Born In Fire
Born In Ice
Born In Shame
Captive Star
Carolina Moon
Daring To Dream
Finding the Dream
From The Heart
Hidden Star
Holding the Dream
Inner Harbor
Jewels of the Sun
The MacGregor Brides
The MacGregor Grooms
The MacGregors Alan~Grant
Megan's Mate
Montana Sky
Once Upon a Castle
The Perfect Neighbor
The Reef
Rising Tides
River's End
Secret Star
True Betrayals
Waiting for Nick
The Winning Hand

As J. D. Robb

Ceremony in Death
Conspiracy in Death
Holiday in Death
Immortal In Death
Loyalty in Death
Rapture in Death
Silent Night
Vengeance in Death
Witness in Death

Irish Rebel by Nora Roberts
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1328, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-24328-6
Nora Roberts has written so many books and has sustained such a high level of writing for so long, that I suppose it is inevitable that she occasionally repeats herself. I have to admit that as I was reading Irish Rebel I had a serious case of deja vue.

I have met Brian Donnelly before; he’s the man who doesn’t believe in settling down, doesn’t want any ties. The prototypical rolling stone. I have met Keeley Grant before; she’s the daughter of wealth who nonetheless has a strong work ethic. I have also visited the setting of Irish Rebel before: the world of thoroughbred breeding, training and racing.

Brian has come from Ireland to Maryland to interview for the position of head trainer at Travis Grant’s famous Royal Meadows Farm. He arranges to meet his prospective employer at a country club dinner. Immediately we are made aware of Brian’s plebeian roots and his suspicions of the rich owners with whom he must associate. As the Grant family enters, Brian is immediately struck by the eldest daughter, Keeley. Of course, he assumes that she is not for him and that she is one of the spoiled, idle rich. Of course, they have an immediate confrontation. Keeley thinks Brian is just a bit pushy, but she’s intrigued.

Thus, Roberts provides a fairly standard set up for a Cinderfella story.

Brian discovers that the Grants are not typical owners and that Keeley is no member of the idle rich. In fact, she won an Olympic medal for riding and now runs a riding academy which helps poor abused children recover from the trauma of their lives. She rescues mistreated horses as well as mistreated children. And Brian’s attraction grows.

Keeley begins to fall for Brian in a big way when she sees him work with the horses. She can see that he is soft on the inside, however hard his outside. All seems to be going well until Brian discovers Keeley’s big secret: she’s inexperienced. He backs off, so Keeley must become the pursuer, and this was the most fun part of the book. Keeley is no shrinking violet and Brian doesn’t have a chance despite his fear of settling down and his belief that he shouldn’t be aspiring to his boss’s daughter.

Irish Rebel contains plenty of Roberts’ lively dialogue. It has her trademark sensuality quotient. It includes a lot of details about the horse world, which the author obviously loves and apparently knows quite a bit about. It reintroduces the Grant family from Roberts’ first book, Irish Thoroughbred. It is nice to see that Travis and Adelia are still in love after five children and twenty-five plus years.

As I was thinking of my rating for this book, I realized that by my own criteria, Irish Rebel is only an average book. I usually read a Nora Roberts’ book as quickly as possible, but it took me two days to get through the first half. I fear the book was just too familiar. The second half picked up quite a bit and I finished it in a single sitting.

Still, an average Roberts’ book offers a pretty high entertainment quotient. Perhaps readers who are not as familiar with her work will not suffer from the same degree of deja vue.

--Jean Mason

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