Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: The Last Boyfriend

The Last Boyfriend
Nora Roberts
Contemporary Romance
Inn BoonesBoro Trilogy/Book 2
Berkley/May 1, 2012

Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family's construction business with an iron fist - and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers bust on his compulsive list-making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn't plan for was Avery McTavish... 

Avery's popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation - and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery's thoughts. But the attraction she's feeling for him now is far from innocent. 

As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of Boonsboro a reason to celebrate. But Owen's hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected - and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last...

When I opened my print copy of The Last Boyfriend, I couldn't help but look through the lists of published works by Ms. Roberts and her alter-ego J. D. Robb.  It's an impressive collection of single titles, trilogies, series and anthologies.  And while I haven't even come close to reading every book listed, I have enjoyed many and look forward to enjoying many more!

The friends-to-lovers trope is one of my favorites.  The appeal is the solid friendship at the core of the relationship and seeing how that evolves into the attraction and love of the couple.   Own and Avery grew up together, their fathers were best friends so you would think Owen might view Avery as more of a sister than a love interesting and you would be right.  But children grow up and their viewpoints change, sometimes with a little help.

Owen isn't an alpha hero at first glance.  He's anal to the nth degree with his lists, spreadsheets and compulsive neurotic planning.  He gave me the impression of cute, nerdy guy who's a sweetheart, always putting his family and friends first.  Then we get the scenes with Owen working with his tools and I realize that he may be a nerd but he's got muscles other than his brain and he knows how to use them.  Owen is the best of both worlds - sexy, hunky geek.   Own is easy to like and I enjoyed seeing him try to break away from his strict regiment to loosen up a bit, with Avery's help of course.

Avery McTavish is an independent woman who owns the local pizza parlor.  She's worked very hard at making Vesta Pizzaria a success and while her business is doing well, her love life has stalled out.  Could be because she's carrying a torch for her first boyfriend?  Avery is another character that is easy to like and I could see hanging out with if she were a real person.  She's funny, kind and loyal to her friends.  Blunt at times, but has a good heart.  Avery and Owen already have a good relationship but you can feel that there's something missing.  It's a solid relationship but an outsider, in this case the reader, can see that it has the potential for much more.

As Owen and Avery explore their romantic side, they come up against some problems of getting romantically involved with a friend.  Number one being, what happens to the friendship if the romance doesn't work out?  Neither wants to lose their friendship and this is something that they struggle with.  I did like how it was dealt with but had a hard time wondering why these two, who have such strong chemistry hadn't done something about it sooner.

The renovations continue at the Inn Boonsboro with all three Montgomery brothers, along with their mother, involved in the project and preparing for the big opening.  Innkeeper Hope Beaumont is also heavily involved in the details and is about as list crazy as Owen.  It's been pretty obvious from book one who Hope will be paired up with.  I'm actually looking forward to their story but more for the hero than for Hope.  Just haven't warmed up to her yet.

There is quiet a bit of time devoted to describing, in detail, the renovations being done to the Inn - the decorations, furnishing, paint color, menu etc.  And while I like the details, they became too much and made me feel as if I was in a HGTV show.  I wanted more of Owen and Avery and less paint colors and menu planning.  Avery is pretty standard fair when it comes to heroines but Owen is that elusive beta hero with a dash of alpha thrown in.  I would have liked more of them and their romance.

One ongoing story line is of the resident ghost of the Inn.  It's kinda cute, kinda sad and kinda silly but it does add a sprinkle of whimsy to the mix without being too annoying.  And progress is made as to who the ghost is and why they continue to haunted the Inn.  I don't usually care for ghosts but I think I have a bit more tolerance for this one since it reminds me of a show I watched as a kid, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  A classic!

The Last Boyfriend is a sweet, often very funny story with romance and family at it's center.  The family is well represented but the romance, even with some tender and humorous scenes felt like it was giving up the spotlight too often to the Inn. 

Rating: B 

Inn Boonsboro Trilogy ~

The Next Always
The Last Boyfriend
The Perfect Hope


  1. I just picked this book up from the library so will be reading it in the next couple of weeks. I am sure I will like it but I am trying to keep my expectations down a bit after the last book which I thought was serviceable but not brilliant.

  2. Marg ~ So far I like the series but it hasn't blown me away or left me anxious for the next installment. It's okay but going in with low expectations is probably a good idea.

  3. Leslie, I agree with your take on this book. More Owen and Avery, more chemistry and sizzle, less HGTV moments. They were both such likable characters though... it's hard not to like all the characters in this series. I am still looking forward to Ryder's book and hope he'll lend some pizzaz and maybe passion to it. :D

  4. I agree that the book should have focused a bit more on Owen and Avery, but I understand where the author is coming from. I mean, if the H/H is going to have minimum conflict, you kind of need to fill the pages with something else.

    I liked this book though. I just liked Owen and Avery together, but most specifically Owen ;) I just wished he'd been even more anal.

    Nice set up for the last book. This trilogy definitively isn't the best, but who knows, NR can blow our minds out with her next series :P

  5. Hils~ Agree about Ryder's book. One thing I'm sure we'll get a lot of arguments. LOL

    Nath ~ Ha! Could Owen have been more anal?