Saturday, August 9, 2008

Born in Ice by Nora Roberts *****

Oh be still my heart - because it hurts so when Nora breaks it like she did with this story!!

After coming away from Born In Fire with an "ok, that was good, what's next?" feeling, I wasn't quite prepared for the sacking I took reading Born In Ice. Because this time she grabbed my heart and squeezed and ripped at it and left me gasping and bloody and sobbing, I'm afraid!

This is Brianna's story. Brianna is the second daughter of Maeve and Tom, and she was Born In Ice - born in duty, because Maeve not only didn't love Tom, she didn't love marital duties either. She did it one more time (after her shameful first child, conceived before marriage) just to get her Catholic duty of bearing children over with. And she never let either daughter forget it.

Where older sister Maggie is tempermental and loud, Brie is all about control. Her dream is to just run a quiet B&B in their family home, providing motherly care for her guests - feeding and housing them, doing laundry, gardening. Years ago she was almost married to Rory - until Maeve told Rory a lie about Brie's fidelity to him. He left her at the altar, and left her battered and bruised and alone.

Gray is a famous American murder mystery author who is spending a few months in the west counties of Ireland while researching for and writing his latest bestseller. He had a loveless upbringing as well - a classic Nora background, prostitute/drug addict mom, no clue who dad was, kid put through public system and learned life on the streets (Quinn Brothers, anyone?). Now he compensates by never having a family, never loving anyone enough to stay anywhere for long - until he meets Brianna. He fashions his mystery heroine after her, and his hero after himself - and when he ends the book, the hero walks away without looking back.

I loved the scenes where he developed the story in his mind - walking alone, he imagines his characters, what they are doing, how they lived and their grisly deaths. Of course, being an author, no doubt Nora is intimately aware of the process which is why she describes it so well - and I am not, except vicariously through reading authors' words about it. But still, it rang true and I felt what he was feeling, the thought processes, the stories, the characters - and he made me feel his own ambivalence at both the ending of his book and the ending of his relationship with Brie.

I felt Brie's conflict too - she's too proud to ask him to stay or to even show him how much he hurt her. She grieves alone, in the dark, and I wept with her and for her. Even knowing there must be a HEA around the bend, I felt the power of her grief and went there with her. Maybe I was already feeling a little down - or maybe it's the story, the words, or just my imaginings.

I wonder if I should re-read the entire trilogy after it is over to see if I feel any differently about Maggie's story, now that I've felt Brie's so deeply.

It's a 5-star read, and it's also an AAR Top 100. The review there states more eloquently than I how wonderful this book is, too.

1 comment:

Heather's Fave Books said...

Oh just wait Maggie gets better. I love this series. It is one that no matter how many times I read it just grabs my heart. You can't help but feel for each sister. There's a scene in the next book that has to be one of my favorite of any book.