Homeport by Nora Roberts
Dr. Miranda Jones, an expert on authenticating Italian Renaissance bronzes, has the opportunity of a lifetime. She is called to Italy by her mother to authenticate a 15th century bronze, The Dark Lady, but her trip is delayed when she is mugged outside her house. After testing the bronze, Miranda is certain that it is an undiscovered work of a young Michelangelo, but this information is leaked to the press and she is fired. Later the bronze is discovered to be a fake, and her reputation is ruined. Shortly after the Renaissance bronze David is stolen from Miranda’s Institute, Miranda is forcibly woken in the night by the professional art thief, Ryan, who is furious that the stolen bronze was a fake. Miranda is certain she could not have been wrong, so she makes a deal with Ryan – they will work to find the real bronzes together. Their trip to Italy turns romantic, as each realizes their attraction, until the death of a co-worker sends them back to Maine. Mysterious deaths of people who worked with the bronzes, as well as threatening anonymous faxes sent to Miranda, set the uneasy tone of the book. A side story about Miranda’s brother Andrew’s drinking problem, recent divorce, and attempt to pull his life together flows nicely into the plot. The Jones’ curse, the inability for a Jones to ever have a successful relationship, stands between Miranda and Ryan. While some parts of the story are predictable, the ending is unexpected. This suspenseful page-turner of art, family and romance gets harder to put down the longer you read.
I found I enjoyed Homeport more than I expected. At first, I thought it was boring and hard to get in to. The main character was mugged at the very beginning, and I found it difficult to figure out why I cared about that or how that was an engaging beginning when it made no sense. The fact that no other events like that happened for awhile made it seem stranger. After the story was done beginning (100 pages or so), the fast pacing set in, the sexy art thief showed up, and the book began to get interesting. I was shocked that sex scenes didn’t occur until after halfway through the book. It didn’t seem like too much sex, like I thought it might be, but the amount did increase as the book continued. By the end of the book, the suspenseful fast-pacing was almost annoying, and I found I kept checking how many pages left until resolution.
While I was quickly able to predict what went wrong in the book, I had no idea who the anonymous threat was. I was shocked at the end, but the shock quickly wore off due to the ridiculous story as to why this character did everything. I know I’m vague, but I prefer not to add a spoiler. At the very least, I find it difficult to believe anyone could be so jealous as to commit murders. Homeport is not one of my favorite books, but I do not regret reading it. My final impression is that the book is okay, which gives it a 2 on Goodreads.
Appeals: Fast Pacing, Suspenseful Tone, Romantic
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