The Next Always by Nora Roberts
Series: Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy, Book #1
Published: November 1st, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Trade
352 pages (paperback)
Genre: Adult contemporary romance
Acquired this book: At the library
Warning: may include spoilers
Synopsis: The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen…
Nora Roberts is one of my favorite authors, and I always adore her trilogies. I tend not to read reviews for books I'm about to read, but I was on GoodReads around the time I started this book and noticed all the negative reviews for it. I was shocked. I personally loved this book, but I will admit I can see why other people might not enjoy it.
I related to this book on so many levels. Clare owned a bookstore (which has always been a dream of mine), and she had three sons (I have two nephews, so I completely related to all the chaos, craziness, and hilarity from the little boys). Also, another secret dream of mine has always been to own an inn, so I loved all the talk about designing the inn. I especially loved the fact that the rooms were each named after a literary couple (like Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice) and each had their own unique theme. Brilliant. BUT...the kids and the inn make up the bulk of the book, and that seemed to be a good deal of the complaints from reviewers who didn't enjoy the book.
However, if you can put all that aside, this book was classic Nora Roberts - incredible writing, humour, romance, family ties, and the bonds of friendship. I loved the relationship between Clare and Beckett. It didn't happen instantly, which was nice because it felt more genuine that way, especially with Clare being a widow and a mother of three young kids. I loved the interactions between Beckett and Clare's sons. I ended up crying more than once, but spent a good deal of the time laughing.
I won't say too much so I don't spoil anything, but all the stuff with Sam - the guy who was set on having Clare - was intensely creepy, and was done perfectly. I also loved the supernatural element that was woven through with the ghost that ‘haunted’ the inn.
I just really loved this book. I can't wait for the next installment in the trilogy, The Last Boyfriend, due out in May.