by Nora Roberts

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Review

I'm not a romance reader and didn't really know where to start with the genre. Given Nora Roberts's status as a prolific, perennial bestselling writer, I picked up The MacKade Brothers: Rafe and Jared more or less at random. This book is actually two shorter novels bundled together: The Return of Rafe MacKade and The Pride of Jared MacKade. The former is the story of notorious bad boy Rafe MacKade's return to Antietam, MD, and how he and sexy antiques dealer Regan Bishop become entangled in more ways than one.  The second follows Rafe's brother Jared, a straight-laced lawyer who re-discovers passion with the help of a tempestuous single mother.

I wondered several times during my readings of these novels whether I had accidentally picked up a book by the wrong Nora Roberts. She's published over 200 books, so they can't all be winners. But both of these novels were utter tripe, particularly The Return of Rafe MacKade. The writing is awful at the level of both style and structure. The characters are drawn in broad strokes, which makes them boring and confusing. The plots of both novels are weak and really drag once the two characters get together. Also, both novels rely on an awful lot of sexist tropes (women want to be possessed/dominated/rescued by men, men need to be tough/violent, etc.). Worst of all: the love scenes aren't even interesting. Rafe MacKade gives more time and clarity to the descriptions of antiques and interior decorating than Regan and Rafe as individuals or as a couple. I couldn't even get a good laugh out of the ridiculousness of it all.

 

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