Holding the Dream, by Nora Roberts (Templetons #2)

>> Friday, December 12, 2003

Holding the Dream, by Nora Roberts is the second in a trilogy about three friends, who all grew up in the Templeton house in Monterey, California. The first one, Daring To Dream, was the story about Josh, the Templeton's son, and Margo the housekeeper's daughter, who was brought up with the children of the house. This second one is about Kate, daughter of a cousin of the Templetons, who was adopted by them as a child when her parents died.

With Nora's trilogies, I usually like to read all 3 books in order, but this one's the exception. I didn't find the first book very rereadable, and I didn't much like the heroine in the third one, so I only read this one, which stands alone pretty well.

Raised together, Kate, Margo, and Laura are as close as real sisters, and when in need they return to Templeton House, their home and sanctuary. Kate finds herself running there when she is accused of embezzlement. That is not the only trial Kate faces; she suffers silently with a family secret she recently discovered. Practical to a fault, she intends to handle things her own way and in her own time, even if her stubbornness makes her ill. Hotelier Byron De Witt, however, has other ideas.
Holding the Dream is a really excellent book, an A-.

It's greatest strength is that, while the romance doesn't get short-changed at all, it's not the sole focus of the story. Kate has friends and a complete life outside Byron, and I liked that she incorporates him into her life, instead of him becoming her whole life, which is what happens in many romances, where the heroine is always completely alone in the world.

The romance was really good. Neither of them was looking for it and, in fact, they were both surprised to be falling for someone so very different from their usual type. Byron especially, and I really enjoyed seeing him fall so herd. The guy was wonderful, almost too good to be true.

Kate was a good character, too, with more flaws and problems. Actually, at first she got a bit on my nerves with her absolute refusal to take care of herself, but I kind of liked her even then. I understood her issues and identified with her to some extent. I really hated to see what happened to her when she got acused of embezzlement. It was heartbreaking, and I completely understood her reaction.

Another wonderful thing about this book was the portrayal of the friendship between Kate and Margo and Laura. I love those dynamics, and they rang very true.

The part about Seraphina's treasure, the overarching thread in the trilogy, is very low-key in this one. There's almost nothing about it here, and I liked it fine that way.


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