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Friday, 6 January 2017

Review: Snow is Falling, Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is something of a legend in the publishing world. She has over 190 books to her name and many of them bestsellers.

Snow is Falling contains two stories: Gabriel's Angel and Blithe Images.

Gabriel's Angel: classic meet-cute. Gabriel, a tortured artist, is hiding in a cabin in the woods while he tries to rediscover his passion for painting, While driving back from town with supplies through heavy snow, he very nearly has an accident with another vehicle. Cursing when he realises he has to help the driver, he is in for a surprise. The driver of the other vehicle is a woman, Laura Malone, who also happens to be very heavily pregnant. Gabriel takes her back to the cabin to await rescue.

It's a classic romantic formula - they slowly fall in love, marry, and Gabriel vows to raise the baby as his own. Laura is frightened that her former life will catch up with her and the baby will be taken away. Through Gabriel and his parents, however, she finds peace, security, and slowly but surely creates a space for herself.

Blithe Images: This one I had a little more trouble with, simply because of the male protagonist (more on that later). Hilary Baxter is a small town girl creating a storm as a successful model in New York. But when she meets Bret Bardoff, a magazine mogul with a vision for a winning spread, Hilary finds herself losing control of her heart (and seemingly mind, in places). Bret Bardoff is basically like a Christian Grey character, so I had little time for him. Turning up unexpectedly at Hilary's flat and other places she should feel safe; constantly teasing her and controlling her by turns; appearing at Hilary's family home telling her parents (not asking Hilary) that he's going to marry her; I couldn't warm to the story the same way I cosied up with Gabriel's Angel. I can't fault the writing, it's classic Nora Roberts style and it works. But definitely not my kind of 'romance'.

Review: According To Yes, Dawn French

Rosie Kitto, a former primary school teacher, packs up her life in England and starts a new adventure in Manhattan, secretly desperate to escape the sadness of her former life and to start fresh elsewhere. With her warm heart, creativity, and positive outlook on life, everyone loves Rosie.

Except for Glenn Wilder-Bingham, whom also happens to be Rosie's new employer. Determined to keep her twin grandsons shielded from their parents' messy divorce, she hires Rosie to take care of them and give them some stability.

The whole family, from the twins and their eighteen year old brother, to Glenn's husband, love Rosie. Glenn, meanwhile, feels like Rosie's arrival means she is slowly losing her iron grip on her small kingdom.

I loved the characters in this book, particularly Rosie and the twins. Their relationship is very sweet but not shallow - Rosie knows why she is there and is determined to love the twins fiercely and be a calm port in their storm.

However, where the characters are genuine and substantial, other parts of the novel don't feel quite as good. The dialogue and description sometimes felt a bit clunky down to technical issues, inserting commas where there should be full stops. It gave the effect of not being able to pause for breath. Certain events in the book (SPOILER ***********Rosie ends up sleeping with not just Glenn's husband but also with the twins' father AND the twins' older brother***************) and their consequences don't feel quite believable in how they are dealt with.

Overall, though, it was a nice read - very funny in places, heartwarming characters, and a nice happy ending.