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GUEST REVIEW: Holding the Dream by Nora Roberts

The following guest review/letter comes from author Jenyfer Matthews whose latest release, One Crazy Summer, is available in ebook form.

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40119.jpgThe nicest thing my ex-SIL ever did was introduce me to Nora Roberts books. She gave me a box of her castoffs with the warning that they were formulaic but fun. Included in the box was Holding the Dream, the second of the "Dream" trilogy, published in 1997.

If they are formulaic, it’s a formula that works. The Dream trilogy is the story of Margo, Kate and Laura – three women bound not by blood but by upbringing, friendship, and love. Each of them had achieved the dreams of their youths, only to find their present world rocked by scandals. Now each of them has to find a way to survive, a new path, and in the process a new dream.

From the back cover:

Surrounded by the sweeping cliffs and beauty of Big Sur, Kate Powell treasured her life at Templeton House-and the family who raised her like one of their own. Although Kate lacked Margo’s beauty and Laura’s elegance, she knew she had something they would never possess – a shrewd head for business. Driven by ambition, Kate measured her life’s success with each soaring promotion. But now faced with professional impropriety, Kate is forced to look deep within herself – only to find something missing in her life-and in her heart.

Perhaps because I read the second book in this series first it has always been my favorite. Or maybe it’s because Kate is no typical romance heroine. She’s hard-working and driven and seems like someone you might meet the next time you need your taxes done.

Nora Roberts paints vivid pictures of her characters, but not by simply telling us how they look. Instead we get to see them through the eyes of other characters. In Holding the Dream, the hero Byron isn’t bowled over by Kate at first sight, but he is intrigued:

"I assumed you were cold, prim, rude, annoying, and self-involved. I’m not ordinarily that far wrong with people."

She jerked the ribbon into a knot, snipped off the ends. "You’re not this time, either. Except for the prim."

"No, the rude and annoying probably stick, but I’ve been reevaluating the rest."

And later:

She was flushed and rumpled. Her short hair stood in spikes, those long, slim legs pale gold beneath the hem of his shirt. She had no figure to speak of, was more bone than curve. The little mascara she’d bothered with was smudged under her eyes. Her nose was crooked. Had he noticed that before? The nose was slightly off center, and her mouth was certainly too wide for that narrow face.

"You’re not beautiful," he said in a quiet statement that made her brow knit. "Why do you look beautiful when you’re not?"

"How much of that wine did you drink, De Witt?"

"Your face is wrong." As if to prove it to himself, he came around the counter for a closer look. "It’s like whoever put it together used a couple of spare parts from someone else’s."

"This is all very fascinating," she said impatiently, "But-"

"At first glance your body looks like it belongs to a teenage boy, all arms and legs."

"Thank you very much, Mr. Universe. Have you finished your unsolicited critique of my looks?"

"Almost." His lips curved a little as he skimmed a hand along her jaw. "I love the way you look. I can’t figure out why, but I love the way you look, the way you move." He slipped his arms around her, drew her in. "They way you smell."

"This is a novel way to seduce me."

It certainly seduced me. I not only found and devoured the remaining two books in this series but embarked on what has been a decade-long Nora Roberts addiction.

The story is pure Roberts with just the right blend of believable conflicts and obstacles to success – no willful misunderstandings or contrived plot twists in sight. Though there is an overall storyline that ties all three of these books together, each has a satisfying resolution of its own. Can anyone really find fault with Nora Roberts writing? If so, it’s not me. Nora Roberts has become the ideal to which I aspire in my own writing, particularly with regard to characterization. There is nothing cookie cutter about her characters – each is fully developed and rich and when I close the book on the last page, I typically feel as if I’ve said goodbye to good friends.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve carried this book across the world with me from my ex-SIL’s garage in North Carolina to Egypt. I never have been good at saying goodbye.

Jenyfer Matthews

This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.

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Do you have a favorite book? Would you like to share that with Dear Author? Send your review to jane at dearauthor.com. Every Monday we share books that we love to inspire more reading.

Guest Reviewer

14 Comments

  1. Carolyn Jean
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 08:31:31

    Thanks, Jenyfer,
    This is a really engaging review. I’ve only read JD Robb books, but I might be ready for a Nora…I might be ready for this one!

    ReplyReply

  2. MaryKate
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 09:12:36

    Jenyfer – This is my all time favorite Nora. I own two copies because I can’t bear not to have it in my possession. I simply adore Byron and Kate’s repartee.

    ReplyReply

  3. Gina
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 09:14:01

    “Hi, my name is Gina and I’m addicted to Nora Roberts Books…….”

    As a big Nora (JD) fangirl I totally agree with you. Single titles, triologies, series – I pre-order ever book and their arrivals trump anything in my TBR piles.

    Turn The Page Bookstore has a subscription service where your name can be automatically added to their pre-order list AND your books can be autographed before shipping (usually sent US Mail priority). For an autographed copy, I can wait a couple of days after a release date for a Nora Book.

    I think my favorite Nora triology is the Three Sisters Island Triology with the Irish Triology as a close second.

    ReplyReply

  4. Nora Roberts
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 09:48:36

    Thank you, Jenyfer!

    ReplyReply

  5. Meriam
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 10:43:02

    Ah, the Dream Trilogy. I read these *years* ago and I still remember Margo, Kate and Laura. I remember their looks (blond, brunette, blond), eye colour (Blue, brown, grey) and their men (Josh, Byron and Michael). God, I bet I can remember their eye colour too (grey, green, blue). Ha! The things that stick.

    I loved all three, but I think I preferred Finding the Dream. I thought Laura would be the most boring of the three, but she surprised me.

    ReplyReply

  6. azteclady
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 11:14:07

    I love this trilogy–have the hardback with all three.

    Then again, I love most of the Nora Roberts books I’ve read–and those I don’t love, I like a lot. Win-win ;)

    ReplyReply

  7. Jenyfer Matthews
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 11:28:53

    Finding the Dream was a close second for me – Laura and Michael (swoon!)

    ReplyReply

  8. Karen Erickson
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 13:08:09

    This is by far my favorite Nora Roberts series. I loved it, loved each couple though I think Kate is my favorite too. I have owned this series since it first released and yes, they’ve all three moved with me everywhere! I can’t part with them, I re-read them every couple of years.

    Great review!

    ReplyReply

  9. Jenyfer Matthews
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 03:02:43

    Thanks to Dear Author for having me and to Ms. Roberts, just for stopping by. You made my day!

    ReplyReply

  10. Melissa
    Jan 10, 2008 @ 14:44:47

    I’ve loved Nora for as long as I can remember…the woman writes relationships like no one else out there. My favorite, which is difficult to tag, has to be Montana Sky…the relationships between the sisters makes the story three dimensional, and more engrossing than any movie I’ve ever seen.

    ReplyReply

  11. rose
    Jan 12, 2008 @ 23:57:02

    I

    ReplyReply

  12. rose
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 16:30:11

    I have yet to read a Nora Roberts book I didn’t like. I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite, but in this trilogy, there is alwyas a fovourite, and Kate and Byron were it for me. I tend to reread a lot especially Nora, so they do tend to stick. The appeal as somebody said already is, you feel like you can step out of the door and see these people on the street, even in the circle trilogy, with it’s vampires. I swear I woke up in the middle of the night, and a vampire had just informed me that it was gonna suck on my little finger. This is one series I was conviced I would never reread again, but sure after a few months I did.
    Back to the dream trilogy, there was a little hicup in the story in the third book. When Byron is buying a horse from Michael, he tells him that maybe its not the right time to buy a horse, with the baby coming. later in the book when Michael is talking to Mrs. Williamson, and she is telling him about Kate having been sick, she tells Michael that Kate is pregnant, and Michael’s response is surprise, as though he has never heard this before. I was just curious, thinking that this is the kind of thing an editor should have caught. I mean It’s no big deal, but I also came across something similar in the Donavan series. I could never figure out the kids that Mel and Sebastian had.I think there was supposed to be twins in the Anastia book, but in the fourth book, there is a little boy, I think Aidan was his name, and Mel is pregnant, but there is no mention of the twins. I just wondered.
    Anyway, thank God there is a big body of work out there from you Nora, because I get withdrawal symptoms in between your new work, and I just have to go back and dip into the old stories.

    ReplyReply

  13. Guest Reviewer « Jenyfer Matthews
    May 25, 2008 @ 10:22:08

    [...] a guest review every Monday, allowing readers to share their favorite books with other. Today a review I wrote of Nora Roberts Holding the Dream is up. Stop by and check it [...]

  14. Jenyfer Matthews » Blog Archive » Guest Reviewer
    Jun 06, 2008 @ 05:32:19

    [...] a guest review every Monday, allowing readers to share their favorite books with other. Today a review I wrote of Nora Roberts Holding the Dream is up. Stop by and check it out. Share and Enjoy: These [...]

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