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Nora Roberts Challenge – Month 1

So I’ve decided that in 2020, instead of reading random books, I’m going to do the Nora Roberts Challenge and read everything Nora Roberts has written. I’m a major fan of her books – I like her writing style, the storylines, and how while romance is present, it’s not always the focus of the book. I’ve read a lot of her books, but with over 200 written, I know I’ve missed a number of them, so I’m going to read or reread everything – I have a list to be sure – and document it here. If you want to do it with me, let me know!

Nora Roberts Challenge Month 1 - Poppies and Jasmine

The Irish Born Trilogy

Born In Fire by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine
Born In Ice by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine
Born In Shame by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine

I started with the Born In trilogy – I’ve read them before, but not for years. The three books tells the story of three sisters in Ireland who have to make peace with their father’s early death and an affair he had (one sister is a half-sister), the mother’s general unhappiness, and their own romantic futures. The characters are well-developed, as Roberts’ characters always are, although you can tell this is one of her earlier works as the storylines are a bit flat and predictable. Of the three, Born In Shame is probably my favorite – I particularly like the male main character in it, and I think it’s the most interesting of the three, but because of how intertwined the stories are, you do need to read them all and in order!

The Gallaghers Of Ardmore Trilogy

Jewels Of The Sun by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine
Tears Of The Moon by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine
Heart Of The Sea by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine

Nora Roberts writes a lot of trilogies, and her stories tend to be so big that three books work well for her. The Gallaghers covers the story of three Irish siblings – two brothers and a sister – who need to fall in love to fulfill a centuries-old faery spell and reunite two star-crossed spirits. The mystical aspect is a wonderful addition – very fitting with the Irish setting, as it seems to me that Ireland is maybe just a bit more inherently spiritual or connected to mystical forces than some other places. You know what I mean – those places that just feel like more, like Sedona, AZ or Salem, MA. I’ve stumbled across those places sometimes and it hits you like a ton of bricks. Anyway, with faeries, ghosts, and other spirits being such an inherent part of the culture, weaving an old tale into the novels elevated the storyline just a bit. The second book is probably the best, although the third has my favorite character. It’s a good series, although not Nora Roberts’ best…probably because she just gets better with age.

The Dream Trilogy

Daring To Dream by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine
Holding The Dream by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine
Finding The Dream by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine

I feel like in this trilogy, Nora Roberts really hits her stride. The books tell of three “sisters”, although their relationship is more by choice than actual relation. Each faces a complete change in the life they’ve built for themselves and they have to completely reevaluate their course. I hadn’t read this trilogy for a long time, and I forgot how much I liked it, so it was nice to read it again. The third book is my favorite by a narrow margin – I just connected to the characters the most in that one.

Public Secrets

(1990)

Public Secrets by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine

This book was excellent, although a bit dramatic and Danielle Steele-like. It spans about 25 years in the life of a girl who has a junkie mother, a rock star father, and a murdered brother, as she struggles to face the demons closing in around her from every side. I finished it in one night because I couldn’t seem to put it down, but this isn’t one I’ll reach for too often. It’s fairly dark for a Nora Roberts novel, but not a bad choice if you’re looking for a new book.

Unfinished Business

(1992)

Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts - Poppies and Jasmine

I’d never read this book before – surprising since I’ve read so many of her books, but also the reason I wanted to do this challenge. It was…fine. This novel was, to be honest, a fairly generic romance novel. The characters were a bit one-dimensional, all the issues were tied up neatly and quickly in the last few chapters…there was just nothing spectacular about it. Since she has so many books that are amazing, just skip this one.

Month 1 – 11 books. I’m going to have to step it up a notch if I’m going to finish by the end of the year, but I know I can do it!

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