Jane Stewart's Reviews > Inner Harbor

Inner Harbor by Nora Roberts
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's review
Sep 04, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: contempry-romance-with-some-fantasy
Read in November, 2009

As a stand-alone book, it was lacking, but it was good because it finished unresolved issues from the first two books.

The Chesapeake Bay series includes four books which tell a continuing story about a family. Ray and Stella Quinn adopt three troubled boys who came from abusive homes. In the first three books the boys are about 30 years old. They left home, have good jobs and are single. Stella died several years earlier. In the beginning of the first book Ray took in another boy, 10-year-old Seth, who was abused by his mother Gloria. Gloria offered to give legal guardianship to Ray in return for a large sum of money. Before anything was official, Ray died in a car accident. Shortly before he died, he asked his three sons to move back home to take care of Seth. All three men promised they would. They decide to start a boat building business. In the first three books each of the three men meets and falls in love with a woman. The fourth book tells the story of Seth, who is grown, returns home and falls in love. The best parts of the first three books are watching the developing relationships among Seth and the three men and seeing Seth blossom. Each book has a minor amount of fantasy due to some conversations with a ghost. The four books, main characters, and my ratings are:
Sea Swept (Cameron and Anna) 4 stars
Rising Tides (Ethan and Grace) 3 stars
Inner Harbor (Phillip and Sybill) 3 stars
Chesapeake Blue (Seth and Dru) 2.5 stars

STORY BRIEF (Inner Harbor, Book 3):
Phillip’s mother was a stripper and prostitute. Phillip survived by stealing, using drugs and sometimes selling himself. At age 13, he was shot in gang crossfire and nearly died. Ray and Stella discovered him in the hospital and took him home. Due to their love and environment, he changed and thrived. He is now a successful advertising executive in Baltimore. He dresses well, drinks fine wines and eats healthy. During his three-day weekends, he handles administrative details, legal issues and paperwork for the brothers’ boat building business, as well as some of the sweaty carpentry work.

Dr. Sybill Griffin has made a career out of the study of urban life and has published two books. She has degrees in anthropology, sociology and psychology. She comes to Chesapeake Bay to observe and study small town life for her next book. However, the reader soon learns that she chose Chesapeake Bay because of Seth. She purposely meets the brothers and finds that Phillip is attracted to her. She begins a relationship with him in order to be closer to and learn about Seth. Gloria (Seth’s mother) returns to the area. Gloria has a bigger role in this book than in the previous two books.

This was ok, but I couldn’t get into the characters. They were good as supporting characters in the Seth story and for the series, but the story about their relationship wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. They each were wounded in the past in different ways. Now they are smooth and polished. I didn’t see how they grew to love each other. They were sort of thrown together, and then they have sex because they are physically attracted to each other. The value of this book is learning about Gloria and seeing some of her actions. It finishes some of the unresolved issues from the first two books. So it’s worthwhile in that way.

Story length: 238 pages. Swearing language: strong. Sexual language: none. Number of sex scenes: 3. Total number of sex scene pages: 7. Setting: current day Chesapeake Bay area and Baltimore, Maryland. Copyright: 1999. Genre: contemporary romance with fantasy.

For a list of my reviews of other Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb books, see my 4.5 star review of "Angels Fall" posted on 6-30-08.
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