Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tribute by Nora Roberts

By Nora Roberts (Author's Website)
Publisher: Piatkus
Published on 2008
ISBN-13: 9780749939229
451 pages

First sentence: According to legend, Steve McQueen once swam buck-naked among the cattails and lily pads in the pond at the little farm.

Cilla McGowan buys from her diva mother, and rehabs her famous grandmother's long-neglected farmhouse. Cilla's grandmother, Janet Hardy, died young at the house. Cilla finds a collection of unsigned love letters that turned into threats which prompts her to investigate whether her grandmother committed suicide as reported or was murdered.

Living opposite her is Ford Sawyer, a handsome graphic novelist. He is inspired by Cilla when he first saw her and decides to use her as a character for his latest masterpiece. Ford is a positive thinker and that rubs off on the pessimistic Cilla.

“I’ve never had a very optimistic nature.”
“That’s okay.” He tried to find a tone between firm and sympathetic. “I’ve got one and you can borrow a piece.”

As Cilla goes through the motion of the house rehab, she is faced with threats and terror occurrences such as vandalism of her property. Even her visiting ex-husband is not spared from being bashed up and enters into a coma. The local police could not pinpoint the culprit.

If I had not read most of Nora Roberts’ trilogies in the past, I would be happy with this novel. But because I had read her previous works, I find Tribute to be lacking and disappointing in a few ways. I usually enjoy the dialogues and storyline, but I now find the dialogues in this story forced and ‘unnatural’ especially on Cilla’s part. I hope it is what the author is trying to portrait for Cilla’s personality because if it is not, I would be worried that Nora is losing her magic touch. The story also goes into too much detail about the house rehab to the point of it being tiresome.

Not all is lost though because Ford (Cilla’s love interest) is engaging and cute. Spock, that peculiar dog of Ford, also saved the day. I would think that without Spock spreading some joy, I would have lost it. One more thing that bugged me is how casually Cilla treated sex—she keeps bringing that up and giving the impression of not being able to wait to jump into Ford’s pants. Ford, of course, is very interested to reciprocate but at least that guy has the decency to behave appropriately. In Tribute, the romance just lacks ‘fire’ unlike the previous works by Nora Roberts. I could not feel the chemistry between Cilla and Ford.

Note: This is a joint-reading with Julia of Julia's Book Corner. Thank you so much for reading this with me, Julia! It’s been really fun discussing it in-between and I surely hope we would do more of such read-together in the future.