rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sometimes you just need a good, not too challenging read. I find that Nora Roberts is very consistent in delivering these.
Tribute is the story of Cilla. She is a former child star, descended from a line of celebrities, who has retired from show business to rebuild her grandmother’s house. Across the street is Ford Sawyer, famous graphic novelist. They meet. They become friends. Bad things happen to Cilla. They deal with them together. They fall in love. I wouldn’t want to give away the ending!
More seriously, it is the story of a woman coming to terms with her past. There are parts of her life that many people would envy– she is still a celebrity, as is her mother. She is reasonably well off from her childhood work and her ongoing small projects.
She also has things working against her– a distant relationship with her father, a highly dysfunctional one with her mother. She knows she wants out of Hollywood, but isn’t sure what she does want to do, or where she belongs. And beyond that, someone is trying to scare her, maybe even kill her.
I think there are two things that make Nora Roberts books work for me, both of which came through in this novel.
First are the lead characters. I always find them interesting, even if requiring of some suspension of disbelief. I enjoyed being part of Cilla’s mental journey, coming to terms with her past, her relationships with her parents, and deciding on what direction she wants to go. Ford is of course a little too perfect, but he’s fun that way. They actually develop a friendship, and at no point are the words “I can’t live without you” spoken.
Second is the writing itself. Most of the time I don’t notice it, which I find an advantage. Occasionally there is a description that I really enjoy. I like the small moments– the cartoons that Ford draws for Cilla, the dog that chases invisible cats.
The aspect of this book that I’d nitpick is the plethora of supporting characters. I realize there are two reasons for having so many. One is to show an entire town accepting Cilla as one of them. The other is to camouflage the bad guy. Unfortunately, it kept me from getting to know any of them.
I wasn’t sure whether to put this book as straight romance or romantic suspense, since the suspense elements don’t dominate the book. The four stars were fairly easy to decide on– I enjoyed the read, and it worked well within my expectations of a romance novel.