Born in Ice, by Nora Roberts

>> Tuesday, February 11, 2003

This weekend I also reread Born in Ice, by Nora Roberts. This is book #2 in Roberts' Irish Trilogy, right after Born in Fire.

Brianna Concannon is a woman with a rare gift for creating a home, and she makes use of this talent by running a bed-and-breakfast in a picturesque corner of Ireland. Mystery writer Grayson Thane is an American who grew up in an orphanage and has spent his life alone. A restless wanderer with a painful past, Grayson arrives at Blackthorn Cottage intent only on soaking up the Irish atmosphere and writing his next novel, but he finds far more than he bargained for.

The beautiful, calm Brianna soothes his disquiet soul, and in her Grayson finds the home he hadn't realized he needed. Brianna knows that by falling for him, she risks her heart, already bruised and scarred by a young love who left her at the altar. But the yearning to let the American melt the ice around her cold exterior is irresistible. Unless Grayson can let go of his past to forge a future with her, Brianna may have gambled her heart in vain.

I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't as good as Born in Fire. My basic problem was Brianna. I almost feel guilty about this, but she just irritated the hell out of me. Saint Brianna, the passive - aggressive martyr, who feels guilty about doing anything enjoyable, who is her mother's doormat, who actually likes doing housework (yuck!). Ok, that last isn't irritating in itself, but on top of everything else... Plus, she's the type who'll refuse to use a dishwasher and prefer to clean the floor on her knees, even if a dishwasher will leave the dishes perfect and using a mop will work just as well as scrubbing with her bare hands. Just loves being a martyr. The worst thing is, I found her boring, and I've no idea what Gray saw in her, except some sort of mother figure.

Gray I did like. He's the kind of hero I love... easygoing and kind, and still very, very sexy. Remarkably untortured, after a bad childhood, though he does have some issues, like his committment-phobia. I actually saw a lot of myself in Gray, like his reluctance to assume the responsability of owning and then having to care for stuff, like a car, or a home. I'd like to live his life, travelling light, from one place to another, at least for a while, anyway.

As an aside, something that has nothing to do with my liking Gray but that I found interesting: I think I'd hate his books. All that emphasis on the bloody, gory murders and the mind of the psychotic killer. No way. I have read a couple of books like that, where the author almost revels in describing the violence, and I just found it sickening.

Born in Ice has a slow pace, but never gets bogged down. Stuff happens, important stuff, but it just doesn't speed upt the action. They go to New York and buy trinkets, they go to a wedding in Dublin (I LOLed when Gray and Rogan wake up with the hangover from hell and 80 year old Uncle Niall is "fit as a fiddle"), Brianna fights with Maeve (I still hate the bitch), they discover they have a brother or sister... Lots of other things too, but it's all relaxing and soothing. This was the perfect book to read sitting in my porch in La Floresta, listening to the birds chiping.

In spite of my dislike of Brianna, I really liked it, so I rate it a B+

PS - There were some details which irritated me. I may be wrong, but I don't think an Irishwoman would say "soccer", and I don't think a 10 year old Irish boy would be an American football fan and have a beloved football he carries around cradled in his arms. Or rather, I'm sure there are some such boys, but if Roberts wanted a typical boy, she should have had him kicking a football of the rounded kind. And wasn't the president of Ireland a woman, around the time when this was written? Mary Robinson?

Update:I'm such a nerd that I had to check. Yes, Mary Robinson was president of the Republic of Ireland from 1990 to 1997 (Born in Ice has a 1995 copyright). Interestingly, the current president, who came right after Ms. Robinson, is also a woman: Mary McAleese.

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