Readers, something you will quickly learn about me is that I love Nora Roberts. I'm kind of obsessed, actually, and have been since the day I was way too young to start reading her books, and picked up a copy of Montana Sky.
Montana Sky was released in 1996, when I was 11. I probably read it when I was around 13 or 14. I knew instantly I was hooked. My Aunt had a few of her books, so I read those when I would go to her house, I'd get them from the library, used book stores... pretty much anywhere I could find them! In a few short years, I had read her entire catalog of work, including her J.D. Robb In Death series.
I've had so many people ask me what it is about her books that I love so much, and it's hard for me to touch on. Is it because I started reading them at such an important age in my development? Is it because they contained such strong female characters that I felt I could look up to? Or is it because her books are about so much more than the romance to me? I think it is all of the above, and more.
For those of you that aren't familiar with Ms. Robert's books, they generally have an overall plot point, with a Female lead and a Male lead. Sometimes the POV begins with the female character, and sometimes it begins with the male character, but eventually they intersect and you are getting in the head of both.
Her female leads, especially as of late, are always very strong, self-sufficient women. The male characters are also strong, but usually somewhat sensitive. Even the hard asses have a sensitive side when it comes to the women they fall in love with.
And there are always great, amazing supporting characters, that are fully fleshed out in a way that many authors don't always do. She takes the time to really introduce you to that girls best friend, or that guys dad. She wants you to get to know the supporting characters, because it gives you another glimpse into the main characters.
What really got me hooked, though, is her trilogy/series novels. She usually does a series a year, wherein you follow the characters throughout three or four books. I always, always buy these on the day they come out, and have since Dance Upon the Air (the first book of the Three Sister Island trilogy) was released. After that book, I knew I was hooked- I got to follow the romance to another story? I got to learn more about the characters before they fell in love (if they were the focus of the second, third, or fourth story)? This was brilliant to me, for romance. I'm sure she wasn't the first author in the genre to do this, but she was definitely the first I read in her genre.
I also think she got me hooked on series books in general- I had never read them before! I always read stand-alones before.
After buying Dance Upon the Air, I started tracking down the others she had written before, like the MacGregor novels, and the Born In series.
After I got caught up to her most recent releases, I made the decision to start reading the In Death novels from the beginning, which are set in the future, and are such great stories. The main characters are Eve Dallas, a homicide cop in future NYC, and her husband, Roarke. They don't start out together in the first book, but are married relatively quickly in the series. The books center around Eve and her investigations into murders. Sometimes we know who the killer is from the get-go, and sometimes we don't know who it is until the last few pages. Sometimes I am able to guess who it is if it's not revealed, but I still always enjoy the process of getting to it- I'm never upset when I guess, because I want to know why this person.
I have been heartbroken by her stories, and generally cry at some point while reading them, whether it be that the love has begun to blossom and it is tender and sweet, or maybe there is a heartbreak along the way. Or, in the case of In Death, something very serious happens to a main character and I am far to attached to them for my own good. To me, anything that gets me to that point is worth reading.
To those new to Nora, I always recommend first reading The Villa, which is a stand alone novel, and probably my absolute favorite stand-alone novel of hers. It has everything I love about her novels- strong female characters, great supporting male characters, and probably the most fleshed out supporting characters of any of her stand-alone novels.
As far as trilogy/series books go, it is a little harder for me, as I love them all. Obviously I recommend starting at Book 1 of a series. I guess if I had to choose one to really get you in to the series, I would probably recommend the first I read, which is the Three Sister's Island Trilogy. She also does some paranormal stuff, and if that's more your speed, I recommend starting with The Key trilogy.
If futuristic mystery/romance is more your speed, I recommend In Death, and I recommend you begin with the first novel in the series, Naked in Death. There are currently 36 books in the In Death series as of this blog, and the 37th will be released September 10th, 2013.
If you are a really big fan (like me), she even owns an Inn, Inn Boonsboro, that she opened in Maryland. It has several rooms inspired by great literary lovers, including an Eve/Roarke room!
I haven't been fortunate enough yet to be in a place where I can go see this Inn and stay in a room, but maybe one day!
Nora Robert's is extremely prolific, and her bibliography
will definitely keep you in books for awhile, should you choose to
start reading her entire catalog. I highly recommend if you are a fan of
romance, you check her out!
FTC: I am not in any way affiliated with Nora Roberts, I am just a huge fan of her work.