Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tribute by Nora Roberts

Title: Tribute
Author: Nora Roberts

Type: Contemporary, stand alone
Published: 2008

Why: NR = Auto Read

Thoughts: Strangely enough, I expected to be disappointed. Unable to read this one on or close to its release date, I skimmed or skipped most blogger reviews back when. (I do that when I plan to read the book regardless.) Weeks later, book in hand, I sat down with the dim recollection that Tribute fell flat for many readers. Where in the fuck did I get that idea?

I enjoyed it immensely. Roberts creates such a rich community of characters, right down to the dog. No clue how she does it, but she introduces and arranges characters so naturally that the reader is as easily acquainted with them as the book’s protagonists. They are introductions that, despite the suspense element, evoke no conscious thought to motive or background. Rather, we get an acceptance that is guided solely by the connections through which they are engineered. Friend of a friend, and family.

Sure, Cilla wonders if this or that one is the mysterious lover in her grandmother’s past, the one who may be stalking her. But those thoughts do not plague the story. Not for the sake of building suspense and not for the sake of giving each character a place in the plot. Instead, Roberts weights every connection with emotional attachment, adds a cohesiveness inherent in work crews laboring toward the same goal and then binds it all together with generational ties.

End result? The reader senses early on that the villain will ultimately be an insider, hiding among this labyrinth of connections and relationships, but still feels that somehow it will all work out in the end. Not so different from Roberts’ other standalone novels. The villain usually is someone known to some if not all of her cast. So we wait, in suspense, not for the bogeyman, but rather to see how Roberts’ characters will cope with the betrayal of friend, coworker or family member. Solid, emotional stuff.

As for the romance in this one, one word. Fun. Two wise acres who find each other after years of not searching. Very entertaining. They are so well matched in wits that I found myself comparing their rapid-fire banter to that of Eve and Roarke. The kind of banter you practically have to climb into the head of the other to achieve. Or be cut from the same cloth. That humor was their connection, their spark for me. The rest of it—protectiveness, appreciation for the real (flawed) you, sexual chemistry—followed. Everything I like in the romance portion of the program, just not choreographed. Loved that. Loved that it was all tumbled and tangled amidst everyday life. Refreshingly lopsided. Gender role reversal included.

It was also refreshingly consistent, as Ford wields the same humor in every relationship—even the one that blooms between him and Cilla’s ex. Hilarious and poignant. That Ford’s dog is equally consistent when building relationships only underscores Roberts' portrayal of him as…steady. It’s funny yes, but it also reveals a truth about the pair—Ford and his dog. They are ultimately the perfect home for Cilla. It was an HEA easily seen from the start. One that never really felt threatened—not by the suspense stuff and not even by the emotional baggage stuff. Steady equaled no-brainer for Cilla, and the reader knew it.

So did Cilla. And she dealt with it. Working through it as she went about her everyday life. That was the other thing I liked here, everyday life. With work front and center. I enjoyed the peek into a graphic novelist’s work as well as the full-out invitation into home restoration. Really liked that faucet-line-over-the-stovetop idea. LOL Boy, I’d have pasta every night of the week if I had me one of those.

Overall, a relaxing read. Entertaining, well-paced and filled with folks I genuinely liked.

Word On The Web (Introduced and graciously shared by Jessica at Racy Romance Reviews):

Clare at Confessions of a Book Addict, Found the restoration stuff tedious and the book a bit of a letdown.

Tempting Persephone, Thought there should have been more depth or suspense, but liked it.

AztecLady at Karen Knows Best, Says it best I think, having liked it as much as she did.

Good Books, Bad Books, Liked the house rehab stuff too.

Jane at Dear Author, C grade

Casee at Book Binge, Yep, what she says.

So mixed reviews. And this is where I got the idea it might disappoint. So glad Ms. Roberts is an auto-read for me. Otherwise I'd have missed out.


  1. Ugh, still got this one in my TBR along with High Noon. Gawd, I'm pathetic.

    Interestingly enough, Tribute got pretty ho-hum reviews in the professional journals as well, but my local "ewww, genre fiction has cooties!" newspaper gave it a great review! Just goes to show, different strokes and all that.

  2. i have to say I loved this. I thought it was great for all the reasons you listed. I would re-read this again as well. Yay Nora!

  3. I did enjoy this book. Thanks for linking to my blog. I'm going to add y'all to my side-bar. I like your reviews.

    I love NR, but I've got to say that her latest trilogy has been really, really disappointing to me. I think it's because this paranormal trilogy thing has been run to the ground.

    She seriously needs to get back to her roots as an awesome writer of families. I miss the MacGregors and the Stanislaskis. *sigh*

  4. I'm almost glad these are still in your TBR pile Wendy. It means that you are reading other, less known titles and reviewing them. For the rest of us never-to-catch-up readers. You are a source of new books, LOL.

    Sayuri - Another in the plus column; yay!

    Jessica - Thanks again for permission to steal your idea, LOL. And you say you enjoyed this one, did you review it? I searched your blog for a review, honest. :)

  5. Oh, and I have to agree on Roberts' latest trilogy. Couldn't finish book two and haven't bothered to reconsider. I did like the Circle trilogy though, from 2007.

  6. I cannot remember the last tie I read a NR. Several years. She just doesn't do it for me. PLEASE tell me there's someone else out there like me!!!

  7. I loved this one,,,it kept me reading till the end to find out who was doing it...glad you liked it..

  8. Thanks Devonaz! Love that pic with the ocean in the background.


Have you read it? What do you think?

Related Posts with Thumbnails