"The Last Boyfriend," Nora Roberts

Pros: The ghost, setting, and collection of characters are fun
Cons: There’s little tension or dynamism
Rating: 2 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

The Montgomery family draws closer and closer to the opening day of their new romance-themed inn. As they do, Owen, the just-so organizer and planner of the family, finds himself spending more and more time with firecracker restaurant-owner Avery. The two of them have been friends since childhood, but maybe it’s time to take things to the next level…


 

While I enjoyed the first book in the Inn Boonsboro trilogy, Nora Roberts’s The Next Always, it didn’t knock my socks off. If you really want a peek into the real-life inn Roberts has built around famous romantic couples, it’s a very nice look inside the process of creating such a thing. However, it mostly boiled down to a “just nice” romance, a tacked-on bit of suspense for tension’s sake, and an interior decorator’s wet dream of discussing how to decorate and design the inn.

In The Last Boyfriend we don’t even get that much. The romance has some energy to it, but it’s utterly predictable—there’s so little question as to how it’ll turn out that when Owen has his pivotal realization moment, his own brother pretty much yawns at him.

Other than that, there’s a small amount of exploration into the background and temperament of the ghost, but the meat of the story, even more than last time, is… interior decorating. I mean sure, it can be interesting to hear about finding just the right table or lamp for a room if you’re into that and looking for it, but somehow it isn’t what I’ve come to expect from a Nora Roberts romance. I’m starting to get the feeling that Ms. Roberts’s publisher said to her, “you should write a trilogy based on the inn! Your fans will really want to hear about it!” and Roberts agreed, yet never quite figured out where to take it.

Roberts’s signature quirky personalities and quotable lines help, as do her sweet romance scenes, but there’s too much for them to make up for in this one. This volume is also overly talky. Overall I really enjoy Roberts’s books, but this one doesn’t make the grade.

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