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21 March 2014

Nora Roberts: The Return of Rafe MacKade (MacKade Brothers)

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The Nora Roberts' formula
Several years ago, as an interlude from my normal diet of heavy thrillers, I read Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay series about the romantic evolution of a close family of brothers. It was an interesting interlude so when I saw this Kindle book was heavily discounted and I needed another interlude I thought I would try again.

I was stunned at the similarity of the background, characters and romantic plot. A small country town, four brothers with excess testosterone, and a strong beautiful female who eventually tames one of the brothers. Nora Roberts is one of the most successful authors of this genre who has developed a formula that seems to work time and time again.

This time the brother is Rafe, the wildest of the bunch in his teens, who has returned home after 10 years having made good in real estate development. Rafe plans to restore an historic large antebellum house to its former glory and run it as a bed and breakfast. On his first day back he meets beautiful, strong minded and independent newcomer Regan Jones who is running an antique shop. Rafe commissions her to furnish his project to fit its history and, of course, plans to get personally more closely associated with the beautiful newcomer.

What follows is Roberts's normal plot of immediate physical attraction between the main characters but only a slow realisation that the attraction is more than physical. Roberts spices things up a bit by introducing the other brothers who have also settled a bit to running the farm, and being the town lawyer and sheriff who will feature in the next three books. She further spices it up by giving the historic house a ghost from the time of the Civil War.

Did I enjoy revisiting the Nora Roberts' formula? Yes and No. As usual it had the sparkle of an author at the top of her game but I felt a bit short-changed by the repeat of a plot formula that I remember well. Will I read the other books in this series? Probably not because reading this book did give me the interlude I needed and I will look for something a bit different when I need another interlude.

Now, somewhat refreshed, I am off on the thriller trail again where the plots are not so predictable

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