I love Nora Roberts' books, but this trilogy was one of the first ones I read. Here I am rereading it for probably the 6th or 7th time (I only do that with books I really, REALLY alike). In this book, (Black Rose) we see a strong women realize she really does need the man, and we see her take care of some past history with strength and panache. Oh, and there is a wedding... but not this strong woman of whom I spoke... it's yet another strong woman. Her story is in book 1 (Blue Dahlia). I strongly recommend this series - which, as many of Ms. Roberts' books do, has a bit of paranormal in it. Don't worry... it won't hurt you. Read the books in order and it will make much more sense. I am fixing to start book 3 (Red Lily)... it's 0324 my time, and I'm going to read some more... good thing it isn't a school night! Read the books, and then read some more!!!
I enjoy all of Nora Roberts books, this was a good listen while I was working. All three books are independent of each other, be also flow from one to the other, which is one reason I love Nora Robert's trilogies. When I'm not quite ready to be done with a book that is nearly finished, the next book picks up the story from a different perspective. Would recommend.
Book 2 of the Garden Trilogy was just as enjoyable as the first book. The romantic development was slightly predictable...Nora Roberts has a pretty predictive style of building romantic tension, and this one fits the formula. But the character development, scene setting and story line are superb. I love the garden setting, and the enormous amount of detailed research that must have gone into the writing of this book. Her descriptive phrasing puts you right into the middle of the setting, right down to smelling the flowers and feeling the heat of the sun on your back. A good amount of suspense, without being overtly "scary", it's a lot of fun to see the characters and their responses to their live-in and unpredictable ghost. VERY enjoyable read!
Over one hundred years ago, a young woman on the brink of insanity...or just beyond it...disappeared without a trace. Her ghost haunts the house and grounds of the Harper household and has for as long as anyone alive can remember. Most who have seen or heard her speak of the care she shows to the children of the house, singing lullabies to the young and offering a comforting presence to young mothers. But there is a darkness, too, and when lullabies become edged in madness and comfort turns to terror, a group of family and friends must ban together to find out who their ghost is, where she is, if they have any hope of surviving her wrath.
Rosalind Harper is a strong, independent, mature woman. She lost a husband young, made a mistake with a second marriage, but has lived a life of class and poise, correcting mistakes and building her life from tragedy. She may be the mistress of Harper House, but her focus is her family and her business, the In the Garden nursery. Since the events of Blue Dahlia (In the Garden, Book 1), Roz, along with friends Stella and Hayley and their respective loves and children, have had to put the search for the identity of the Harper Bride on hold. Genealogy expert Dr. Mitchell Carnagie was unavailable until a previous engagement was concluded.
When Roz's path crosses Mitch's again during a wild spurt of Christmas shopping, more than talk of ghosts gets stirred up. Mitch's project is finished and he's ready to start the search for Amelia full time, and Roz realizes that the sexy doctor might just be the balm to that niggling bit of loneliness that tugs at her heart. What she doesn't realize is that her resident ghost has no love of men, and as the relationship between her and Mitch heats up, Amelia turns her viscous will into keeping them apart.
Some of my favorite romance reading of all time has been various Roberts' trilogies. I love how she weaves interesting and sympathetic characters who are easy to fall for into an overall arc that spans three books, while maintaining a level of storytelling that supports each book individually. She truly is a master at that impressive feat.
I'm particularly fond of lead character Roz Harper, a woman of advancing age, within spitting distance of fifty, with concerns and attentions suited to her age and her milieu. She's got an ex-husband who's a rake and a snake, and she's forced to deal with him, though it goes against her grain to do so in the manner in which it is forced. She doesn't break under pressure of ghost or male ego, and holds close to her heart those she considers friends and family. As a character, she's the epitome of grace and cool southern charm...with just enough fiery temper to keep her from being too Stepford.
While I am known for having a fondness for damaged characters who rise above their personal demons to wage battle against the forces of darkness, I admit I found Roz's well-balanced, independent nature both an admirable and welcome change. She's got a steel spine with pleasant touches of softness for contrast and depth, and she approaches problems with a keen mind and determination. I couldn't help but like her. And respect her. Mitch was a charming counterpoint. A man who is aware of his demons and admits to his past mistakes as he takes responsibility for them. He's a good man, honest and hard working, with the confidence to appreciate a woman of strength without the games and machinations so often seen in younger couples.
Their relationship sparks and simmers, developing slowly but sweetly along with the plot threads of the Harper Bride, who shows her nasty side in all its freaky glory more than once, and the ex-husband, who's a sleaze of the first order. There are ancillary plot threads of extended family that also add to the mix. Together, the plot develops with solid pacing and depth, each aspect complementing the other and building off each other nicely.
Knowing that this was the second book in the trilogy helped assuage the impatience to get the answers to Amelia's past, and Roberts takes time to provide glimpses of her history and add some truly atmospheric creepiness to her haunting ways. As a result, Amelia is just as well rounded...if definitely unbalanced...a character as the living members of the book.
My only complaint...well...not really a complaint, more as a dissatisfied observation, with this book in particular and the series as a whole is that the characters all seem a little too perfect, a little lacking in flaws and insecurities and peccadilloes. They all make noises about their hang ups - Roz's temper and stubbornness, Mitch's tendency to be messy and forgetful, etc., but in the end, they're all just a little too perfect, always doing the right thing at the right time in the right way. It's a little disconcerting. And not always the easiest thing to relate to. I think that's why, despite the fact that I liked the book quite a lot, I never actually connected to it on a personal level, and why, though I admired Roz and had quite a lot of affection for Mitch, I was never completely invested in their relationship or the continuing saga of the Harper Bride. Not enough to be rabidly enthusiastic of it, anyway.
I liked it, though. Quite a bit. And anyone who enjoys romance mixed with haunted houses and a centuries-old mystery and a lot of horticulture will probably enjoy it, too.
I couldn't imagine that "The Black Rose" could be even better than "The Blue Dahlia", but it was! Another must read by Nora Roberts!
In this second in the "In the Garden" Trilogy the "Harper Bride" becomes very possessive of Stella's children. Nobody can understand why; in all the years that Roz has seen her singing to her boys when they were little, she never hurt anyone!
Roz decides to hire someone to put together her family ancestry and find out who this ghost really is. Dr. Carnigie is hired to trace her family history and there is instant chemistry between Roz and the very handsome Dr. Carnigie! Everyone in the family is happy for Roz that she may have found someone to make her happy, except for the Harper Ghost!
Why would she be upset? Why is she becoming so mad after all these years? Roz must find the answers before the ghosts kills someone!
Garden Trilogy is made up of three books. Had no idea when I began to read the first one that I would be HOOKED into this trilogy. the suspense and the totally different spin to other books I have read had me from book to book. First one was an actual book, the Blue flower of some kind) - sorry, can't remember, and from there went into trying to find the next two, Black Rose and Red Lily - sat up late reading them in stages due to limited time - when ghosts appear in books, I'm a little skeptical, but this story weaved perfectly throughout the stories - each flower addresses a different woman in the series, all part of a "family" - great story telling and magically done with great characters, and very, very believable.
I’m a big fan of the trilogies and found this one to be one of my favorites. The characters were well developed and even tho we can generally assume the happy ending it was presented well with enough suspense and mystery.