I’m in the Mood for Love…and Nora!

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We’re all readers here so I’m sure I’m not going to be alone when I confess to being slightly obsessed with a particular author. It happens to all of us!

I seem to have developed an insatiable appetite for books by Nora Roberts. Rarely a week goes by when I’m not reading one and usually more books by the master (I can’t call her the mistress!).

Obviously like most of us, I’ve read Nora’s books for many years. I think my introduction to her work was the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy. Isolde Martyn brought JEWELS OF THE SUN back from the 2000 RWA conference in Washington D.C. where she was the first Australian to win a RITA® Award for her wonderful historical THE MAIDEN AND THE UNICORN.

nora 5I think my favorite of those early reads was the Chesapeake Bay Quartet – amazing emotional punch in those stories and great romances. Stupidly I lent those to a friend and they never came back. Grrr.

I tried the J.D. Robb books – perhaps it was the mood I was in at the time, but while I enjoyed NAKED IN DEATH, I didn’t have a burning desire to read more in the series.

No, it seems I’m a classic Nora in her original incarnation girl.

Luckily she’s got a huge backlist! I’m in awe of her productivity and I have no idea how she manages to keep the quality up the way she does. Her books are never less than a good read and more often than not, they’re a fantastic read. Perhaps she has an army of little elves wearing Turn the Page Bookstore T-shirts in her basement!

nora 3I really feel that there’s nobody better for a certain style of emotional contemporary romance.The characters are real – you can imagine most of them living next door, even the witchy ones. The dilemmas they face are intriguing. The love scenes are lyrical and sexy. And she does setting brilliantly. You really feel that you’ve been to the wild Monterey Coast with the Donovans or County Mayo with the Cousins O’Dwyer or a rocky island off the Maine coast with the three wyrd sisters.

The more I read, the more I appreciate her work. In the last six months, I’ve read the Three Sisters Trilogy, the Donovan Legacy Quartet, the first two books in the Cousins O’Dwyer set, BLUE DAHLIA (and I’ve ordered the next two in that set!), WHISKEY BEACH, NORTHERN LIGHTS and THE WITNESS.

Nora 7Two particular faves are NORTHERN LIGHTS and THE WITNESS. Both feature really interesting central characters, burnt-out city detective Nate Burke who takes a posting as police chief in Lunacy, Alaska (NL) and Abigail Lowery, on the run from the Russian Mafia after she witnessed a murder as a teenager (TW).

Both are stand-alones and have a strong mystery/suspense plot. Both are longer than her series books that I’ve read. But my goodness, they’re fabulous stories. I couldn’t put down either when I started them. And given they’re both over 500 pages, that was a lot of hermit time! I wrote a detailed review of NORTHERN LIGHTS for our friends at the Romance Dish back in January: http://www.theromancedish.com/2014/01/mighty-lights.html

nora 8It suddenly struck me last week why I had such a reader crush on Nora at the moment – aside from the obvious quality of the books she writes. And what a lightbulb moment that was!

One of the things I loved about JEWELS OF THE SUN is that it’s about a woman who takes a chance and reaps the benefits. Frances Jude Murray leaves her dead-end job in America to live in her grandmother’s cottage in Ireland and to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. This single act of courage leads to a fulfilling new career and a lifelong love.

This theme of the main character seeking a new life and finding love and renewed purpose in his or her altered circumstances is central to so many of Nora’s books.

nora 6Right now I’m in the process of packing up the home my parents lived in for their last years. I’ve lived here for ten years since my mother passed away in 2006. It’s a lovely house but it’s never really been suitable for a groovy singleton (ahem!) and I’ve finally got up the oomph to tackle moving. So the next year or so is going to have a lot of changes for me too. Some large, some small. But all a little daunting in the still watches of the night!

Nora’s message of courage finding its own rewards and a new start offering a whole fresh look on life is just what I need at the moment.  Clearly I need it, given the number of her books I’m ordering from the Book Depository!

nora 4So are you glomming any particular author at the moment? Is it an old favorite or someone who’s a fairly new discovery? Is there a reason this particular author is striking a chord for you? And what books of Nora’s do you recommend I turn to after I finish the In the Garden trilogy?




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  • Deanna says:

    I’m not glomming any particular author at the moment, but I seem to have gotten my reading mojo back after a major slump last month. I’ve recently discovered Entangled Publishing and its imprints and have been loving the books that have come out. I’ve been glomming books out of the various Entangled imprints. Does that count as glomming?

    • Deanna, you’ve glommed the golden rooster as our first commenter of the day. I haven’t read anything from Entangled – I really need to get an e-reader! But yeah, I think that counts. I’ve heard recommendations for a lot of their books.

      • Deanna says:

        Oh, I didn’t even realised I got the rooster! Hooray! If you do get a chance, check out some titles from Entangled. They have recently been my go to romance publisher of choice. And yes, you really need to get an e-reader, or just a tablet with a few e-reader apps on it.

    • Deanna, congrats on snagging the Golden Rooster. I hope he behaves today!

  • Helen says:


    I have only read two of Nora Roberts’s books and I did enjoy them very much but her backlist is way too big for me to tackle when I have such a massive TBR pile already and I have just been at RWAust for a couple and days and yes I have more books to read 🙂

    And I am not glomming anyone at the moment I tend to read all over the place from one genre to another as long as it is romance 🙂

    Sounds like you have a lot of changes coming up my life is pretty normal although I would like one change being retirement then think of the time I would have to read

    Have Fun

    • Helen, I can guess how many books are on your TBR! Even more than on mine. So glad you had a lovely time at RWA! The photos online have been fun.

      Lots of changes coming up for me. A lot of them have been in the pipeline for a while – just needed the oomph to get started on them!

    • Helen, it’s a pretty intimidating backlist, I think. I totally get wanting to read in retirement. You might finally whittle down that TBR pile!

  • Amy Conley says:

    My most recent fav author is Cathy Maxwell. She was a new-to-me author until I read her fifst Sinclar novel. Then I went to a booksignjng and got to meet her. Acter that I went to Buns and Roses and got to sit at her table. The thing which really got to me was her speech.
    Her speech was so touching, I think most of those there were In tears, myself included. Her speech gave me an insight into her writing. Anyone who could show that typd of emotion while speaking was beyond sharing it inn the written word.

    • Becke says:

      I sat by Cathy at my first contest win. I wasn’t expecting to win and had taken off my shoes. They called my name and I couldn’t get my blasted shoes on. Cathy was very kind with her praise, amazingly funny, and very encouraging. That was a memorable night

    • Amy, Cathy’s wonderful, isn’t she? I’d met her a few times and she was one of the keynote speakers at the last Australian Romance Readers convention. She was a great hit Down Under!

  • SecretNinja says:

    I’m currently glomming on two authors – Penny Reid and Marie Harte. I’ve been a fan of Penny’s for a while but she’s got a new release coming out shortly and she keeps teasing us with these awesome graphics. I just love her and her Knitting in the City books! Penny’s pretty active on social media and she’s got a fan group that I’m in called the Sharks of Awesome. She interacts with us a lot there and she’s just incredibly awesome.

    And Marie’s a new author to me but she’s written this new series and I was lucky enough to win the first book and it was amazing! I can’t wait for the rest of the series to be released!! I really love books about families and this is about 4 brothers.

    The last series of books I’ve read by Nora (and I’ve read a ton of ’em!) were the Bride Quartet and the Inn Boonsboro series. I’d definitely recommend those. So good and I’m not ashamed to admit that they made me tear up! Also an older series, Dream Trilogy, was an amazing read!!

    • Ada, would you believe I’ve never heard of either of those authors? It’s so hard to keep up with all the good stuff these days – that’s why I love it when people recommend their faves to me. So glad you’ve got some go-to authors! I haven’t read either the Bride or the Inn at Boonsboro books and thanks for recommending the Dream trilogy. I’ve got a feeling I may have read one or two of those many, many years ago.

      Actually I just looked them up and I’ve got them mixed up with another series of hers where the heroines were involved in artistic careers. I’ve got a feeling one was a dancer. Thanks for the recommendation. They look great!

      • SecretNinja says:

        Glad I could introduce them to you! I’m happy to spread the word about wonderful authors and we readers are so lucky that there are so many of you out there. Mind you, with so many books, it does cut into my sleep time but we all have to sacrifice, eh? lol

        I actually thought I had read the Dream trilogy myself since it was older but my library had just recently purchased the re-issues and I was so drawn to the covers and I realized I hadn’t read them at either! I’m just tell you know, if you read the Dream trilogy, have a hanky ready because those books are deep! 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    Courtney Milan’s The Suffragette Scandal was delightful, with strange pieces of imagery–the impact of individual effort (thimble), and the impossible ways a man might demonstrate his wooing (see puppy cannon). Any how one blog mentioned she had gotten her rights to produce enhanced versions of her earlier books. These of course were only $2.99 for most or $.99 for others. Unclaimed has the most amazing premise: the hero is a virgin who’s written about chastity. A courtesan is hired to compromise him and humiliate him publicly. The “UN” series is about three brothers put through hell by their insane mother and how the survive as wounded adults. On of the other things I like is her use of punctuation as almost a character. There’s a fourth volume, a novella, but it reads much differently. The only connection to the other three is that two of the three brothers appear in the story.

    A note about enhanced content. It sounded so neat to have more about the book’s setting and the author’s intent. I tried in book one to click on the links. It dropped me out of the story and made me think about storytelling, symbols, and themes–not the story. So the second book, I read through avoiding the links, and then reading the additions at the end. Much more satisfying.

    The other author that I glommed on to is Anita Mills. She’s retired according to the internet. Amazon had one of her books for $2.99, the first in her Fire Series which is set just before and during the struggle between Stephen and Matilda for the control Normandy and the UK (Scotland and Wales as restless areas, England as settled). I loved her gritty, poor, politically unstable, religious, and brutal world. I suspect that some will take issue with her historical details and a good number will find her books trigger-y because the violence, much of it against women, although there’s a scene were the heroine uses a riding crop against the hero. (Well, against villains, too). The series follows various members of the family, all of whom are nobles with land in Normandy and England. The stories just rush by with all the plot elements of romantic conflict, secrets revealed, political realities, and the test of family ties.

    I’m so envious you got to hear Cathy Maxwell, she was to speak a book fair last year and couldn’t because of a death in her family.

    As for Nora, I have some of her books on CD. Since I’m headed for Maryland, I will be pulling out those CDs for the trip. If I can find them….

    • Wow, Shannon, those are some great recommendations. I quoted for Courtney’s first Harlequin book, the one about mediums, which was absolutely fantastic and I loved, loved, loved that novella you mentioned. I think it’s called This Wicked Gift. Wasn’t at all surprised that it was nominated for a RITA that year. I must check out her other stuff. She’s a really major talent. The Anita Mills books sound great too – it’s ages since I’ve read a medieval. My first historical romance was The Wolf and the Dove so you could say medievals started all the trouble for me! 🙂

  • Becke says:

    Congratulations on your move decision. Change is hard and I admire anyone who makes that initial step. Best of luck to you.

    Ah Nora! She is a master storyteller.

    I loved her heroine in The Witness. I listened to this on the way to Atlanta and didn’t want to turn off the car! The narrator was fabulous. Also, the hero, as I remember, was not the usual alpha male. Still, he fit the story perfectly.

    With the attention span of a two-year old, I rarely find an author that compels a binge. The last one who did that was Julie Kagawa’s Iron Series. This was my first journey into YA and fantasy.

    • Becke, wasn’t the Witness fabulous? I loved how she made that heroine so unusual and yet so likeable and believable. And the hero was just right for her – he had to be a bit pushy but anyone too pushy just wouldn’t have worked. Love how high the stakes are in that story too. So glad you’re another fan!

      I’ve kind of been hunkered down in the family home after losing my parents. Lots of emotional stuff to deal with, as you can imagine. I think a new start will be great now that I’m finally ready for one.

    • Becke, I enjoyed The Witness, too. I love the heroine’s geekiness, and I agree that the hero was more understated than some but fabulous nonetheless.

  • Patty L. says:

    I love Nora! She actually is the reason I became a huge romance fan. I also love, love, love Susan Elizabeth Philips.She developed my life for all sports romances and she is such a sweet and funny writer.

    • Patty, you’re talking a romance goddess with SEP. I’ve had a previous glom of her books and they’re also stories I re-read quite a lot and find new and wonderful things in them every time. She’s such a wonderful writer. Great choice!

  • Laine says:

    I’m like others in that it’s not an author I’m glomming. Audible recently made lots of old favorite titles available in Australia so I’m happily embroidering and knitting to classics like Nobody’s Baby But Mine and Bet Me. It’s like heaven to be able to craft and *read* at the same time.

    • Laine, a lot of my friends are heavily into audiobooks. I’ve never really gone away from the print page. I think it really depends on your lifestyle – for instance, my friends who drive a lot do a lot of audiobooks whereas I don’t drive. How wonderful that those great older books are now available – love both Nobody’s Baby but Mine and Bet Me. I think with great narrators, they’d really work – the dialogue is so fantastic in both of those.

  • catslady says:

    I actually just started reading Nora last year. The reason being, she has so many connected books and series. I started collecting them years ago (mostly used book stores). I have only read her stand alones so far because I am missing books here and there and totally afraid to start the in death series because there are so many! But I have enjoyed the ones I’ve read.

    I have two authors that I found about a year or so ago that I really connected with. The first was Kathryne Kennedy and she has a limited amount of books so I’ve read all but her last one. The other is Grace Burrowes and I have been buying them and lucky for me she has a nice back collection and is writing quite a few new ones too. In both cases I love the characters and the worlds they take me to. And neither have series that go on forever (thinking Outlander too right now lol).

    • Catslady, I know what you mean about series that go on forever. I like that Nora’s contemporary series seem to be trilogies and quartets. I can cope with that! 🙂 I never was much of a soap opera fan because I hated that the stories never came to a proper ending. I like completion! Thanks for the recommendation for Kathryne Kennedy – I haven’t read her. I’ve heard lots about Grace Burrowes – I must check out her books.

  • Sally Schmidt says:

    I guess right now I am glomming on several authors. I am attending Bouchercon 2014 in November and want to read something from all of the authors I am already familiar with – not sure I can complete this task but it’s fun. I just love to read, so I have favorites in all genres, mysteries, thrillers, cozies, romance. Nora is always one of my return-to authors. I love the trilogies. I get so wrapped up in the characters’ lives, and there is always a teary moment or two. The Cousins O’Dwyer series is at the top of my TBR stack. And I have been working my way through the In Death series forever. I read a few books, and then one more In Death. There is always suspense and surprise, but I also know what to expect and it feels good. Sometimes I think there is so much Nora out there I will never get through it, but then I realize that’s a good thing – always one more to look forward too. Elves in Turn the Page t-shirts – ha ha ha!
    Also working my way through the Outlander series. I loved the first book so much I just wanted to read it over and over, but now that there is a TV series I think I need to catch up. Another series where you just want to stay with the characters forever and ever.
    Good luck with the move. Change is hard and takes courage.

    • Thanks so much, Sally! This IS a big change and there have been a few emotional moments as I’ve cleared out years of family junk, as you can imagine. But on the upside, every bin of stuff that leaves the house makes me feel lighter, like I’m casting off stuff that’s hung around me weighing me down for years.

      So glad you’re another Nora fan. The more I read, the more I admire her! And as you say, it’s not like I”m going to run out of books of hers to read, is it? 🙂

      I haven’t read Outlander. I don’t like books set around the Bonnie Prince Charlie rebellion. Too sad.

  • I went to hear Nora’s chat at RWA in San Antonio. It wasn’t the first one I’ve attended, but every few years I need a good shot of “Nora” to keep my butt in the chair. At least this year I remembered to have my photo made with her. All of these years and I had never done so. My Mom got a real kick out of it and I am certain her copy of the photo will be circulated around her Little Old Lady Posse.

    My favorite Nora Roberts books are still the Chesapeake Bay series. I love the stories, of course, but my attachment may be that my Mom’s best friend, the lady who owned the restaurant where Mom worked and the Little Old Lady Posse gathered, gave the Chesapeake Bay series to me. She was a HUGE Nora fan and I was touched she wanted to share her books with me.

    Once I find an author I love I do tend to gather all of their books to read over and over again.

    I know how tough this move will be for you, but I so applaud your courage and the decision to make such a big change. Anything that makes your life easier means more books for us, right? 🙂

    • Louisa, what a lovely thought! Actually there are days when the writing is so unappealing, I’d RATHER be pulling down curtains and sorting through my parents’ tax returns! We all know what those days are like, don’t we ? 🙂

      What a lovely story about the Chesapeake Bay Quartet. I’ve got to say I think they’re exceptional in an exceptional output. I need to buy new copies – really cranky at that girl who borrowed them and claimed that she hadn’t. But what can you do? I can’t execute a search warrant on her house!

  • Susan Sey says:

    Hi, Anna!

    Nora Roberts has been my personal idol for more years than I care to admit. I’ve just finished re-reading her entire IN DEATH series, & stand in awe of both her productivity & her consistent quality. Plus I feel that the way she’s kept Eve & Roarke’s relationship front-and-center of that series is nothing less than groundbreaking. It’s some thirty-odd books long, & the relationship is always changing & evolving. It’s pretty amazing, especially when conventional wisdom has it that once a couple commits, the reader is no longer interested in their relationship.

    But just for the record, the Chesapeake quartet has always been my favorite. 🙂

    • Ooh, another Chesapeake fan, Susan? I really do need to buy new copies! It’s ages since I’ve read them (I’ve still got the last one – I bought it after that awful cow…um, dear friend who stole my books departed my life). Interesting about the In Death series. I actually think one of the problems was that everybody kept telling me they were the best books ever written – that’s very hard for a book to live up to. I should really give them another go.

  • Kim says:

    I still miss Nora Roberts’s shorter stories in the old Silhouette line. They were a good filler while I waited for her full-length books.

    Sherry Thomas and Julie James are two wonderful authors that I look forward to reading. As far as an author with a long backlist, have you tried Rachel Gibson, Lisa Kleypas or as someone suggested earlier, Susan Elizabeth Phillips? They have many good books.

    • Hi Kim! Actually I read an old Silhouette by Nora yesterday – the Pride of Jake MacKade which was just great. So much emotion and great characters. It was a public library clearout book that someone had given me and it was just the right length for the time I had to read it. Thanks for the recommendation of Sherry Thomas and Julie James. I read a Julie James last year about two lawyers that I really enjoyed. Yes, Lisa Kleypas and SEP and Rachel Gibson are all great. And they’ve got wonderful long backlists too!

  • Anna, you know I love Northern Lights! I’ve enjoyed some of Nora’s books more than others, tending to gravitate toward the single titles rather than those originally published in category. In general, I tend to like a more involved story.

    I adore The Chesapeake Quartet. Have it in print and ebook. I reread it every year. Ditto Northern Lights, though I confess to skipping the diary entries pretty much all the time now.

    My favorite Nora Roberts book is Chasing Fire. I hear some readers don’t like Rowan, the heroine, because she’s too strong. That’s what I like about her. She takes nothin’ off nobody, jumps out of airplanes to fight wildfires, and is a loyal friend. And she’s secretly scared of forming a serious attachment with a man other than her dad.

    I love the smokejumpers and their camaraderie (M.L. Buchmann has started a new series with smokejumpers, a spinoff of his Nightstalkers books, that I’ve enjoyed.), and Rowan and Gull make a fabulous couple.

    I’m pretty much current on all my favorite authors at the moment. When I discover someone new, I tend to go grab the entire backlist and burn through it before reading anything else.

    I loved The Witness, too, not least because the heroine is a geek, seriously into Star Trek. I also love The Search because the dogs are so wonderful, and the first meeting of the hero and heroine was, for me, bust-a-gut funny because of what the dog did in it and how the people reacted.

    • Nancy, I haven’t read either of those standalones you mentioned. I’ll have to check them out. I just ordered the “Born in” trilogy because when I went to the website, they looked pretty interesting. Like the idea of a glass blower heroine. It’s wonderful that there are so many Noras for me to read! And then I got a great deal of all three in a hardback book for not very much money from the Book Depository. That place really is reader’s catnip.

      • Anna, did you know there is a Quinns Christmas short in the freebie section of Nora’s website?

        I have the new J.D. Robb, Festive in Death, coming to review, and then I think I’ll try the flower-named books, which I haven’t yet. I like the book with the arson investigator, too.

        And I LOVE–how could I forget?!–the Sign of 7 trilogy. It has some horror elements in it, but it’s gripping, and I really thought the hero of book 3 was going to die, even thought the book was plainly labeled Romance.

        Oh, and the book about the comic book artist and the one about the woman who flips homes. and the archaeologist one.

        Yeah, I’m hopeless.

  • Kim Law says:

    Anna, I think we must be twins. I’m a huge Nora fan, and your two faves are also my two faves! My third is Chasing Fire, and then there was one where the heroine trained dogs. I think it was set out west too, but I can’t remember the title. It’s the characters of all these books that stick with me so much. Nora is truly a master!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Great tribute to Nora, Anna! I, too, am a huge fan, although her J.D. Robb stories are the must-buy ones for me.

    However, NORTHERN LIGHTS was the very first single-title of hers than I read and I was hooked. I was so amazed at the research that went into the setting.

    Sometimes I think we’re “ready” to read certain authors at certain times in our lives. I’d read Diana Gabaldon’s books, but stalled early on. Now, with the TV series, I’m re-reading them and finding I enjoy them so much more!

    • Jo, lovely to see another fan. I think most of us are, really. And I love that she’s still such a supporter of up and coming writers. She’s a class act.

      Northern Lights again, huh? That’s such a great story. And you could be right about needing certain authors at certain times. As I said, the new start working out thing is definitely the message I want at the moment!

  • Great blog! Nora Roberts has written so many brilliant books and I’ve read a lot of them but there are many I’ve missed that you’ve mentioned here.

    Thank you for that run-down. I will have to pick up some of those recommendations. Totally agree about THE WITNESS.

    As for glomming, I recently glommed on Jojo Moyes, as you know. It’s so wonderful when you discover a new author to love, (or rediscover an old one with a huge backlist!)

    • Christina, I hear you on discovering a great author with a huge backlist. As you know, I recently discovered M.C. Beaton/Marion Chesney’s Regencies. So far, I’ve read one series and loved it and I’ve got another series waiting until I can wallow in the stories. Hopefully once I get the book in at the end of next week. So glad you’re another Nora fan!

  • Thanks so much to everyone who swung by. Clearly your recommendations have struck a bell because I’m now awaiting five more Noras to hit me in the mail. What fun! See you next month on the 10th when I’m holding a launch party for WHAT A DUKE DARES!