Someday, I’m going to go back and read all of Nora Roberts’ earlier series. I loved The MacGregors series. I thought her Brides Quartet was terrific. Her books are fun and romantic, with interesting male and female characters. Now, she’s launching a new series, The Inn Boonsboro trilogy, emphasizing the male protagonists. The Next Always highlights Beckett Montgomery, the architect of the Montgomery family.
Along with their mother, Justine, Beckett, Ryder and Owen Montgomery are contractors in Boonsboro, Maryland. Their latest project is one of their own, restoring and remodeling an inn that is over two hundred years old. Everyone in town is curious about the project, hidden underneath blue tarps. Beckett is willing to give two women a sneak peek, Clare Brewster, owner of Turn the Page bookstore, and her best friend, Avery, who owns an Italian restaurant. Both women, along with other merchants, know that a successful inn could benefit all the merchants in town.
Beckett has had a crush on Clare since she was fifteen. That was just about the time she met her first love, though. She married him, had two sons, and a third on the way when her soldier husband was killed by an Iraqi sniper. Now, she’s back in Boonsboro, raising her sons and running her successful business. Beckett, one of three boys in a family himself, doesn’t have a problem dating the mother of three boys. However, there's a rival for Clare's hand, a wealthy man who is convinced she should date him.
Every one of Nora Roberts’ series is different, but they all emphasize romance and strong family relationships. In this case, there’s a great deal of humor in the interplay between the Montgomery men. And Beckett manages to end up in some interesting situations with Clare’s sons. The relationships are all fun. There’s even a ghost at the inn, with promises of future stories about that ghost.
This first book spends a great time on the remodeling of the Inn Boonsboro. All the details of the inn are fascinating. Readers who enjoy romantic stories will appreciate the inn, with the rooms named after literary lovers. They include Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man, and Roberts’ own Eve and Roarke from her JD Robb In Death series.
Nora Roberts once again hits the mark with the first book in a new trilogy. Romance, strong male and female characters, a little suspense due to a stalker, a ghost, and a remodeled inn. All those elements combine in The Next Always for an appealing, enjoyable book. And, for those of us who enjoy families, romance and series, it’s easy to see who the brothers will end up in the other books. But, that doesn’t matter. It’s always fascinating to see how Nora Roberts gets her characters to their destination.
Oh, and one more thing that makes The Next Always even more interesting. Nora Roberts actually owns The Inn Boonsboro, an inn she and her husband restored across the street from his bookstore, Turn the Page. Check out the website at www.innboonsboro.com to see the rooms, named after literary lovers. And, you have to read the story of the inn at http://wwww.innboonsboro.com/history.htm.
Nora Roberts’ website is www.noraroberts.com.
The Next Always by Nora Roberts. Berkley Books. ©2011. ISBN 9780425243213 (paperback), 341p.
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