Chesapeake Bay trilogy, by Nora Roberts, books # 1 & 3

>> Friday, February 18, 2005

I finally got a copy of Chesapeake Blue, the book Nora Roberts wrote some years later to add to her Chesapeake Bay trilogy, so I decided to reacquaint myself with the original trilogy, which I hadn't reread in some time. I read the first one, Sea Swept and then I realized I had lent the second one, Rising Tides to a friend. I did remember that one quite well, so I just skipped it and went on to read book 3, Inner Harbor.

Sea Swept:

A champion boat racer, Cameron Quinn traveled the world apending his winnings on champagne and women. But when his dying father called him home to care for Seth, a troubled young boy not unlike Cameron once was, his life changed overnight.

After years of independence, Cameron had to learn to live with his brothers again, while he struggled with cooking, cleaning and caring for a difficult boy. Old rivalries and new resentments flared between Cameron and his brothers, but they tried to put aside their differences for Seth's sake. In the end, a social worker would decide Seth's fate, and as tough as she was beautiful, she had the power to bring the Quinns together -or tear them apart.
Inner Harbor:

Phillip Quinn had done everything to make his life seem perfect. With his career on the fast track and a condo overlooking the Inner Harbor, his life on the street was firmly in the past. But one look at Seth and he's reminded of the boy he once was...

Phillip had intended to fulfill his father's dying request and considered Seth to be a duty. He never expected he would grow to love Seth, and soon his promise to his father became more than just obligation. Seth's future as a Quinn seems assured -until a stranger arrives in town. She claims to be researching St.Christopher's for her new book, but the true objects of study are the Quinns. Her cool reserve intrigues Phillip. He is determined to uncover her motives, but she is holding a secret that has the power to threaten the life the brothers have made for Seth. A secret that could tear the family apart... forever...
This one's probably Roberts' most consistently excellent trilogy. Both Sea Swept and Inner Harbor were amazing, each an A, and I remember Rising Tides as pretty excellent, too.

The romances in each book are wonderful. Each of the characters is different, but lovely in their own ways. Cam and Anna, from Sea Swept are earthier and lustier, while Phillip and Sybill are more sophisticated and elegant. I especially enjoyed Phillip, who coupled his cool, cosmopolitan, urban tastes with a side which was perfectly comfortable horsing around with his brothers.

But however much I adored the romances, the dynamics between the three older brothers and Seth were the best parts of the trilogy. These were the parts that put a lump in my throat, the parts that made this trilogy so much better than others. There's not a cloying, sentimental moment in the entire three books, and the emotion feels genuine.

The only... not negative, exactly, but not quite completely positive moment in the whole thing wasn't even something in the books. The fact that from what I've read about Chesapeake Bay I now know that Gloria wasn't completely beaten by the end of Inner Harbor, that she continued to make trouble for Seth for years, was something that took a bit from the wonderful ending of the third book.

Still, that's a small thing. The Chesapeake Bay trilogy is, to me, the one someone wanting to try Roberts for the first time should start with.

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