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A Will and a Way is a romance novel by international best selling author Nora Roberts. Nora Roberts is without question the queen of romance novels due to the sheer volume of best selling romance novels that she has produced. Some of her novels I have found to be outstanding, others have been average and others terrible. I don't think that Roberts is the Queen of this genre because of the quality of her books, I think it's more a case of the quantity. Her few outstanding novels have won her enough fans that anything she releases will be a best seller. I never know what I'm going to get when I pick up one of her novels so my expectations don't tend to be high but at the same time I'm always hopeful for a great read.
This novel tells the story of Michael and Pandora. Michael and Pandora are not blood relatives but are cousins by marriage. Michael and Pandora both adored their uncle Joly and he in turn adored them. When he dies he leaves almost everything to Pandora and Michael, who he had been trying to match make for years but on the condition that they can live together for a period of time in his house. Pandora and Michael want to fulfil their uncles dying wishes but know that they will struggle to live together. They've always had a rocky relationship. To complicate matters they both find themselves attracted to each other. Things take an unexpected turn when it transpires that their relatives are not willing to let them have it all without a fight and they soon find themselves the target of intimidation and attempted murder.
This book opens with the reading of the will where we are introduced to all of the family members. I thought that this was a great way to start the novel. I found myself hooked immediately because all of the family members are really interesting and I love reading about family dynamics. It was also good because it means that when all of the criminal activity starts to occur we already know who all of the suspects are. I really like novels that keep you guessing about who did it and this novel really does that very well.
Pandora and Michael are both likeable characters and what I really liked is how unconventional they are. Not necessarily in an eccentric way, like their uncle was, but just generally very different to anyone I know in real life. This certainly made them more interesting to read about. As a couple they worked very well together. Roberts tends to be somewhat predictable in many of her novels, there's often a lot of tension between the characters, her characters are always very passionate and there's often conflict between them. I quite like this in a romance novel, it makes for interesting reading in my opinion. Michael and Pandora do have a history. They are related through marriage and often spent time together in their uncles house. Pandora has always considered Michael to be a playboy who dates bimbo's but under everything there does seem to be mutual respect for each other that both would probably deny was there. I think that this is important. I like tension between the characters, I like a certain amount of conflict but if I feel like the characters don't respect each other then I find it hard to enjoy the novel. One thing that I found somewhat disturbing is the way that they refer to each other as cousin. This was just a bit too close to incest for me.
The crime aspect of this novel was reasonably well done but I think it could have been better. There is a build up of suspense and a few really tense moments but there are also times in this book when things really slowed to the point of boredom. I like romance novels that have a crime or suspense aspect because it makes it more interesting and exciting to read. There were certainly moments of excitement that were very well written but I think that there could have been a few more of these and that they could have been better used to further the romance. Both aspects of the novel, the romance and the crime, were done well but it was more like they coexisted side by side rather than being integrated into one plot. This works okay but I just think that it could have been done better, like the crime could have pushed the couple closer together for example.
A will and a way is an enjoyable novel. It provides a fun romance with an added bit of excitement in the form of a crime plot but still manages to maintain a light hearted feel throughout. I would recommend this novel to fans of Nora Roberts and anyone who likes romance novels. This isn't one of her best but it's still a good read.