I first discovered Nora Roberts in January 2008 when I began working at the Dymocks store in Chermside, Queensland. Northern Lights, first published in 2004, had made it into the Dymocks Top 101 list and I was completely captivated by the cover. Little did I know that picking up this humble paperback was an action that was going to change my reading life forever.
Up until this point for me, crime fiction and romance fiction were two entirely different genres. Reason #1 why Nora Roberts is the greatest love of my reading life: she blends crime and romance together into romantic suspense novels better than any other author. The one thing the crime novels I’d read previously were missing was some spice! Nora has been writing romance longer than I have been alive and her steamy scenes reflect her years of experience... Writing experience, that is.
This sort of leads me to Reason #2 why Nora Roberts is the greatest love of my reading life: she met her now second husband, Bruce Wilder when she hired him to build bookshelves. You couldn’t make up a better literary meet-cute if you tried! I should add that Bruce owns Turn the Page Books in Boonsboro, Maryland, which naturally hosts regular events with Nora and other brilliant authors. The Wilders also own the Inn BoonsBoro, which has eight rooms all named after couples from literature. Fancy staying a night in the Elizabeth and Darcy room, or maybe the Westley and Buttercup room is more your style? You can do that! The Inn BoonsBoro also appeared in its own Nora Roberts trilogy in 2011-2012. It’s a truly incredible connection to one very lucky small town in Maryland.
Okay, that was a cheeky one, because it doesn’t actually have anything to do with her writing. I’ll get back on track with Reason #3 why Nora Roberts is the greatest love of my reading life: she writes female characters that are intelligent, fierce, brilliant, and a complete joy to read. Meg Galloway (Northern Lights), Naomi Carson (The Obsession), Cilla McGowan (Tribute), and most recently Simone Knox (Shelter in Place) are among my all-time favourite literary heroines because they all overcame something traumatic in their past and forged a new path for themselves. No author writes female characters like Nora does and through these women, she has taught me many valuable lessons about becoming a strong and independent woman.
I’ve written a lot about my love for Nora’s romantic suspense novels but that’s not all she writes! Reason #4 why Nora Roberts is the greatest love of my reading life: she writes weird and wonderful supernatural books that have the ability to be both magical and completely horrifying. I had never read a fantasy novel before I picked up one of Nora’s, and while I’m not a fantasy fanatic by any means, I have a new appreciation for the genre that I otherwise may not have discovered. Her mythological books usually come in the form of trilogies and are vivid and richly researched – they transport me to a different era and place each and every time.
My favourite romantic magical series of hers is The Key trilogy about three contemporary women who have the power to free three demi-goddesses that have been cast into an eternal sleep. My favourite scary supernatural series is the Sign of Seven trilogy about a cursed village and three men who can break the curse. Nora’s latest trilogy began with Year One last year and it was the first time she has written a post-apocalyptic novel. Unsurprisingly I loved it and I cannot wait for Of Blood and Bone to land in my hot little hands this year.
We’re at the end, friends, and this is the most important part. Reason #5 why Nora Roberts is the greatest love of my reading life: she’s the most dependable, reliable author that I read. Nora has written over 220 novels in total and, published as both Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb, she has released at least four novels every year. (Fun fact: the pseudonym J.D. Robb comes from the names of her sons Jason and Dan, and ‘Robb’ is a shortened Roberts.) That is an unbelievable output for a single author and easily makes her one of the most iconic authors currently writing. One of the highlights of my reading life each here is the publication of her standalone romantic suspense novel; prior to working for her publisher (which is an actual dream come true), I would pre-order the standalone novels each year and practically pounce on the mailbox as soon as they arrived. If other parts of my life are falling apart, I know that I can turn to Nora and always find happiness and comfort. She is my one true love.
I have an entire shelf of books dedicated to Nora Roberts…
I named my kitten after Nora Roberts…
And I will continue to read and love Nora Roberts novels forever.
Wearer of multiple hats at Hachette Australia, most importantly that of resident crime queen and lover of books that thrill me and chill me. I never met an unreliable narrator I didn’t like.
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