The Perfect Hope, by Nora Roberts

>> Tuesday, September 04, 2018

TITLE: The Perfect Hope
AUTHOR: Nora Roberts

PAGES: 336

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: #3 in the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts introduces you to the Montgomery brothers—Beckett, Ryder, and Owen—as they bring an intimate bed-and-breakfast to life in their hometown.

Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out—with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except apparently Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro…

As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be—except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.

While the Inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome—and embarrassing—appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him...
This is the last in Roberts' Inn BoonsBoro trilogy, her most house-and-DIY-pornish series in an oeuvre that has had a fair bit of house-and-DIY-porn. It revolves around three brothers who are renovating an old run-down inn and turning it into a B&B. In addition to the overarching plot about getting the B&B ready to open, there's a plot about a ghost that has been building since book 1.

As in classic Roberts trilogies, all 6 main characters are in place from the first book, with the focus switching to each couple in each of the books, but with the relationship between the remaining uncoupled people developing in the background. In The Perfect Hope, the focus is on Hope Beaumont, who has moved to Boonsboro from the big city and taken a job as the inn's manager, and her relationship with the remaining brother, Ryder Montgomery. I tend to think of Nora Roberts heroes as types, and Ryder was definitely one of those. File him in the "infuriating and prickly, yet sensitive when he needs to be" box.

The romance was a bit meh. It was fun to see prickly Ryder fall for Hope, but there wasn't anything too exciting about it. Nice, but nothing special. Mostly, the bulk of the narrative seemed taken up with routine. Yes, the work of getting the B&B finally ready to open, but also the day-to-day. There is a hell of a lot of the day-to-day, and let me tell you, these people have all got so much stuff on their plate that it was somewhat exhausting. The ghost plot is resolved, but that's not terribly exciting either.

What I did really like was the platonic relationships between the characters. The dynamic between the brothers was fun, but particularly the growing friendship between the women (even if they all do talk and talk and talk about stuff). And here's a small thing I really appreciated. Avery and Hope (heroine of book 2) are talking about the former's wedding preparations, and Avery says that she's seen a dress that she thinks is right online. Hope's first instinct is to say "you can't shop for a wedding dress online!", and I groaned because I was sure this was going to lead to Hope and Clare (heroine of book 1) convincing Avery that she needed a girly shopping trip, because a wedding dress is such an immensely important thing, and then Avery realising that they were right all along. But no. Immediately after her knee-jerk reaction, Hope realises that Avery is not her, and that for Avery, buying the dress online and not particularly worrying about it is just right. And it is. Little detail, but I liked it :)



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