All Through the Night

Suzanne Brockmann
2007, Romantic Suspense
Ballantine Books, $16.95, 286 pages, Amazon ASIN 0345501098
Part of a series

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Warm

After reading Hot Target and Force of Nature, I (along with everyone else) realized that Suzanne Brockmann had a bit of an agenda when writing about Jules and his romance. While I totally understood, I was fearful that it would interfere with the story and with the character Iíd grown to love. Luckily, that wasnít the case and I loved those two books, specifically because of Jules and Robin. So, it was with great anticipation that I picked up All Through the Night, which shows the continuation of Jules and Robinís relationship and their marriage. Sadly, there was a stronger agenda here and it overshadowed some of the story. But if you love Jules and Robin as much as I do, this is a book to check out.

At first, Jules is working in D.C. and Robin is filming in Boston. They see each other as often as possible, but it can get taxing to do the long distance thing. Jules decides he wants more and, after working up the courage (and talking to Alyssa), he plans to ask Robin to marry him during an impromptu trip up to Boston. When Jules arrives at the hotel, Robin is on his way out to the taxi, bag in hand, apparently with the same thought. They immediately try to reclaim the room that Robin just checked out of, but all of Boston is booked due to college week. Their idea to simply wait until morning, when they can check back in to Robinís room, is seriously altered when Jules comes down with food poisoning from a bad taco. Luckily, Alyssa and Sam are in Boston and they quickly accept their puking friend.

Sam and Alyssa are around quite a bit in this installment (Sam more so). They both have some doubts about Robin given his status as recovering alcoholic, and worry about their friend's happiness. But after seeing Robin care for Jules - and after some interfering - they begin to accept Julesí lover. In the middle of the night, again after some interfering, Robin ends up proposing to Jules, as he had planned to do on his impromptu trip. Itís very sweet.

There is a secondary romance between Will Schroeder (the journalist from Flashpoint) and Robinís assistant, Dolphina. Due to the length of the book and the fact that they have no backstory together, their relationship is underdeveloped. Will falls in love at first sight and Dolphina certainly feels attraction, but they donít have very many conversations - and the majority of those they do engage in are negative. Their romance felt forced and pretty unbelievable, which is sad, since Brockmann secondary romances are so often high points.

There is a very brief suspense plot in which a stalker threatens Adam, the ex of both Jules and Robin. Because Adam is involved, tension and jealousy ensue. He wants Robin back and throws as big a wrench as he can into the works. The stalker creates some trouble near the end, but it was nowhere near as good as the suspense plots in the other Troubleshooter books.

Brockmann explains in her Authorís Note that she became angry when people in Massachusetts tried to take away the hard-won equal marriage rights. This basically spurred her to finally accept doing a holiday novella, which is obviously about a gay marriage in Boston. Unfortunately, the anger and reasons for writing the book are glaringly obvious, as both Robin and Jules give many speeches about love, commitment, and their desire to proclaim it publicly. Again, I get it...and yay for them...but the story suffered. Between a big reunion of the Troubleshooters and Team Sixteen and the somewhat preachy speeches, there was a level of sentimentality not often seen in this series and I have to say I didnít care for it. This is a holiday story, though, so some corny moments are to be expected.

Fans of Jules and Robin will no doubt want to read All Through the Night to see their happiness and I would recommend it for that reason alone. There are some scenes that shouldnít be missed. There is also a great deal of humor, although the jokes and quips are settling into a definite rut. The book is something of a placeholder among the series, however, and with its flaws, I wouldnít hand it to someone who is not already fond of the Troubleshooters.

-- Andi Davis

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