Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

Monday, June 22, 2009

Teaser: Jack Mercy had three daughters by three separate women. Two of the mothers, he managed to pay off to get them of out his sight, and one daughter he was stuck with because her mother died before he could kick her out. Combine these activities with his successful Montana ranch and you have the legacy of Jack Mercy.

The story begins on the day of his funeral, the three sisters would meet for the first time. Tess, the oldest, is a screen writer from Hollywood. Lily is on the run from an abusive ex-husband in South Carolina. And Willa, a cowgirl without an soft bone in her body, lives and breathes the Montana ranch that Jack left behind.

As the lawyer reads the conditions of the will, the three sisters realize that their lives are about to change. In order to inherit the ranch, all three of them must live together on the property for an entire year. Jack just wasn't a controlling jerk in life, he continues through death.

Short Thought: My favorite book by Nora Roberts yet. Absolutely brilliant.

Expanded Thought: I loved this novel overall. It is different from a lot of the other novels like this in that there are three separate and connected female protagonists each with flaws and room for personal growth. It makes it more difficult for the reader to become bored or predict the future events. You get to see three exciting romances develop as the women grow into their own and heal and how it affects the storyline as a whole.

Some people have turned their nose up at this novel. One of the main complaints with it is that there is scenes of animal mutilation (of butchering) in it. (Someone is lurking around the ranch and butchering some of its animals and leaving them to intimidate the sisters into breaking the will. The unsub, unidentified subject, later escalates to human projects.)

Now, I am an animal lover, and I thought the scenes were just fine. They added to the story, and really had the reader feeling a dash of the horror that Lily and Tess must have felt. It was also fitting in with the rancher theme. Personally I believe if people were so bothered by the butchery descriptions, why weren't they bothered by the descriptions of the ranch activities? (like bull neutering and calf birthing) I mean, really, where do these people think their meat comes from? If you are going to eat it, don't turn your nose up at things like this. (I worked at a place for awhile where I had to butcher pigs and chickens that were shipped in. Perhaps, this makes me a little more immune to this foolishness.) The way I see it, if you eat burgers, you cannot find any fault with this story. If you're a full-time vegan, I humbly accept your stance and will enjoy my turkey burger.

I personally think that the gruesome goodness made this novel into the success that it still is today. It sets it apart from the linear, warm fuzzies in the genre. Nora Roberts proves that you can have a mystery in the romance genre that is as gritty and complex as the more masculine counterparts. It says a lot for women's literature in my opinion.

In closing, I think this was a brilliant and complex mystery. Each of the sisters had their own storyline that was so good it could have stood on it own. It is further enhanced in that each of the sisters play off of each other to form a beautiful vibe and flow. It's truly a mystery you cannot miss. It's just brilliant.

Additional Notes: This novel has mild sexual themes, dark themes, and scenes of animal butchery.

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