I had an especially difficult time writing this review, though I couldn’t have told you exactly why. What I’ve since discovered is that...more**3.5 rating**
I had an especially difficult time writing this review, though I couldn’t have told you exactly why. What I’ve since discovered is that while writing this review, I kept feeling is as if I were justifying my love for Nora Roberts, instead of describing it and why. I’ve seen so many knock her books, deeming it something you’d pick up from your grandmother’s library shelf. And that riles me up. As cheesesauce as this may sound, to a lonely fifteen-year-old holed up in her room, Nora Roberts was the authority on all things romantic and love related. Because three years ago, I’d understood that Roberts often didn’t exaggerate the romance. She shows us practical romance, in which every day people—with some beautiful and some average-looking main characters—fall in love over every day things, in which the women find their own and take their men as they are instead of changing them or wishing for something different. It’s realistic.
Roberts makes simple, practical romance sexy and desirable, and somehow magical. Whenever I read one of her books, it makes boundless, deep love not only believable but possible. And to have anyone say different makes me cranky. Because they’re comfortable, meaningful, and realistic. It’s the same for The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts. Roberts is the one who instigated my unabashed love for books featuring a brood of brothers. Now, I won’t argue that Roberts has certainly picked up a pattern and sticks to her character formulas. Anyone who’s read her books knows that in just about any trilogy of brothers or brotherlike friends, Roberts introduces the level-headed one, the nice, perhaps anal one, and the rough-around-the-edges, abrupt one. It’s a tried and true favorite that can get somewhat obvious, predictable, and even a teeny bit boring. However, because Roberts makes each version a little different, they’re never all the same, and therefore it’s easy to look past what might annoy some. Keep in mind, though, that this is only really obvious if you’ve been a long-time reader of the author. Otherwise, I don’t think it would be as irritatingly noticeable.
That said, I don’t love the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy. It’s not a new favorite like The Witness. However, I’m nowhere near knocking it. I enjoyed each of the books immensely on principle—they’re written by one of my favorite authors. Plus, they’re modern, funny, and just lovely. I’d been anticipating The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts in particular because, true to nature, I always get slightly more excited for the next installment when we’re talking about the tough brother. The sparks have been flying between he and Hope for some time. And, in some ways, this book did disappoint. I wasn’t a big fan of the lack of spotlight on the romance. I felt as if Roberts chose to focus more on the actual building and handywork than the relationship blooming between Ryder and Hope. Also, I missed the sex Roberts used to write so well. I find that in recent book series in particular they’re cut short and aren’t lingered on as much as I’d have liked. The negatives aside, there is plenty left to like in this installment in particular. One thing Roberts always does really well is bringing things full circle. We may not get every single perspective of characters past, but it’s nice to see the past two couples in a good, solid place while a new one is muddling their way and trying to find a rhythm.
The humor is there, the loving female relationships are there, and the romance is dazzling for any wistful, starry-eyed romantic. Ryder and Hope’s relationship flows very well and the bond formed as a couple is something true to who they are as individuals. They are both flawed and complete opposites, yet on the most basic and fundamental principles and traits they agree and unite. It’s a heart-warming compatibility that I really wish had more page time. While I enjoyed the side mystery of the resident ghost in Inn Boonsboro, it certainly wasn’t my main concern, and the same can be said of the detail with regards to all the Building Stuff happening. Still, that full circle bit really dissolved my disappointment so that I was left with nothing but warmth and joy by the end.
Most Likely to Be Enjoyed By: If you’re a Roberts fan then the formulaic characters may set you back some, but once you take note of their differences from characters past, it’s easy to love the Montgomery brothers. These books don’t seem like they’d have much going on in them, but just as daily living can get complex so can the plot. It chronicles the building projects begun throughout the series, the romances between each of the brothers and their women, the progress of uncovering the mystery of Lizzy the ghost, and any other smaller-scale dilemmas that crop up as a result of pasts coming around to cause a rift. I always stick to Roberts’ books for the characters and their romances, and I think the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy overall has enough good quality of both for it to be an engaging, enjoyable series.
Content Warning: This is an adult book. That means heavy kissing, sex, and profanity aren’t implied and flowery. However, Roberts is never especially explicit either. There is some blood and violence throughout the series, but nothing too exciting.