I did not read exclusively mysteries or thrillers during my Great Summer Fiction Read of 2010 (although I know it is starting to sound that way). I also read a romance by Nora Roberts titled Vision in White. After finishing it, I have just the one questions about Nora Roberts:
What's all the hubbub, bub?
I chose to read a Nora Roberts because the woman is a publishing behemoth. For all intents and purposes, she is to romance what James Patterson is to thrillers. It's stated at Wikipediathat she's published more than 165 novels*, and she sold more than 12 million books in 2005 alone. I've been meaning to read her for years, figuring you can't say you've read any romance until you've read one of hers. Plus, I'd always heard that she was quite a good writer.
I didn't see it. I mean, the book was okay, but I can't say I even really enjoyed it the way I've enjoyed many other romances over the years (particularly the spicier titles by Lori Foster and Erin McCarthy, or historical romances set in the Regency period). In this novel, Roberts is clearly opening what is going to be a series of four books about four women friends who work together in their own wedding planning firm. This title focuses on Mackensie "Mac" Elliot, a professional photographer who has some trust issues, mainly as a result of her mother Linda's often-married-and-divorced lifestyle (and her continuing habit of contacting Mac only when she needs help or more money). So when Mac meets Carter Maguire, a local teacher who had a crush on her way back when, she has to work through those issues, even though Carter's pretty much perfect for her (and everyone can see it except Mac).
Ho-hum. Like I said, it's all right, but the prose struck me as workmanlike (and not in a good way--in a "I need to turn out three more of these titles this year yet, can't be bothered to fuss with graceful sentences" way) and the characters are dull, dull, dull. There's a few steamy scenes, but again, they're not so much titillating as they are fill-in-the-blank. I know. Once you write 165+ of these things, how creative can you be? But still:
"Mac crouched to aim up as the bride and her father stood at the top of the stairs, holding hands. As the bride's music swelled, he lifted his daughter's hand to his lips, then to his cheek.
Even as she took the shot, Mac's eyes stung.
Where was her own father? she wondered. Jamaica? Switzerland? Cairo?
She pushed the thought and the ache that came with it aside, and did her job.
Using Emma's candlelight, she captured joy and tears. The memories. And stayed invisible and separate." (pp. 18-19.)
Yeah, I'm sticking with "ho-hum." Anyone a big Nora Roberts fan? Is her earlier stuff better? Her historical stuff? Please enlighten me as to why this woman is making money hand over fist for what seems to me a perfect example of "Madlibs Romance"--formula at its least inventive, just plugging in the different names.
*I know I shouldn't be using Wikipedia as a reference source. But I was originally just going to state Roberts's sales as being in the "a lot a lot" category, so I wasn't really gunning for complete and total accuracy.