has also reviewed:

Born In Fire
Born In Ice
Born In Shame
Captive Star
Daring To Dream
From The Heart
Hidden Star
Homeport
Inner Harbor
The MacGregor Brides
The MacGregor Grooms
Megan's Mate
Montana Sky
Once Upon a Castle
Sanctuary
Seaswept
Secret Star
Rising Tides
True Betrayals
Waiting for Nick
The Winning Hand

As J.D. Robb:

Ceremony in Death Holiday in Death
Immortal In Death
Rapture in Death
Vengeance in Death

 
The MacGregors Alan~Grant
by Nora Roberts
(Silhouette, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-48389-9
*****
On those rare occasions when a reader and a book are in total synch . . . total harmony, magic happens. Memories are made; a keeper is discovered. This experience, this ultimate fulfillment, is what keeps us reading, hoping to find that 'keeper' book. When Nora Roberts first wrote the MacGregor books, I was in the right place at the right time and devoured them. I still remember the joy, the enchantment that these stories gave me, how I cherished them. Later the books were rereleased and yet again they're being reissued, this time in multiples of two MacGregor stories per book.

If you haven't read them yet, I have to ask you: How many times does opportunity have to knock on your door? This series is excellent and is now into the third generation of MacGregors. Category readers know that it doesn't get much better than this. Daniel MacGregor The MacGregor patriarch of the Clan MacGregor, is one of the most memorable, finely drawn characters in category history. His story, the story of his three children and his grandchildren's stories make up the best series ever. Okay, it's just my opinion, but how many series do you know that have been reprinted over and over, with no end in sight to their popularity? It wouldn't surprise me to see a MacGregor beanie baby at any time.

Alan~Grant is the second of the newly released MacGregor books. Book one was Serena~Caine and contained Playing the Odds and Tempting Fate. In Alan MacGregor's story, All the Possibilities, we meet a man who's waited a long time for true love and when he spies his missing half, he's smart enough, intrepid enough to seize the opportunity. Thirty-five-year-old Massachusetts senator Alan MacGregor is the firstborn and is the object of his father's teasing. Why isn't he married? Why isn't he doing his duty to the MacGregor line?

Spotting Shelby Campbell at a Washington party, Alan is a goner. He instantly recognizes that this woman is what he needs to make his life complete. Love isn't going to be handed to Alan on a silver plate this time. Shelby is the daughter of a senator who was assassinated while he was campaigning for the presidency. Shelby knows that Alan has aspirations for the highest office and isn't willing to see a second man she loves assassinated.

Some of the best scenes in the MacGregor books deal with trips to The MacGregor's fortress in Hyannis Port. When a Campbell, the historic archenemy of the MacGregors, enters the MacGregor fortress for the fist time, sparks fly. No, the roof doesn't collapse as Daniel welcomes what he calls 'traitors and infidels,' but the visit is so memorable that, even after all these years, the vivid details are easy to remember. I look forward to each visit.

Watching Alan chip away brick by brick at Shelby's fears and reluctance is why I read romances. This is romance at its finest. I can still quote his incomparable marriage proposal. I love this story!

One Man's Art tells the story of successful cartoonist Grant Campbell. Grant, Shelby's brother, has just returned from her marriage to Alan. They've each handled their father's assassination differently. While Shelby became an elusive butterfly, Grant chose to become a recluse in a remote fishing village in Massachusetts. Living in a light house, he's able to work on his syndicated cartoon strip in anonymity. His peace and solitude are broken by Genevieve Grandeau, also a successful artist in her own right. The main difference is that Genny isn't afraid of publicity, and Grant shuns it at all costs.

Grant doesn't want emotional intimacy and pushes Genny away again and again, until he realizes that he's tired of denying himself the companionship of this lovely, vibrant young woman. Genny, too, is learning to cope with the death of a loved one. Her touching confession is poignant, while her anguish is palpable. Another visit to the MacGregor fortress is a rare treat, with Genny discovering that she, too, has ties to the MacGregors.

The MacGregor series is comprised thus far of: Playing the Odds, Tempting Fate, All the Possibilities, One Man's Art, For Now, Forever, The MacGregor Brides, The MacGregor Grooms, The Winning Hand and The Perfect Neighbor. There are also two historicals about the MacGregor ancestors: Rebellion, which will be reissued with Daniel's story and "In from the Cold" from a Harlequin Historical Christmas anthology in 1990. There's not much new that can be added to Nora's accolades. She's made the transition from category author to a NYT bestselling author. Her name is synonymous with the finest in romance writing. Throw in her success with her J. D. Robb futuristic suspense series, and there's not much that the lady can't do. One thing that she has continued to do is write category romances and for that I feel blessed. Nobody writes category romances as well as Nora.

One thing that always stands out is the individuality of her characters, whether they're primary or secondary. Some of the continuing characters in the MacGregor series attest to that. Myra and Herbert Dittmeyer, McGee the butler and all the siblings that keep popping in and out retain their identity. Alan is always more on the serious side, while Shelby and Grant look at life with a bit more cynicism and, Daniel is always the interfering benevolent tyrant. Her character's traits don't blur and run together. Nora has that unique ability to maintain the distinct individuality of each of her myriad characters.

Before these books become hard-to-find collectibles, treat yourself. You'll discover why category romances have such a huge, satisfied following. Then you, too, can become a MacGregorphile.

--Linda Mowery


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