Hidden Riches, by Nora Roberts

>> Friday, March 07, 2003

I reread one of my favourite Nora Roberts: Hidden Riches. A grade of B+.

At an auction in Virginia, antiques dealer Dora Conroy purchases a mismatched box of porcelain figurines and an abstract painting on a whim. Across the country, a man opens his expected shipment to discover the items he received are not the ones he arranged to have shipped. A search begins immediately for the lost shipment; it's a search that brings a murderer closer and closer to Dora Conroy. With the help of her tenant, ex-cop Jed Skimmerhorn, Dora unravels the nature of the violence that has trailed the auction items. As that same violence begins to swirl around Dora, she and Jed are drawn together in a relationship complicated by Jed's past and his undecided future.
I don't get why it's a risk for a romance author to have a strong, sself-assured heroine instead of a naive, virginal one, with an inferiority complex. Nora Roberts' often are of the first variety, and she doesn't do to shabbily in sales. Dora here wasn't an exception, and I thought she was great. The way she teased Jed, especially in the beginning, when they'd just met, that was so much fun. Lots of banter, and she simply refused to be intimidated by his sour moods. Jed I liked too. Even in his worst moods, his sense of humour shone through.

I thought Nora did a great job with the supporting cast. I felt like I knew them all, especially Dora's family (I adored her dad).

My main problem with this book was the sheer amount of space devoted to the villains and their activities. As I think I've said before, I dislike those eeevil, slightly insane villains, and have zero interest in getting to know them well. Every time we went with Finley or Di Carlo, I wished I was back with Dora and Jed. Plus, the suspense subplot pretty much overwhelmed everything else in the last part of the book, which I didn't much like.

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