Second Bookses

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Rafe and Jared: The MacKade Brothers

The MacKade Brothers: Rafe and Jared - Nora Roberts One of nicest things about my love of Nora Roberts books for summer reading material is that my mother and my sister enjoy her novels, too. (And that's really saying something, since my sister has never been a reader.) As a result, I probably get to read far more of Roberts' novels than I would otherwise, since we all swap our books around. One that my sister picked up that was a favorite was Rafe and Jared: The Mackade Brothers, a repackaging of two of Roberts' novels for Silhouette Books from the mid-1990s.::: I'd Take Any One of the Four, Thank You :::Rafe and Jared: The Mackade Brothers contains two novels: The Return of Rafe Mackade and The Pride of Jared Mackade. The first novel introduces us to the Mackades, the bad boys of Antietam, Maryland, home of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Rafe is the second-oldest of four boys who were known in their youth as boys to watch out for, but, unlike his brothers, Rafe left Antietam to make his life elsewhere. Now, he's returned, bought an old Civil-War-era house rumored to be haunted, and has plans to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast.On his return to town, he meets Regan Jones, a relative newcomer to the small community. Regan is an antiques dealer and decorator, and Rafe hires her to decorate and furnish the place he is working on. Of course, this is a romance novel, so of course the two fall for each other, running into a few expected snags along he way, including Regan's reluctance to get involved with anyone, and the spousal abuse of a mutual friend, Cassie, who works in the town diner.The Pride of Jared Mackade begins where The Return of Rafe Mackade leaves off. Rafe and Regan are married (of course), but Jared has recently moved back to the family farm after the demise of his own marriage to a woman who was very cold and antiseptic. Doing a favor for a fellow lawyer, Jared meets Savannah Morningstar, a single mother and newcomer to Antietam. Savannah is anything but cold; part Native American, she has made her way in life after being abandoned by both the father of her son as well as her own father by the skin of her teeth, and has as much of a checkered past as the wild Mackade brothers.Jared is intrigued by Savannah, both by the woman and the artist, but is having trouble reconciling her past with their future together. All the Mackade brothers as well as Cassie and her children appear in this novel as well, and blurbs at the beginning of the book advertise another combination book that was released after Rafe and Jared: The Mackade Brothers, with the stories of the other two brothers: Devin the sheriff and Shane who stayed on the family farm.::: Great Characters, A Little Flat :::One of the best things about Nora Roberts (and probably the reason she's had so many New York Times bestsellers) is that she dives right into the lives of her characters. A story involving an Irish barkeep will have the details of drawing a Guiness draft down pat.The two stories contained in this book, however, were originally published under the Silhouette line, which generally publishes shorter romance novels (four a month, if I remember correctly). As a result, Rafe and Jared: The Mackade Brothers lacks some of the incredible detail that most of Roberts' other novels have.However, the characters are richly drawn, and the addition of the background of the Civil War battle and a legend about two young soliders who meet and die nameless definitely adds an edge that most novels in this shorter romance format don't have. Roberts also has a skill at series novels, where you grow attached to a set of characters, and eagerly anticipate finding out where they go after the novel you are reading ends, as well as want to find out who falls in love next. I have no doubt that Cassie and Devin will be a couple, and I just need to get my hands on the next combination book from either my mother or sister to find out.Rafe and Jared: The Mackade Brothers is a great summer read, not too deep, not too involved, but with engaging characters and enough plot so that you don't find yourself bored with the formula.This review originally published at Epinions:

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