Friday, November 1, 2013

The Next Always by Nora Roberts

Title: The Next Always 
Author: Nora Roberts
My Rating: B 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy #1
Main Characters: Clare and Beckett
Release Date: November 2011
Publisher: Berkley
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
The historic hotel in Boonsboro 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. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his 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.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour - one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new - and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next . . .

My Review:
I bought these books when they first came out and put them in my TBR pile. Then earlier this year, I planned a trip to the Boonsboro Inn with a group of my reader Chicks, so I've been saving them. This weekend I am in MD at the Inn, so I thought it was appropriate to post my reviews over the weekend I am gone.

The great thing about the series is that it's truly centered around the Inn. The premise is that three brothers and their mother are remodeling this 250 year old Inn and bringing it back to its former glory. This first book is about Beckett, the architect of the brothers and Clare, the owner of the bookstore across the street. You have to love that combination, although I will admit, the beginning of the story was a bit sluggish because it got too bogged down in the details of the Inn. While I found it fascinating and it will be interesting to see how much of it looks the same as it did in my mind reading it, I just wanted to get on with the story at the beginning.

But eventually the book does settle into a rhythm and the romance between Beckett and Clare. Beckett has been in love with Clare since he was 15 yo, but there was never anyone for her besides her husband, who died as a soldier when she was pregnant with boy #3. She moved back home and bought the bookstore and is struggling to run a business and raise her three active sons. Beckett has never let her know his true feelings for her. In fact, he's pretty much pushed them aside in his own mind too putting himself firmly in the friend zone. 

I liked that this was a friends to lovers story. I love those and this one works for me in that regard, too. But I have to say some of my favorite scenes are between Beckett and the boys. He handles them so perfectly. I like that he instantly fits into their little family. In fact, I like the whole set-up. The family of brothers working on the Inn, the town of Boonsboro and all the surrounding businesses watching the renovation of the Inn. It's a great set-up for a series and I'm looking forward to the next two AND getting to visit the Inn in person...that, I think, will be the best part. On to book #2.... 

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