Three Fates, by Nora Roberts

>> Thursday, May 05, 2005

Three Fates, is probably the only Nora Roberts book released in the past few years that I hadn't read. If I'm not mistaken, it and Midnight Bayou came out right after a string of ho-hum romantic suspense, culminating in The Villa, so at the time I'd decided to give up on Nora's single titles and just read her trilogies and her J.D. Robb books.

I've since gone back to her single titles and I really adore what she's writing now (Northern Lights, Birthright), and I've read some of what I'd skipped, like Midnight Bayou, and it was great. So I decided to get Three Fates, too, hoping I'd been wrong about skipping it, too.

When the Lusitania sank, more than one thousand people died. One passenger, however, survived to become a changed man, giving up his life as a petty thief but keeping a small silver statue that would become a family heirloom to future generations.

Now, nearly a century later, that heirloom, one of a priceless, long-separated set of three, has been snatched away from the Sullivans. And Malachi, Gideon, and Rebecca Sullivan are determined to recover their great-great- grandfather's treasure, reunite the Three Fates, and make their fortune.

The quest will take them from their home in Ireland to Helsinki, Prague, and New York and introduce them to a formidable female professor whose knowledge of Greek mythology will aid them in their quest; to a daring exotic dancer who sees the Fates as her chance at a new life; and to a seductive security expert who knows how to play high- tech cat-and-mouse. And it will pit them in a suspenseful fight against an ambitious woman who will stop at nothing to acquire the Fates.
The romances weren't as compelling as they could have been, and I had some problems with the villain, but all in all, Three Fates was a good, absorbing read. A B.

Like Montana Sky, this was basically a 3-in-1 deal, three couples, all getting equal space and interacting together. I have no problem with this per se, and it makes for a quick, entertaining read, with barely a slow moment.

Still, I did feel that none of the romances were as developed as I know Nora can make them, and while I liked all three couples, I didn't find them equally interesting, so I sometimes wasn't too happy when the focus changed. In particular, I wasn't particularly engaged by the Rebecca / Jack romance, especially because I never got a very clear feeling of who Rebecca was, and Jack felt a little derivative.

Malachi and Tia were sweet, and initially, there was great conflict there. I loved how Tia seemed to have hardened herself against him, but then I thought she lowered every defence a bit too quickly. Their storyline lost a lot of its sense of excitement in the middle section of the book, but did recoup some of it near the end.

Gideon and Cleo were my favourite couple, though I did feel there was a bit in the middle where their romance was somewhat neglected. Still, I loved seeing the adventurous, pragmatic Cleo with the serious-minded Gideon.

Where the book was best was, like with many other books by this author, in showing these six people interacting. They started out with only the three Sullivans trusting each other, but by the end of the book, they'd all become a family together.

The whole adventure of their search for all three Fates was a lot of fun. I loved the way they plotted and planned and worked to outwit Anita, and it was a great plan. The only thing I wasn't too crazy about was the fact that I just didn't completely buy Anita's motivation. There's really no reason for her to run the risks she did other than she was a sociopath and had become obsessed with getting these statues. I don't know, I guess making the villain do the bad stuff because she's nuts feels like an easy way out to me, easier than making her sane and giving her a believable motivation.

Still, for all my problems with the book, it was one I had a lot of fun with. I think I'll be giving it to my mother next, it's just the type of book she enjoys.

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