Saturday, March 14, 2009

Black Rose by Nora Roberts ***

This is the 2nd in the In The Garden trilogy, about 3 women in different stages of their lives. The first dealt with Stella, a young widow with 2 boys, who moved to Tennessee and got a job with Roz, the owner of the nursery, In The Garden.

This one is Roz's story. In the first installment, she hired Mitch Carnegie, a genealogist, to help her discover the identity of the house ghost, the "Harper Bride" who haunted the mansion she inherited. The ghost seems to like children, and hate men. Of course, as the reader, I knew who it was from the prologues of each book - the mistress of an ancestor who bore him a son. The son was stolen from her, and she was told it was a stillborn girl - and although I don't know yet how she died, she haunts the house to warn women away from men.

The other women (Stella and Hayley) refer to Mitch in such terms as Dr. Studly - a tribute to his hunkiness of course! Isn't it always fun to have an academic hero, a sort of beta/alpha mix who knows when to step forward and offer to smash someone in the nose, and when to step back and let Roz deal with her own problems?

Her main problem is a con artist ex-husband who keeps popping up, trying to ruin her life. The ghost, even though she gets more violent as time goes by, is a minor diversion in comparison. So Mitch and Roz, yes, fall in love and battle the ghost and the demon ex-husband before getting their HEA. And we get whispers of Hayley's HEA when Harper starts having lustful thoughts about her... But that's the next book.

3 stars, Serial Readers Challenge and... something in the Spring 2009 Challenge, can't decide which. Parker the dog didn't warrant a Notable Pet tag, but even Dr Studly refers to himself as besotted early on, so I'll tag it as Besotted Hero.

It's a pleasant enough story - I would say 3 stars meaning "average" as opposed to "mediocre" - I wouldn't go out on a limb and highly recommend it, but I enjoyed the story enough.

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