The Perfect Hope

Nora Roberts
November 2012, Contemporary Romance
Berkley Trade, $16.00, 336 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425246043

Grade: B
Sensuality: Warm

I wasn’t expecting great things from the final installment of the Inn Boonsboro trilogy. I agree with the C+ review given The Next Always and didn’t like the second. But I was intrigued by Ryder and Hope -- the hero and heroine of The Perfect Hope -- so volunteered to read it for review. I figured the only way I would finish the series in a timely fashion was for review. Thank goodness! I really liked this one.

Ryder Montgomery’s been edgy since he and Hope Beaumont kissed on impulse on New Year’s in The Last Boyfriend. Everyone agrees Ryder and Hope aren’t each other’s usual type. Hope is obsessive, orderly, and a former “big city” girl. As one of Hope’s friends tells her, Ryder has layers. He’s decent and sweet, and also cranky and abrupt and it’s the cranky and abrupt parts that he shows to Hope when they come into contact, which happens a lot with their interconnected network of friends and family. I like “opposites attract” romances and this one is fun.

Hope was hired to run Inn Boonsboro when it was under construction. The Inn is now fully operational and Hope is making it a success, despite the presence of her distant relative Lizzy, the ghost that haunts the Inn. Lizzy was a determined matchmaker for the series’ first two couples and does the same for Ryder and Hope by locking them in rooms together.

I felt more of a chemistry right from the first for Ryder and Hope than I did for the heroine and hero in the second book. Nothing terribly remarkable happens here. There’s no big misunderstanding between Ryder and Hope, no long separation. They see each other nearly every day. And while I knew they would end up together, the pleasure for me is seeing how these two disparate individuals forge a relationship without changing their basic natures.

All of the main characters from the first two books make appearances. Early on Ryder and Hope have as many interactions with the secondary characters as with each other. This might be overwhelming if you haven’t read the previous two books. I love the conversations between the brothers and with Clare’s sweet boys.

The construction language didn’t feel as overwhelming as in previous entries in the series. While the brothers are working at other sites in town now that the Inn is running, the settings felt more like opportunities for the brothers to interact than to give the reader a lesson in construction.

If you don’t like paranormal aspects in contemporary romance you won’t care for this; it felt as if there was more emphasis on the ghost story than in previous books. Personally, I enjoyed learning more about Lizzy and Billy.

I’m a long-time fan of Nora Roberts’ older trilogies but the first two books in this series were a major disappointment. While I enjoyed this immensely, it’s very much an ensemble book. Readers who haven’t read the first two books might feel overwhelmed by all of the secondary characters. For me, this was definitely the best of the series; I like Hope and Ryder, enjoyed their romance, and even liked the previous heroes and heroines more here than in their own books.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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