Amid the chaos of the end of the holidays, I found myself too tired and too distracted to tackle one of the many, many serious titles on my bedside table. Instead, I read The Liar by Nora Roberts over the weekend. Roberts’ work, while a bit formulaic after more than 200 novels, never fails to give her fans an engaging story to curl up with. That is exactly what I did on Saturday while my clan watched hours of football games, interspersed with re-watching Star Wars IV, V, and VI.
The Liar follows a pattern similar to many other Robert’s novels — girl’s heart is broken, girl returns home to family, girl meets boy, girls resists falling for boy, boy wins over girl and her family over, love happens. However, the author always is sure to bring us female characters more modern and complicated than most romance or chick lit novels. In The Liar, rather than single 20-something looking for love, we have Shelby: a young widow who returns home with a three-year old daughter she must now raise alone. Furthermore, Shelby is not a character searching for love in bars or online dating sites, but a character not looking for love at all. She is too busy working three jobs, taking online college classes, sorting out the tremendous mess her late husband has left her in, and reintegrating herself back into life in her hometown. Just as refreshing is her prince charming, Griffin. Rather than the playboy who would do anything to avoid a relationship, Griff is a man who spends his time remodeling an old farmhouse and knows the instant he meets Shelby and her daughter that it is love. Those two differences from other boy-meets-girl romance novels make it worth the read.
Also worthy of note are the secondary themes in The Liar that Roberts’ often includes in her stories including: power of family support and love to heal, the strength of female-driven entrepreneurship, the comfort and familiarity living in small towns, and female characters who are perfectly capable of solving their own problems and standing up to their own demons without the help of a man. While the help of her new man Griff is a bonus, we find Shelby more than capable of handling life herself.
While the book is neither life-changing nor ultra-unique, it is a perfectly lovely book for curling up with on a winter afternoon.
If you like books which center on the theme of woman who find out they are married to strangers, check out my blog post on Pretty Girls on the topic here https://ivejustfinishedreading.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/pretty-girls/