Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Waiting for Nick by Nora Roberts

Waiting for Nick (1997)
Nora Roberts
Grade: A
Genre: 'contemporary' romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Stanislaski series: (1) Taming Natasha, (3) Falling for Rachel, (4) Convincing Alex

I have been waiting for Freddie and Nick’s book since Falling for Rachel when Nick was first introduced and the pair met for the first time. At thirteen, with her first glance at the rugged, nineteen-year-old bad-boy, Freddie tumbled headlong into puppy love that has only developed into the real thing over the years. Fresh into New York to start a new life for herself, Freddie is determined to partner with Nick and slot herself into his life until he asks himself why she wasn’t there all along. All the Stanislaskis know that Freddie is in love with Nick as well as she knows it herself; now it’s just time for Nick to realise the same …

A successful Broadway composer at thirty, Nick already has one Tony nomination under his belt; now he’s gunning for the real thing. Freddie knows that he needs a lyricist for the upcoming First, Last and Always and as the daughter of world famous classical composer Spencer Kimball and the person who knows Nick’s music best besides the man himself, Freddie knows that she is the right person for the job; she only has to convince Nick of the same. Nick might not like these new feelings that the grown-up Freddie is arousing in him, but he can’t deny that she’s good at what she does. Before long, they’re working together in Nick’s apartment above his brother Zack’s bar Lower the Boom, huddled around his old piano for hours on end, and Nick suddenly can’t get the smell of Freddie’s perfume, her body, those wide grey eyes and her sproingy curls out of his mind or dreams …

There’s no turning back once Freddie makes her way into Nick’s bed and however good they are together, Nick can’t shake the knowledge that he’s not good enough for her. Freddie has lived a life of privilege in her rambling family home in West Virginia, with her father and stepmother Natasha giving her and her two half-siblings everything they could ever need. Nick, on the other hand, doesn’t know his real dad and until his mum married Zack’s dad, never had much stability in his life. His mum’s death and Zack’s departure for the navy as soon as he reached legal age left Nick further alone and he joined the local Cobra gang in rebellion. It was only when he landed himself in court where Rachel and Zack’s appointment as his co-guardians forced him to pull his life back together. However much Nick has changed since then, he’s convinced that ‘once a Cobra, always a Cobra’ and that Freddie can do much, much better than him … Can love conquer all?

I love, love, love this book. I’ve wanted to read Freddie and Nick’s romance for what seems like forever, and to finally do so is the climax I’ve been waiting for. It’s everything I thought it would be and more because you’ve got the additional bonus of being able to revisit all the other Stanislaski family members now that they’ve had time to grow older and have kids. Hits all the right notes.

Freddie is one determined NR heroine. As a general rule, NR heroines know what they want. All that I can think of are already established in their careers before they’ve met the hero and while their lives might not be mapped out as meticulously as Freddie’s is, they know their general direction in life. At least, until the hero appears and makes them realise what they’ve been missing. Where Freddie stands out from other NR heroines is that she knows the man she wants and exactly how to get him and this is why I love the rare NR books where the hero and heroine have known each other for years (i.e. as kids in Honest Illusions or from an earlier relationship in Birthright; meeting in book one of a series doesn’t really count e.g. Happy Ever After). Where these books are part of a series, the characters are already established in their own right this bond only deepens as they’re allowed to flourish in a book of their own. It’s inevitable that they’re going to fall in love and end up together and while predictable (this is romance, after all) it’s all about how they get there and the boulders that fate is going to throw in their way to try and delay them.

Probably the thing that I love the most about my anticipation for Nick and Freddie’s relationship is how Nick would react to this girl he had known for over ten years now that she’s become a woman. He’s uncomfortable with that knowledge from chapter one and it really makes me squeal knowing that there’s a part of his brain that’s trying to remind him that Freddie should be like a sister to him and that he shouldn’t be feeling this lust and attraction that he does! His denial is brilliantly written and I’m a sadist for enjoying watching him squirm, but these types of books occupy a special place in my heart. Freddie, for her part, has no qualms about kissing Nick (after all, her plan is to marry him) and just generally being a seductive temptress to scramble his brain and stir his blood. It’s a treat to watch.

Another element of my sadism is watching how all the other characters react to and work around their fledgling relationship. Some have known of Freddie’s crush since she was a teenager and it’s more of a shock to others, but they accept and support it with an open heart and mind. Plus, it’s just fun to watch Spence (Freddie’s dad) and others torture Nick subtly while he’s still oblivious to the direction that Freddie has mapped out for him. I love this exchange:

Spence: You know, boys are already coming by the house, flirting with Katie
Nick: No way. No way. If I had a daughter, no way I’d let that happen
Spence: Reality’s tough. You know, Nick, it certainly eases my mind to know that you’re around to look after Freddie. I’d worry more if I didn’t have someone I trusted keeping an eye out
Nick: Yeah. Right. Listen, I’d better take over at the bar for a while. [Nick exits]
Natasha: You shouldn’t tease him
Spence: It’s my job, as a father, to make his life a living hell. And just think, with the practice I have, how good I’ll be at it when it’s Katie’s turn
Natasha: I shudder to think.

I love that Nick is a pianist and composer. I did piano for about four years and made it to Grade Four, and while I loved it, it wasn’t something that came naturally to me. I had to work hard at it and it was obvious when I did and obvious when I didn’t. I miss it now and could probably stumble my way through a piece if I set my mind to it, but I really envy those people that have a natural affinity for music, just like I envy those who are naturally good at singing, dance, languages, sport etc … Anyway, I love that Nick and Freddie share this mutual love for music. NR writes lyrics well and they add an extra dimension that adds life and definition to the story as well as speaking volumes about the nature of Nick and Freddie’s own relationship.

The Stanislaski reunion was beautiful to watch, just as always. It was to honour Nadia and Yuri’s wedding anniversary and while there could certainly have been more focus on the wider family as a whole, I think that because Freddie and Nick are such integrated parts of the family in their own right already, it probably wasn’t necessary. It would have been nice, but I lived. Instead, we had another that was just as good: that of the O’Hurley family. They’ve got their own four-book series but I’ve never known anything about them until now. Like the Stanislaskis and every other NR family, there’s an unshakeable bond and love between them and it’s wonderful to see them interact. This will be the next series that I start once I finish the others that I’ve half-started.

This is mostly likely my favourite Stanislaski book. I know a great deal of my reaction and love for it has been as a result of the gradual build-up of anticipation for the inevitable, but that's okay because it's lived up and doesn't disappoint. I'm just excited to see how their life will look when I return for Considering Kate. Don't miss this book; a truly glorious NR gem.

Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction

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