I haven't read a Nora Roberts book that I’ve disliked as much as Homeport. Okay, that’s not true. Daring to Dream (Dream Trilogy #1)|was awful too. Well, as awful as a book by Nora Roberts can be. Readers with better taste than me love it but I thought Josh was spoiled and Margo was whiny and spoiled. Together they were insufferable. But this sort of thing is atypical of a Nora Roberts book. She almost always excels at creating likable characters and I usually love them but not-so-much this time around. Actually, not at all this time around.
I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook on 16 discs and I rarely stop an audio unfinished. It’s just a thing with me. Trap me in a car and I will listen to anything even if it’s boring and annoying. I guess this book is proof of that.
Homeport starts out well enough. Miranda is accosted by a knife wielding cretin wearing a mask. She can only see his scary brown eyes. He bangs her around, stabs her tires and steals her briefcase and pocketbook. She dies but returns as a vengeful spirit bent on ridding the world of gorgeous, lying thieves; after she seduces them, of course.
Sadly she lives, the thief escapes and the tedium begins. Her mother demands she fly to Italy to verify the authenticity of a newly discovered artifact. It’s real, she gleefully declares! It’s the find of a lifetime and will make her career. But alas, bad things happen, the brass is declared a fake and she is ruined. Whoops. Her own mother (who owns the company) sends her home to Maine with her tail between her legs. Miranda is determined to ferret out the truth because she suspects something fishy is going on. She knows she did not make a mistake. She is too awesome for that and she will be avenged! Unfortunately she meets a cute but bossy as hell thief named Ryan and her brains fly out of her head. She allows him to call her an idiot (it’s true, but still . . .) and tell her what to do and when to do it and somewhere along the line they fall into bed and discover the truth behind the “mystery”. But only after many innocent people die because of their ineptitude.
I'll just come out and say it. I did not like Ryan or Miranda. Miranda is a doormat of a woman who holds a doctorate in something fancy but has absolutely no mind or spine of her own when it comes to real life matters. She has spent her life trying to please a mother who seems to despise her. She doesn’t stand up to her parents because “it hurts me” and “I do what I’m told.” Yes, this really is what the dolt says. I rewound to be certain because I thought my ears might've been fooling me.
Though Miranda’s ego is enormous when it comes to her career; her common sense is non-existent. She is being stalked and sent threatening faxes but doesn’t think to tell anyone. People attached to her are dropping dead and she doesn’t stop to consider that she might be a target? WTH? She allows slimy Ryan who fully intends to steal from her after they’ve gotten all lovey-dovey, to boss her around and take charge and she just follows his lead. She and everyone else in the story find him charming but he doesn’t fool me. He is a shifty, selfish and often rude scoundrel who gets by on his good looks and is only out for himself. If he falls in love (I still don’t believe he does) it’s totally by accident and I had zero faith he wouldn’t stray as soon as something pretty caught his eye.
This story was a dismal failure for me. The mystery was “meh” and the romance was not believable. The only things going for it were Miranda’s brother Andrew (messed up but sympathetic) and Ryan’s interactions with his large family. Those were bright spots but they were far from the focus of the book, which is a shame.
The narration was decent, if a little remote at times, with the exception of any characters with an accent. Ryan’s mom sounds like a silly Italian stereotype and the Maine characters were voiced strangely. Did this narrator never hear a Maine accent before attempting one? She gives them a weird almost Irish brogue. This makes Annie, a secondary character in her early 30’s, sound like a matronly Irishwoman transplanted to Maine. It was disconcerting.
In the end, a feeling of I don't give a crap how this ends as long as it ends washed over me and that's never a good thing.