Cam Jansen. Encyclopedia Brown. Trixie Belden. The Hardy Boys. Agatha Christie. Sara Paretsky. Emma Lathan.
But never Dick Francis. (There’s a reason for that.)
I’m a mystery reader. Have been since I first picked up a book. For years, that was all I read unless I was assigned to something else in school. And then my best friend in college handed me one of Nora Roberts’ MacGregor books. “You’ll like it,” he said.
He was right. I liked it. I read my way through those books, then started reading more of her work. I dipped into other romances along the way, but they didn’t hold my interest. Nora Roberts did. First, I fell in love with her characters. With her series romances, such as the MacGregors, and her trilogies — more than I can name — I found that what I had always loved about mysteries was as much the series format as the mystery itself. That’s why Dick Francis never became a habit. I wanted to see the characters again, and he rarely does that.
Roberts showed me that characters we love can recur in a genre that’s not a mystery. I loved seeing how two characters at such odds with each other could find a connection, then step aside and let a new pair take the spotlight in the next book. While I can think of a few I wasn’t crazy about, I can’t tell you a favorite. Sometimes I like the hint of sorcery in the Three Sisters trilogy or the Key trilogy. Other times I’m in the mood for the Garden trilogy, with Roz as one of my favorite female characters.
You can’t help falling for the characters Roberts creates, and then rooting for them to realize they have what I’ve dubbed complementary baggage. She weaves in quests and mysteries, laced with enough danger to keep me turning pages long into the night. I still consider mysteries to be my primary genre for reading, but Roberts has hooked me on her characters, and thus, her books. Now, which one will make the perfect Valentine’s Day evening read…
Liked this post? Keep hopping around the Valentine’s Day Blog Hop to learn others’ favorite romantic reads.