To Go: 11
81. Low Pressure — Sandra Brown
82. How Should A Person Be? — Sheila Heti
83. The End of Your Life Book Club — Will Schwalbe
84. The MacGregor Brides: Laura — Nora Roberts
85. The MacGregor Brides: Gwen — Nora Roberts
86. The MacGregor Brides: Julia — Nora Roberts
87. The MacGregor Grooms: D.C. — Nora Roberts
88. The MacGregor Grooms: Duncan — Nora Roberts
89. The MacGregor Grooms: Ian — Nora Roberts
Administrative note: these are the two compilation books I mentioned before. I figured that since I read them all in one day, and there were six stories total, I would just review them all in one master-post, instead of writing six different posts. I don’t want everyone to lose their minds, especially the lovely people who get my posts emailed to them.
Daniel MacGregor is at it again! At age ninety, there is nothing the powerful patriarch of the MacGregor clan would like more than to see his three eldest granddaughters happily married — and he’s handpicked three unsuspecting candidates he believes would make the perfect husbands. But this might be his biggest matchmaking challenge yet: his granddaughters are so focused on their careers that marriage is the last thing on their minds. It’s a good thing this meddlesome nonagenarian has a few tricks up his sleeve…
It worked with his granddaughters. Now Daniel MacGregor, powerful patriarch of the MacGregor clan, wants to see his three handsome, eligible — but stubbornly single — grandsons married. So he’s found just the women to tempt, tease, and torture D.C., Duncan, and Ian all the way to the altar. And you can bet Daniel will be sitting by with his feet up, a glass of whiskey in hand, watching his plans unfold…
As I’m sure you can guess, these books are not mine — they are my mother’s. But I was trying to think of a way to catch up in the challenge without resorting to picture books, and these sprung to mind. I’d read them years ago, when my mother first wanted to introduce me to Nora Roberts, and I remembered them being pretty enjoyable, so I thought why not? And there were six stories! (Not to mention that I always like re-reading stories that I enjoyed when I was younger, just to see if my taste was solid.)
Since I’m reviewing all six here, I’ve decided to do six stories in six sentences. A review for each.
Laura: Not bad; Royce, the love interest, was a little pig-headed at times but I could live with it, Laura was pretty kick-ass, and the house she and her cousins lived in sounded so gorgeous I wanted to live in it.
Gwen: Totally icky and just plain abysmal; Branson was hard to stomach, the story was way too over-the-top in its (failing) efforts to present the ultimate romantic story, but at least Gwen was a heroine I could get on board with.
Julia: My favourite of the Brides; Julia was a smart, independent, dare I say feminist heroine who I could get behind, and Cullum wasn’t insufferable; I loved their real estate, fixer-upper subplot.
D.C.: I remembered it as a less-than-exciting story, but my older self enjoyed it more than my younger self did; D.C. was a sort-of hipster-artist before being a hipster-artist was a thing, and Layna wasn’t too bad, but the plot was pretty transparent and lazy.
Duncan: Sassy characters set against the colourful backdrop of a riverboat casino sailing along (what I think was) the Mississippi; I liked Cat’s background story and Duncan’s inherent romanticism.
Ian: I almost wrote this in all caps because this was the story I remember loving the most and, damn, I have good taste; it is literally the cutest of all the MacGregor stories (I smiled my whole way through it), Ian and Naomi are both wonderful characters, and I loved having the bookstore and Ian’s old creaky Boston home as the primary setting of their love story.
Two final notes: Daniel MacGregor is literally the creepiest character in literary history. I remember thinking the same thing years ago as I do now: there is no way — no way — in this world that any grandfather would go to such dramatic and disturbing lengths to set up his grandchildren, and his sole focus on marriage and babies was a little gross. He needed a hobby outside of poking into his grandchildren’s love lives. I also hate that he was treated as this precocious grandfatherly fellow, because he really just made my skin crawl.
And I never understood, throughout this whole series (there are more than just these two books, and my mother has handed me quite a number of them over the years) why the characters — Daniel MacGregor especially — are so obsessed with a person’s ethnic background. The phrase that MacGregor uses — “good blood, strong stock” — throughout all the series is treated like a joke, but not only does it get trying very easily, it just baffles me. Why does it matter whether your grandchildren’s spouses are Scottish, Irish, Cherokee, or whatever else? They’re not horses! You’re not breeding!
Next book: I think my final Michael Connelly novel, or — finally — Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.
P.S.: I read all six MacGregor stories and Will Schwalbe’s book by 11:58 p.m. on December 20th. I don’t know why, but this made me obscenely proud.