If the definition of a keeper is a book that you'll want to read again, a second or third time, one that makes you smile when you remember parts of it, one that will stay on your night stand so that you can pick it up and enjoy it whenever the mood strikes, then Considering Kate, the newest book in the Stanislaski series, is a keeper with a capital K.
Kate Stanislaski Kimball is the youngest daughter of Natasha and Spencer Kimball, whom we met in Taming Natasha (SSE 583). Kate is giving up her life as a ballerina in New York and is coming home to West Virginia. She's fallen in love with an old building and wants to convert it to the Kimball School of Dance. When her mother introduces her to a contractor, Kate has high hopes that she'll be able to mix business and pleasure with this hunk.
Single dad Brody O'Connell is attracted to Kate, but Brody also knows that he won't do anything to shortchange his time with his six-year-old son Jack. Yes, this contractor will renovate Kate's old building, but Brody also knows that his ‘beer' lifestyle won't mesh with her ‘champagne' one. What Brody doesn't know is that while Kate might have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she's just as comfortable with stainless steel
spoons and forks.
Kate and Brody start out unevenly matched. She's a steamroller, knowing what she wants and how to get it. Her life is charmed, which has given her an abundance of self-confidence and a healthy ego. She wants Brody but getting him to fall for her may be more work than she's anticipated, but she's in it for the long haul.
Brody starts out will less self-confidence and a battered ego, but when he does cut loose, he's wonderful. Kate has overhead him tell a friend that they aren't involved and has a hissy fit. In a fit of his own, Brady throws her over his shoulder and walks up to people, announcing to any and all who will listen that Kate is his ‘girlfriend.'
Brody has his doubts that he's the right person for a ballerina, considering that he's never been to the ballet. You gotta love his friend's description of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. "Giant mice, sword fights, big-ass Christmas tree. The rest was just people jumping and twirling, if you ask me. Takes all kinds."
Children are frequently an iffy proposition in a story, but Nora excels with Jack, Brody's six-year-old son. He's a charmer. Anytime he's on the pages, the story shines. A poignant scene near the end of the story makes this book all the more special.
As with all of Nora Roberts' series stories, we're treated to a visit with old friends, in this case the Stanislaski family. With the original brothers and sisters all married and with grown children, the likelihood of meeting them in future books is something I'd lay odds on. A strong contender for his own story is Kate's older brother, Brandon, who's a pro
baseball player. Those of you who've been reading Nora Roberts for a long, long time will recognize Ruth Bannion and Nickolai Davidov in their cameo appearances.
Trying to analyze what makes Nora Roberts' books work for me is like trying to explain why water is wet. I dunno. It just is. Just that basically, Nora's writing appeals to me. I like her characters. They rarely have an overabundance of crippling angst or childhood demons. They're frequently financially comfortable, so money worries aren't center-stage. There's usually an initial attraction, but the characters aren't pushovers. They have to be convinced, but the push is realistic, enjoyable and witty.
In addition to her characters, I LOVE her dialog. It never sounds stilted or artificial. These people are real. In addition to talking like you and me, they're funny. Witty dialog, conversation that makes me grin or laugh out loud . . . well, Nora Roberts definitely knows how to make me smile.
Yes, Nora's books have a similarity and if you've read one, ten, twenty, then you know what you're getting. That's like saying that if you've had one, ten, twenty pieces of Godiva chocolate, you know what you're getting. Does that mean that you don't need or want any more? Fat chance to both!
There's a reason that Nora Roberts is the best-selling romance author ever. She's stayed faithful to her roots and has consistently told a good tale. Considering Kate is just one more example of the quality for which she's known and loved.