The second part of the Nora Roberts double-feature is titled Her Mother’s Keeper. And just like the first part of the book, I was also not a big fan, though it was already better than the first one. So in this book, Gwen was raised by a single mother who has her head in the clouds and who sometimes has people stay over to be able to afford her big mansion house. Gwen herself was always much more practical, growing up as a tomboy and now working at a fashion magazine as a big-shot editor in the big city. She keeps in touch with her mother through letters (because phones apparently didn’t exist in the nineties) and she is convinced that her mother is having an affair with a man twelve years her junior. So of course, there is nothing to do but take a month off and rush home to save her mother.
Gwen herself is only 23 years old, but feels like she knows everything best and she is sure that her mother is in a relationship with this Luke character and that he is taking advantage of her. When she gets home, she runs into Luke who is out chopping wood and she’s taken aback by his physique. Anyway, she rarely sees her mother in the next few days because her mother is always suspiciously absent. She avoids talking to her daughter, but of course, Gwen also doesn’t even ask her if she is in a relationship with him. She thinks so, so it must be true. So, she is rude to Luke and she doesn’t like him. However, when he forcefully kisses her, she must admit she is kind of attracted to him. But she doesn’t want anything to do with him – at least until he kisses her. Yes, exactly! Just as in Storm Warning, the female character wants nothing to do with the male character until said male forces himself on her. Luke grabs Gwen and kisses her – even while knowing that she thinks he’s in a relationship with her mother and not correcting that error. In the end, it turns out that her mother was being absent because she was writing a book herself – something she’d always wanted to do, which Luke encouraged her to do, and which she felt embarrassed about so she didn’t tell her daughter. Between Luke and Gwen things are resolved a little later when Luke admits to having problems with Gwen’s age (who just happens to be 12 years younger than him) but that he’s so attracted to her and loves her so all’s well that ends well. Right?
Well, no! I really don’t like these kinds of books. There is no romantic development between the two characters. Gwen dislikes Luke from the beginning, except when he kisses her – then she’s confused and immediately after she gets angry. Luke likes her though – but instead of resolving the communication issue, he lets Gwen continue to think he’s in a relationship with her mother. I mean, what kind of torture is that? Here Gwen is, developing feelings for a man that she wants to send away because she thinks he’s in an inappropriate relationship with her mother. I mean, who does that? But still, all of a sudden, she’s in love with him. He must be some kisser… There is absolutely no development of the relationship.
And then there’s the cliché miscommunication that this book is based on. Yes, most romance novels work because of a misunderstanding – but here it’s just plain ridiculous. Gwen only needs to ask one question, of either Luke or her mom (or even her mom’s friend/employee) to solve the misunderstanding. It’s completely ridiculous. And the age thing also really bothered me. Here is this 23-year-old, barely out of school, in a rage because her mother’s dating a man 12 years younger than her. But of course, for Gwen herself, it’s absolutely no problem to date that same man, who is in fact 12 years older than her. Uhm, double standards, anyone?
I did like Luke a little bit better. He wasn’t the arrogant selfish asshole that Lucas was in Storm Warning, and he actually did show more than just two emotions. He also seemed to genuinely care about Gwen, but he just took his game with her feelings about her mother too far. It did only play out over a few weeks, but as we all know, a lot can happen in romance in just a few weeks. I did understand Gwen’s choice to go to the big city, however – she had a difficult childhood with a mother so different from her, so she throws herself into her job, which she sees as an escape. Everything that follows, from her conclusions to the way she acts are ridiculous, but I understood her up to here.
Anyway, again, I forgive Nora Roberts because it’s, again, one of her very early books from the nineties. But I will be much more careful to get one of her newer books – which I love so much more! (oh, and if this wasn’t clear, I don’t recommend you read it)
On to the next!