Review: The Last Boyfriend — Nora Roberts

Read: 25
To Go: 75

Book List:
21. Why Men Lie — Linden MacIntyre
22. My Dear I Wanted to Tell You — Louisa Young
23. Phaedrus — Plato
24. The First Wife — Emily Barr
25. The Last Boyfriend — Nora Roberts

Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist — and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers give him grief for his compulsive list making, the Inn Boonsboro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery MacTavish…

Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a firsthand look at its amazing renovation — and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.

As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of Boonsboro a reason to celebrate. But Owen’s hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected — and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last…

Yoo hoo! I’m down here!

We’ve finally made it — I’m a quarter through the challenge! And definitely behind schedule. I know I said this last year and it all turned out fine, but I’m starting to question whether I’ll be able to do the full hundred this year. Let us all gather together and pray.

Now, let’s focus on Nora Roberts’ newest book. I know I regularly whine and complain after reading her books, but her new Inn Boonsboro trilogy has been turning out pretty close to pitch perfect. (I’ve found that a lot with her newer stuff, though. Maybe it’s all about growing with the times.) Aside from a few moments of questionable dialogue (just a few times where I caught myself thinking, “most people wouldn’t say that, or at the very least it wouldn’t come out that way”), The Last Boyfriend was really quite lovely.

I was thinking about this while I read, and I figure I should touch on it. Bloggers have weighed in on what makes a female character a strong one, and usually Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, or Suzanne Collins’ Katniss Everdeen come to mind. There’s nothing wrong with that — both, unquestionably, display mental and/or physical strength. The only thing about both of them (I’m cautious to lump Katniss in with Lisbeth, as I haven’t read the Hunger Games trilogy and can’t say for certain if this is true for her) is that the strength that gets attributed to them, and other female characters like them, is a very “male” strength. In order to have a strong female character, she must essentially be devoid of every character trait that makes her female. This has gotten bloggers to ask the question, where are the strong female characters who have female strength?

I may bitch a lot about Nora Roberts, but I have to give her one thing: her female characters are, more often than not, strong women. They’re smart, funny, hard-working and assertive; they possess strong opinions that they don’t shy away from; they’re wonderful friends, wives, and mothers; and they are unapologetically girly. And I think it’s really nice to see female characters who are intelligent and capable, and also aren’t afraid to wear dresses or do their make-up. I think we need more of that.

Addendum: After all that praise, I do feel like I need to add that the moments that foreshadowed for the trilogy’s final novel, The Perfect Hope, were a little frustrating for me. Though Beckett and Owen have been really lovely protagonists, their third brother, Ryder, is one of those neanderthals that are often the staple of a Roberts novel. Even in a book not dedicated to him, he’s marching around in the background of The Last Boyfriend making sweeping, sexist generalizations about women and just being a real pain in the ass. I’m thinking I might not enjoy how this trilogy ends.

Next book: Love in the Time of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I’ve got a funny story for you about how I got this book for less than $5.)

– Kelsey

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