Thursday, December 31, 2015

Nora Roberts - Hidden Riches

In Hidden Riches, Nora Roberts unveils the intriguing world of antiques dealing, where a independent woman discovers the price of breathless desire--and the schemes of an obsessed killer. Dora Conroy has a passion for antiques—and any other rarities she can acquire for her quaint Philadelphia shop. A seasoned dealer, she knows all the tricks of the trade. But she is unprepared for the deadly consequences when she purchases a few curiosities at an auction—and unknowingly brings home a priceless cache that makes her the target of an international criminal. Entwined in a reckless chase, Dora turns to her new neighbor, Jed Skimmerhorn, a cop who’s turned in his badge—and whose desire for lovely Dora puts him back in the line of fire. Fighting their attraction while falling in love, they find that hidden riches can have a most ordinary façade. And that possession can be a lethal obsession…

Comment: In keeping with my decision to read the books by Nora Roberts in my shelves sporadically so I can always have some to be read for a while, this month I've picked anther title I had to be read. Of all the books by her I have yet to read, this was probably the oldest title of them all.
In this book we meet Isadora Conroy, a woman from a loving family of artists who owns an antiques shop business, not only about glamorous and expensive pieces but a funny mix of luxurious items things many would call "junk" but she's happy that way.
In comes Jed Skimmerhorn, a ex-cop still fresh out of his badge, who doesn't have such happy memories of his family as Isadora has, even despite the wealth. The two meet when Jed decides to get out of his family house and moves into an apartment next door to Isadora's. But their interesting developing relationship isn't the only surprise in the air, someone is killing people but why and how does it relate to Isadora's business?
I liked this book. It's very difficult for me not to enjoy a Nora Roberts' book, even if it's not always an amazing story. Somehow, the author convinced me, although I confess some of her later work feels too focused on the perfection of everything, even flawed characters or situations are described or presented in such a perfect way it becomes annoying.
Anyway, this book was published in the 90s and it shows, both in style and in the author's voice, which seems slightly less structured to me. This is not a bad thing, I just feel this book is more approachable to me as a reader than others that seem to have been written just because.
Jed is a fascinating character, he left his work and badge because he feels guilty and burned out, but in reality he loves the job and the efforts put into and how to try his best to help. I think his personality is very clichéd, which works for some reason, but I felt he was very impersonal, very distant and when he revealed a more "human" side, warmer and friendlier it felt like something he had to push himself to do, not something that came naturally to him. I think this is very realistic,, very close to the way most people would behave, but in a romance it looks annoying.
Isadora is very enthusiastic, bubbly, I imagine her always smiling and jumping around, always doing something and the way she behaves, which is friendly - a nice opposition to Jed - makes her look like a child with unlimited energy. I don't know, I liked her but I couldn't stop and just study her character because she couldn't stand still for long. I know it's stupid but she was too active!
Their romance worked out well, obviously the author pinpointed the traits in both that would serve as a means to bring them together and how perfect that would be and I did like how they could complement themselves and how things one of them would feel unimportant suddenly was because of the other's existence. That was good, as was the HEA.
The secondary characters helped a lot and they were key to some developments. I liked the secondary characters weren't there just to go have a drink or to fulfill a role, they mattered and that is always nice. the end concerning the villain was rather rushed and not what I thought should have happened, at least not like that, but well...
The plot wasn't complicated but I always find myself amazed how the author would study a subject or a profession and then explores it within a book. Isadora's job seemed perfect and I always think her heroes and heroines must have had a fun if not dedicated time working for it and how wonderful if in RL it could be that easy to have a fulfilling job!
In the end, this was a good story, featuring interesting ideas, but as a whole I can't say it was the best by her I've read, I wasn't totally sold on the main couple's relationship - no matter how happy they became - nor on the way some plot moves were happening.
nevertheless, a great book by her and one where readers can say it's clearly by her.
Grade: 7/10

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