The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wasn't really a fan of the first book in this trilogy, The Next Always, as I saw it as a very long ad for the real-life Inn Boonsboro. Thankfully, the marketing pitch has been toned way down in The Last Boyfriend.
Focusing on Owen and Avery, The Last Boyfriend, to me, is a more natural love story. It's about two people who have grown up together and, as they work together on a project, their feelings start to change. The emotional progression felt very real to me. The book also takes place from December to March, with Owen's and Avery's relationship deepening over those four months. Roberts marks the progression of time by events: the build-up to Christmas, a New Year's Eve party, the Inn's soft opening, Clare's & Beckett's wedding, etc. As a reader, I felt like I was watching a lazy river of time floating the characters forward. It's an odd metaphor, I know, but it put me in mind of sunny summer days and cuddle-up Sundays.
The only odd note for me was the presence of Lizzy the ghost. Now we all know I am a paranormal romance junkie, but I don't understand why we needed yet another ghost, a la the In the Garden series. The Bride Quartet did just fine without any paranormal elements and the Boonsboro series would have been just fine without Lizzy. The appeal of The Last Boyfriend and, to a more limited extent, The Next Always is the characters, the 'live' ones.
There's an excerpt for the next book, The Perfect Hope, in the back of The Last Boyfriend. I'm really looking forward to it now and not just because