Author: Nora Roberts
Publication Date: 2/1/99
Brooding loner Preston McQuinn's new apartment, like his life, was just the way he wanted it -- dark and empty. But when sunny Cybil Campbell came barging into his well-ordered gloom, he couldn't deny a grudging fascination with his bright, bubbly neighbor. And then she tried to hire him -- as her date! Preston thought he'd closed the door on love for good, so why was he suddenly longing to open up his heart to his incredibly perfect neighbor?
I discovered Nora Roberts' books my freshman year in college. Rather, my college roommate forced them on me and I devoured almost her entire catalog and still continue to do so. To this day, we have really great conversations that go something like this:
F: Oh! She is a MacGregor. Her mom was the woman with the broken-down car that married...
M: The recluse cartoonist in Maine! Right! But what about that piano one?
F: The piano player with the red-headed Stanislaski daughter?
M: Oh right, that's Waiting for Nick. Weren't the across the hall neighbors as well? I think I want to read the second Dream Trilogy book. The one about Kate...
F:...how the hell do you remember their names? I always get Honest Illusions, Hidden Secrets, Private Scandals, and Sweet Revenge mixed up. There was one about a talk show, the jewelry heist, the magicians in New Orleans...oh! and the one where...
Anyway, my point is that Nora Roberts has a lot of die-hard fans, both of us included. We can have discussions for eons about all the plots and characters of her books but is that why any of us come back to them over and over? Well, kind of. But mostly it is because of the feeling they give you. If you are in the mood to read a HEA book, Nora is a great go-to. Once you read enough of them, the plotlines seem formulaic--even the murder mysteries--but I will keep coming back for more. They are somewhat like reading an ice cream sundae but they have more meat to them (in terms of witty dialogue, humor, and that NR can actually weave a good story). Now I am thinking about a meaty ice cream sundae. Gross. Talk about a mixed metaphor.
Cybil Campbell is the daughter of Genvieve Grandeau and Grant Campbell, the artist and cartoonist who fell in love in The MacGregors: Alan & Grant. They are related to the MacGregor clan indirectly through Grant's sister Shelby, who marries Alan MacGregor (the politician son of THE MacGregor) in the same book. Whew, what a mouthful. In typical MacGregor fashion, THE MacGregor has dropped Preston McQuinn, a Pulitzer winning playwright and author across the hall in the same apartment building. Enter the brooding-reserved-once-burned-by-a-woman-now-scared-of-commitment man vs. the bubbly-super-friendly-always-thinking-of-others-before-herself woman romance storyline. SPOILER ALERT! They fall in love.
It wasn't as great as I remembered it being but not too many books are as amazing one the second or third time through. (don't draw and quarter me! I know lots of classics are rereadable!) We just had a discussion at book club about books that are a different experience each time you reread them due to changed life circumstances for the reader. Maybe that's what happened to me here. The female in this story is 24, super successful, and completely self-sufficient. Maybe I just feel a little embarrassed to say that she seemed to have it more together than I do at the moment so yeah, I think that tainted my read a little bit. I need to find a Nora book that has someone just a bit older in it for my #2 pick. (which is pretty much all of them)
This was a great pick to start off my 'Nothing But Nora' week with Vinaya and Maureen. I think we should make this a yearly thing!