Well, I’m back! I read 45 books last year and reviewed not a single one. It’s a shame, too – I read some really great stuff last year. Oh well, no sense harping on the past. Rather, let’s move ahead!
Honest Illusions is another Nora Roberts book. If you’ve read a lot of my reviews, you know I read her fairly frequently. This is a stand alone, recommended to me (and purchased for me) by a friend. This romance focuses on the family Nouvelle, a group of magician thieves. Opening in the “present” of 2002, Honest Illusions then takes us back to the 70s so that we can get to watch our two romantic leads, broken but hopeful Luke Callahan and upbeat whirling dervish Roxy, grow up in the unconventional Nouvelle family. Master magician Max and his paramour, Lily, take in runaway Luke after he comes to their circus act one night. This single decision creates a new family that grows into something really lovely. The two children grow up in magic and love (and healthy dose of competition), ignoring their growing attraction to each other as they get old enough to appreciate what that actually means.
I’ll say this is not my preferred version of Roberts. There’s nothing wrong with it. It hits the normal romantic hallmarks she’s renown for, including some great steamy scenes. However, the mystery element of this that involves a spectacular POS named Sam Wyatt never really grabbed me. It’s almost much more a family drama than anything else, as the vast majority of the book’s time is spent watching the Nouvelles, with their extended family of stage hand/driver/engineer Mouse, cook/housekeeper/criminal mastermind LeClerc, and another character it would be a spoiler to reveal. They are an interesting, eclectic lot, and it’s not that I don’t enjoy them, it’s just not what I come to Roberts’ books for.
I’ll also say, though this is true to varying degrees in many of her books, some of the character descriptions get repetitive. This was more grating here because you have characters growing over the course of two decades or so, and some of the ways they are described doesn’t change a whit. I also get very bored with the patience I’m supposed to grant “bad boy” attitudes when they come from damaged backgrounds. It’s not an excuse to be violent or angry, and I don’t like pretending otherwise.
As such, I don’t give this a resounding recommend, but at the same time, there are worse ways to spend your time.