Monday, 2 February 2015

Song of the West by Nora Roberts

(omnibus cover)
Song of the West (1982) (Silhouette)
Nora Roberts
Grade: C+
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Romance RBC 2015: A book published in the 1980s 

When her pregnant twin sister Sabrina asks Samantha to move to Wyoming to help out for the duration of her risky pregnancy, Sam doesn’t hesitate to leave Philadelphia in the dust. A former Olympic gymnastics champion, Sam feels no strong ties to her job as a gymnastics teacher. Instead, she falls head-over-heels for Wyoming’s beautiful yet contrasting landscape, with its rolling hills and rugged mountains. She feels a similar magnetic pull to Jake Tanner, local rancher and major landowner, despite his overbearing and alpha-male possessive attitude. As Sabrina’s due date looms ever-nearer, so does the time Sam has to make the biggest decision of her life …

After reading a steady succession of young adult books since the new year, I really needed some Nora Roberts in the mix to break up the monotony. I didn’t quite realise how much I needed it until I turned the last page and realised I’d devoured the book in the space of a 90-minute commute.

This is one of Nora’s oldest titles (her third publication ever) and it really shows. Sam is talented and selfless and devoted to her younger sister of seven minutes, but positively skittish around Jake. Like many other Roberts’ heroes, Jake is a rich and powerful alpha male, but also noticeably more aggressive in his alpha-ness than some of his more contemporary counterparts. This had the combined result that I simply just didn’t like Samantha and Jake as much as I normally would, thus the lower grade.

I would have loved to have seen more of ranch life though I recognise that the nature of Sam’s stay with her twin prevented this. Nora Roberts has subsequently written ranch life well in Montana Sky and I love Linda Howard’s take on the lifestyle in Duncan’s Bride and Heartbreaker. I also love it when authors have their protagonists take on a different or unusual career path and retired Olympic gymnast certainly fits the bill. What Song of the West was sorely missing, however, was any actual gymnastics. Granted, Sam’s move to Wyoming was to look after her sister, but all I wanted was a little backflip …

I’ve said before that one of the many reasons I love NR’s novels is because of their timelessness and eternal endurability. Not quite so with Song of the West. I felt it was a little outdated and Jake could be a bit of an ass which just goes to show that not all Nora titles agree with me. nevertheless, it was a light read and clearly compelling enough for me to finish it as quickly as I did. Also: yay for crossing another one off the list – that’s now 167 books out of over 200 … nearly there.

Image courtesy of Book Depository. 

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