbishing a local inn and falling in love with three friends in series. If that had been all that was going on there would have been plenty of personal dynamics and backstories to keep the reader busy and hooked. However, Roberts injects a ghost story into the mix, the elusive Lizzy. While she is a minor plot mover in the first, by the third book Lizzy and her lover Billy become almost an equal focus to the third book’s protagonists – Hope Beaumont, innkeeper and Ryder Montgomery, eldest brother of the Montgomery clan.
In dealing with the resident ghost and her long lost lover we’re cheated more time with Hope and Ryder, two characters I was truly hoping to spend more time with. They experience an instant spark and spend the first two books ignoring it, it would’ve been lovely to spend additional time with these two as they figure out they feel more for each other than lust. My other chief complaint is the amount of current pop culture and technology interspersed within the book. I fear it’s going to date the book quickly and kept pulling me out of the narrative even though it’s all current as of this date. Somehow it seemed out of place as Roberts has tended to leave these pieces out of previous works.