Monday, August 23, 2010

Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts

If you've been following my blog, you already know that romance is not my genre. As part of my job at the public library, however, I need to be familiar with benchmark authors and Nora Roberts is certainly one of those. My mother is among the legions of Nora Roberts fans, so I asked her to recommend one to me. Mom did quite well in selecting a title that centers on gardening, since that is a subject I love. There's also a ghost, which adds a bit of interest to an otherwise straight-forward romance. I listened to an audiobook read by Susie Breck and appreciated her use of different voices so that I could keep track of internal and external dialogue.

Stella, a widow in her mid-30s with two young boys, meets Logan, a divorced landscaper. Stella has moved to Tennessee and taken a job as manager of a nursery where Logan works. Stella's blue eyes and Logan's large, calloused hands are mentioned often. I learned that long hair is sexy - hers: red and wild; his: dark and tousled. One sure thing in the romance genre is that the couple introduced at the beginning end up together in a happy ending. A ghost tries, but fails, to intervene. The paranormal part of the novel was strangely ordinary. I'm used to more psychological suspense in a story with a ghost, but there was very little of that in Blue Dahlia. Southerners apparently take ghosts in stride.

'Workmanlike' is the best description I can come up with for Roberts' writing style. Cliched similes (her body "revved like a well-oiled machine" when held against his "muscles like warm iron") were few enough that they didn't grate on me. I did get a little tired of all the gardening metaphors. The book was okay, all 11 hours of it. (I'm now walking to and from work, so audiobooks have replaced reading on transit bus commutes.) No Nora Roberts ever again, however. Does anyone have a sure-fire romance recommendation for someone who hates romance?

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