Review: Worth The Risk — Nora Roberts

Read: 35
To Go: 65

Book List
31. Mercy — Jodi Picoult
32. Never Let Me Go — Kazuo Ishiguro
33. The Book of Spells — Kate Brian
34. William and Kate: A Royal Love Story — Christopher Andersen
35. Worth The Risk — Nora Roberts

Look at that cover; isn’t that just gorgeous? What lovely colouring.

Anyway, this book is actually an omnibus, containing two separate stories. I’ll review them both in this post, but separately, and only count one novel towards my total (boo hoo).

The first story, Partners, follows Matthew Bates and Laurel Armand, two competing journalists who are forced to team up to investigate the recent death of Anne Trulane, a woman who was frightened of the swamp behind her house but, inexplicably, died within its depths.

As I’ve said before,  I’ll shamelessly trumpet the skill of Nora Roberts if the story I’ve read is good; this one certainly was. From the first page I was hooked, and even though it was late and I was tired, I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading it. I loved both Matthew and Laurel (also, what nice name choices), the background of sweltering New Orleans, and all those little moments that just screamed journalism. (Though, obviously, I would be a sucker for the latter.)

The romance itself was underscored by a mystery-slash-thriller plot, which I’m happy to say that I was genuinely impressed by. If I hadn’t skimmed to the end of the story due to force of habit, I wouldn’t have anticipated the plot twist at all.

Barring one eccentric, match-making grandmother with an overdramatized libido (which was not as funny as it was intended; it was just creepy, because she kept asking for information regarding her granddaughter’s sex life), I can’t say a bad word about it; it was just really good romantic fodder, plain and simple.

In The Art of Deception, Roberts’ second story, artist and Commonwealth Insurance company snoop Adam Haines shows up to the home of eclectic and world-renowned painter Mr. Fairchild, only to fall in love with his equally insane daughter, Kirby.

From the inexplicable bizarreness of the Fairchild family to the unnecessary drama of the dialogue, everything about this volume had me snorting and giggling. It felt like Roberts had deliberately overdone everything  as comic relief that fell flat — especially the characters of Kirby Fairchild and her father, who almost appeared as a mockery of artists. I mean, it was funny in a way that bad soap operas are funny; not genuinely, intelligently comical.

Barring Adam who seemed, for the majority of the novel, rather sane (excluding, of course, his weird interest in Kirby, of all people) I rather disliked most of the characters for their inexplicable eccentricities. I’m not saying I don’t love character quirks, because I do. But when they’re blown up to epic proportions and used to make the characters seem insane for no reason other than the fact that they’re a family of artists, I have no place for them. (For example, Kirby and her father would be getting along one minute, only to erupt in some sort of “loving” screaming match the next second; that’s not funny or clever or endearing in any way, that’s just weird.)

The dialogue, again, was really quite silly. I mean, you can always expect that in romance novels (and it’s something I’ve come to anticipate in a Nora Roberts book), but sometimes it’s just deliberately overdone. By the final chapter of the book, I’d devolved from reading critically to giggling to myself, reading the dialogue aloud in a dramatic voice and then mocking the characters. (“How else can you apologize, Adam? How about sincerely, huh? That might do the trick!”)

Also, on a side note, I don’t know about you, but when someone says something particularly outlandish, like “Damn it, Kirby, she wanted you dead!” (Roberts 468) I imagine it being yelled in Joey from Friends’s soap opera voice. Let’s just say that was the entirety of the final chapter — me reading all the lines in a dramatic, soap opera voice and laughing at myself. I just couldn’t take this story seriously! It was too silly.

So overall, I liked the book. I definitely approved of Partners, but only enjoyed The Art of Deception because of its comic relief value.

Next book: Another Nora Roberts; I think I have about four of them left before I start reading different authors again.

– Kelsey

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