on March 17, 2004
I confess that I want to complain about this trilogy/quadrilogy largely because of my un-PC affection for it. These books offer brief (and, alas, imaginary) fulfillments of three of my long-cherished wishes: close extended family, a job that lets me have evenings off (maybe with a beer in hand) and both of the above in Chesapeake country. (I already have the great relationship, but one of the sorrows of adult life is finding that even spectacular relationships don't fill every gap.)
Okay, so Roberts doesn't know Chesapeake country as well as people seem to think--no, you CAN'T sail in a fifteen-foot skiff from Tangier Sound to the Little Choptank before lunchtime, and if Ethan's really a waterman he'd know you haul up your heavy stuff with winches, not wenches. Okay, so the real reason the Brothers Quinn all have to be self-employed is because the lower Shore's economically depressed. So the Quinn family, despite its tormented background, is just a little too perfect: what, NO learning disabilities, sexual dysfunctions, drug problems, power struggles, school cutbacks, or marital struggles for dominance? Everybody survives those heinous childhoods without any therapy at all and comes out more mentally healthy than anyone has a right to be? (Incidentally, that's why we probably won't get Aubrey's story; as the eldest of the first generation of Non-Conflicted Quinns, she has no childhood betrayals to overcome.) And who took care of all those kids anyway while Anna was working long hours in Princess Anne and Cam was at the boatyard? Even Grace might blanch at the prospect of nursemaiding seven kids.
These are all genuine flaws in the books, including Chesapeake Blue, but as an exilt from Chesapeake and extended family alike, I'm eerily forgiving of this series. Imagination and memory fill in the gaps: if Roberts implies that Phillip (my fave--pity he has no speaking part in this novel) drives off the Bay Bridge into pristine salt marsh, ignoring the development that's scarring the Shore from Cecil to Accomac, I just shake my head and sniffle onwards. I still love this series as much as it's possible for me to love formula romance.
The bottom line? Family plus location, location, location. The sex is pedestrian (I mean, COULD the orgasm be described in nonviolent terms a bit more often?), the romance plot predictably predictable, but the idealized family and the idealized Shore together are a sentimental powerhouse, at least for readers like me.
on July 14, 2003
Those of us who frequent Nora Roberts' Web site know that she was besieged for years by readers anxious for her to tell Seth Quinn's story. Seth, the youngest brother in the popular Chesapeake Bay trilogy, was about 14 years old when the series ended, and everybody (including this reviewer) wanted to know what happened to him when he grew up.
Nora obliges us diehards in this wonderful novel, which takes up where the others left off. We meet Seth as a gorgeous, sexy (what else?) and famous artist, who has returned home to his roots on the Chesapeake Bay to join his brothers and family--and also to try to escape a terrible secret.
No sooner does Seth set foot on his old stomping grounds than he meets the lovely Drusilla, proprietor of a new flower shop--and a blueblood escaping her own little secrets. As in all Roberts novels, their eyes meet--sparks fly--and the reader is drawn into a hot, steamy love affair with just enough conflict to make it truly interesting.
"Chesapeake Blue" is true to the Roberts format her fans have come to know and love. It uncovers no new ground, and is not particularly imaginative or breathtaking, as some of her other works can be. But it tells the story of Seth, and tells it well enough for all of Nora's fans to turn the last page with a smile and a sigh.
Dear Nora: Now can we have a sequel about Seth's as-yet unborn children?
on May 27, 2003
Chesapeake Blue marks a stylish return and a renewed fondness for the Quinn Brothers whose camaraderie has garnered Roberts immense popularity. Her new release focuses on Seth Quinn - the gawky kid entrusted to the care of the brothers when their adoptive father Ray passed away. He finally returns to his home at Chesapeake Bay after establishing his career as a renowned artist. Family bliss and a blooming romance with florist Dru Whitcomb awaits him but threats from his mother Gloria shatters his happiness. Dru's failed romance and spliced parents add tension to their relationship. This is a novel which stands on its own; peppered with the protective males (Cam, Phillip), their sassy partners(Anna, Sybill) and even the rambunctious kids (Aubrey, Jake). Their honesty and warmth is exclusively Roberts' creation and this glorious triumph of a book is dabbled with a paranormal favor and cheeky humor to render a splendid finish.
on November 23, 2002
Seth Quinn is back in St. Chris on Maryland's eastern shore. After a couple of years in Europe, he's a rich and celebrated artist. But now he is home--with his family, the family business, and the curse that has followed him over the years since he was a young boy. His mother is blackmailing him, doing her best to spoil everything for him--and for the family that gave him everything. Although he's all grown up now, he'll still pay her off, do just about anything to protect the brothers who raised him.
Drucilla Whitcomb Banks has fled a cheating fiance and the life of the outrageously rich in Washington D.C. to strike out on her own in St. Chris. She owns a flower shop and does her best to fit into the community. Given her experience with men, she doesn't want to fall in love--doesn't even want to date. But Seth Quinn can be as convincing as any of the Quinn men and Dru finds herself spending time with Seth despite what she promises herself.
Author Nora Roberts writes a compelling emotional story. Both Dru and Seth are damaged by their families and upbringing--damaged in ways that make it hard for either to commit, and in ways that make it hard to open up and trust anyone. Even supernatural help from Seth's adoptive grandmother (who had died before he was adopted) seems unable to do the job. Yet only if the two can overcome their upbringing can they find happiness with each other--or with themselves.
Fans of the earlier novels in this series will joy in seeing Cam, Phil, and Ethan again--each with a growing swarm of children who are now growing up. Nora Roberts can't write a bad book and CHESAPEAKE BLUE is a page-turning read. I would have liked to see a little more threat from Gloria--after all, one woman doesn't have a chance against the entire Quinn clan--ghosts and all--and I would have liked to see more of a resolution of Dru's issues. Still, BLUE works as a story and delivers an emotional wallop.
on November 15, 2002
OK, Roberts style prevailed once again in Chesapeake Blue and I've always admired her style. I read every one of the Quinn Brothers trilogy and was anxiously waiting for this book. I purchased the book right off the bat for my collection. I brought it home and started reading immediately. This is a typical Nora Roberts story. Seth, the young grandson of Ray Quinn has grown into manhood, he's a famous artist, having traveled to Europe for his fame and fortune. And as expected, he is being blackmailed by the villian, his mother, for more money to feed her nasty habits. And on his return home, the scenes with his family are emotional and well-described, as Roberts knows how to do so well. So if I expected the story to read along the plot lines that it did, why am I giving it a four rating? It was Roberts' style of writing, which I've always admired. The book held my interest even though I had the ending figured out. And it made me cry. If a book keeps me wanting to turn the page, it deserves at least a four. Grant it, this isn't one of her best, especially like the other three, but it was worth my effort and my money. The story is heartwarming and predictable. I think she left enough characters to go on with a sequel with this one, Aubrey, Will, etc. We'll see. Like I said, it has her (Roberts) style and I like that.
on January 13, 2003
Seth IS finally home.....
I read that a one or two people thought the book focused too much on the Quinn family and not enough on Seth and Dru. I could not disagree more. As always, Nora tied up all the loose ends and gave the reader a chance to visualize what the Quinn family was like today. Then she spent most of the story doing what romance novels do and that is keeping the reader gripped wondering if the two main characters will work through the tragedy and live happily ever after.
I also read that some thought her use of profanity was too much and not needed. Again, I disagree. The reader needs to put personal views aside and look at the characters. Nora lives in Maryland and by my guess has spent time in small rural watertowns eating crabs and listening to the locals. So, I would guess that she has a pretty good understanding of how to create "real life" characters. I hope the story continues....
on July 10, 2003
I read the Cheasapeake Bay trilogy and loved it. All three brothers were extremely interesting, as well as all of their love interests. This book, about grown-up Seth, isn't quite as good. Don't get me wrong, I still liked it - I just don't feel it was quite up to Nora Roberts usual standards. I've read dozens of her books, and this is probably one of the ones I liked the least. It was hard for me to get in to (normally I get so involved in her books I finish them in one sitting!), it took me a good 2-3 weeks to read the whole thing. I got sick of the whole Gloria thing halfway through the book, it was just way overdone. I liked Seth and Dru together, though the best parts of the book for me were the scenes at the house on the lake with the whole family. I got attached to them in the previous books, and to me they are far more interesting than Seth and Dru and Gloria.
on January 3, 2003
I have learned from past experience that a hardback is usually not as good as a paperback (example, Sue Grafton's "Q is for Quary"), and I should wait to buy the paperback. But that is hard to do when the book is by one of my favorite authors, and continuing the saga of my favorite set of brothers. So I bought it.
I have not finished the book yet, but I am enjoying the read. The story continues with Seth coming home to the Eastern Shore to the white house with blue shutters. I am enjoying revisiting the Quinn family, although it is a little difficult imagining them 18 years later. The stongest link continues, however, in this book. "You mess with one Quinn, you mess with them all."
My favorite in the series is still "Sea Swept" with Cameron my favorite character in this and all of Roberts' trilogies.
on December 23, 2002
This was a wonderful series. You must read the others, Sea Swept is the first, you owe it to yourself. Cam was my favorite being the first and oldest, and it was a powerful story setting up the rest. His relationship with Seth was, in my opinion, the best.
With Chesapeake Blue, Seth is all 'growed' and comes home for spiritual strength where he knows he will find it. What a lucky guy! Nice romance but the interaction with his family is still the best part. Stella comes back for Seth, which was a nice touch.
I also had a hard time with the hardcover. All the others were, let's face it, romances, and paperback is their niche. Also more collectible. If you havent read Linda Howard's Mackenzie's Mountain series, do yourself a favor and look for them. Wonderful reading for some quiet time.
on November 10, 2002
I must confess that I just knew that Seth and Aubrey's affection for one another in the original trilogy would roll into something more in their adult years. Perhaps if the age gap had been shorter. However, I really really liked how Seth turned out so strong and confident in his talents and as a man. But I guess with brothers like Cam, Ethan,and Philip, it couldn't be any other way. And I must say that I was pleased to see so much of the characteristics of Phillip in Seth (fine taste and an appreciation for delicate lingerie) since he is and was my favorite Quinn. Well, since Aub's out, I'm glad Seth ended up with Dru, for whom I developed a little admiration. She did make a nice break from the fold to make her own mark. If I can't fault her for that, I certainly can't fault her falling for Seth.