“ Author: Nora Roberts / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 02 December 2004 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Subcategory: Thriller / Suspense General / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: Blue Dahlia / ISBN 13: 9780749935337 / ISBN 10: 0749935337 „
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Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
~ About the Author ~
Nora Roberts is American and a best selling Author, having written more than 150 books in the romance/mystery genre. She has also written a number of books as J.D. Robb, and they are known as the "In Death" series, and these are futuristic romance/crime novels.
The Blue Dahlia novel is the first in a series of 3.
~ Book Synopsis ~
We begin the story with information taken from an event in the late 1800's. We are then transported to the present day, where we get to find out about Stella Rothchild and her two children. Stella is a widow and mother at a young age after her husband is tragically killed in a plane crash, and eventually this leads her to finding a job nearer to her father and his second wife in Memphis.
This in turn leads her to a job as a manager in the successful gardening business "In the Garden", living in house with her two boys, their dog Parker, her boss Roz Harper, David, who was raised by Roz and then unexpectedly with Hayley, a distant and very pregnant cousin of Roz's who lands up on the doorstep looking for work one day.
In her new role as manager of the garden centre, Stella butts heads very quickly with Logan Kitridge, the alluringly but infuriating landscape gardener employed by Roz for the company.
However, hate becomes admiration for each other's work, and eventually this begins to blossom into something more.
But, there is one person who doesn't want to see this romance bloom, and before long Logan and Stella find themselves in a situation of paranormal activity that is both intriguing and frightening to those around them.
Will the "Harper Bride" finally win and destroy Logan and Stella's love? Or will she be pacified and they move on and live happily ever after?
~ Thoughts on the book? ~
This book is different to a lot of Nora Robert's other efforts because it's more of what I would class as a paranormal/romance story, rather than a crime or mystery with romance story. This isn't as in depth as some of her other books either, and because of that I would immediately place this into the "light reading" category. This means that it really is likely to be restricted to a largely female audience, and even then it isn't going to appeal to everyone.
But, if you want to read something on your holiday, or just need something you can pick up and put down again often, you enjoy a bit of mystery and romance this could well be an ideal book for you to read.
Because this is the first of a trilogy, the ending might just be a little too abrupt for some, but given the overall feel to this book and knowing it's the first of 3 in a series, I wasn't so surprised by this. However, if you don't have the other books to hand, you might find it disappointing and somewhat unsatisfactory an ending. Its one of those books that can't be read as much in its own right, but is best enjoyed as part of the trilogy.
What makes Nora Roberts a successful writer is her ability to write about people. She really brings across relationships, frailties and strengths of all her characters well. This in turn makes them believable and likeable as a reader and emotions feel generally real and nicely rounded.
Where this book might be a stretch too far for some people is the paranormal aspect of it, but overall, Nora Roberts keeps this in the background at a level whereby we don't forget about it, but equally it doesn't overtake the overall storylines being developed between all the main characters in the book.
Once again, Nora Roberts also does something that is noticed throughout the other books of hers I've read, and that is she keeps a great balance between main and secondary characters. None are there simply to fill in the story, and each has their own part to play in the tale being woven.
The pace of the book is kept at a nice level, not so fast you lose track of who is doing what, but not so slow you just want to throw it down in frustration and stop reading. You also get a nice mix of funny writing in there as well as the more melodramatic which peeks in on occasion.
Nora Roberts takes what is in truth quite a mediocre setting and manages to pull something rather more interesting out of it. This is where she manages to maintain her writing so well and one reason that even if this isn't the sort of book you might not ordinarily read, somehow you can still read this and enjoy it.
~ Final Thoughts ~
Nora Roberts writes to a tried and tested format that works for her. It is something that isn't going to require most readers to really think too much about the storylines, but what she does manage to do so well is bring in interest by the characters she uses. Blue Dahlia is fairly typical of her style of writing, which I would classify as light contemporary romance.
As I've already said, this is an easy read and isn't designed to be anything else. Its great for holidays or on a day when you just want to read something without having to put too much thought into it, but still appreciate a reasonably high standard of writing.
This isn't a book though I would fully recommend unless you can get hold of the remaining two books to read afterwards. This is the one downside to the book as a whole because it doesn't have a good solid ending that you would otherwise expect. A good marketing ploy I'm sure, but I would rather I had the choice to carry on reading, rather than having some unanswered questions, which can only be found in the other two books.
I'm going to give this book 3 out of 5 stars. Mainly because its let down by being part of the trilogy, as well as being a very specific reading genre.
If you want to read the other two books, they are:
~ Price and availability ~
I paid £1-50 for my copy from a local charity shop, but I've had a quick look online and found it listed from as little as 50 pence (exc. Postage) to over £5-00 from various online retailers, inc fantasticfiction.co.uk
Availability seems good and widespread.