Book Review: Nora Roberts’ The Next Always

Posted July 18, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Nora Roberts’ The Next Always

The Next Always


Nora Roberts

contemporary romance that was published by Berkley on November 1, 2011 and has 353 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Irish Hearts, Montana Sky, Carnal Innocence, Playing the Odds, Second Nature, One Summer, Nora Robert, Serena * Caine, Daniel * Ian, Rebellion, Alan * Grant, The Witness, The Search, Time and Again, Shadow Spell, Blood Magick, The Last Boyfriend, The Perfect Hope, Irish Rebel

First in the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy romance and revolving around an inn that is being restored. Yes, there are people as well, lol, the Montgomery family of brothers who are interested in a trio of girlfriends. The couple focus in The Next Always is on Clare Murphy Brewster and Beckett Montgomery.

My Take

It’s a lovely, comfy start if you’re into history and old buildings that segues into a sadness for a derelict building. I do love Roberts’ poetic language as she describes the old inn’s decay — it’s a gorgeous (!!!) example of show. Roberts makes you see how battered and worn the old stone building is much more graphically than merely saying “a derelict building”.

You will find yourself wishing that all contractors had this attention to detail and quality. The inspiration to name the rooms for romantic couples in literature is inspired, and yes, lol, Eve and Roarke make it in. And speaking of Eve and Roarke, ya gotta love, ahem, characters who like reading the same authors as yourself. Authors like John Sandford and Walter Mosley. Justine is an absolute force of nature when it comes to decorating the rooms and the additional projects she piles on, lol.

I love it! I love it! Man Night! Men, if you’re dating a mom (or have your own kids!) ya gotta read about Man Night, lolololol. Beckett cracks me up with his “interpretation” of why the boys want a Barbie. Omigod, I practically peed my pants laughing. And Beckett simply keeps going with that Halloween costume he creates: Carpenter X, standing up for truth, justice, and square corners.

“‘Hey, kids okay?’

‘Yeah, no problem. We sold the older two for twenty each to a traveling circus. Let the runt go for a six-pack.'”

There’s an appreciation for the hard work moms do every day. It’s dealing with sickness, homework, puppies, and battling germs.

“‘Are you still apart?’

‘Apart from what?’

‘You said you had to get yourself together. Are you still apart?'”

Moms aren’t the only topic waded through as Roberts delves into construction, code inspections, woodworking, and inn décor. I couldn’t figure out which parts of the story I fell more in love with than Clare’s bookstore, Justine decorating the inn, the woodworking and building of the inn, or Avery’s pizzeria — yum!

There’s no lacking an attention to detail when it comes to friendship either — love the imagery of that wailing wall, lol. It’s a nice twist with the golden couple and a woman who loves sex and joins in joyfully. Ya gotta hand it to Roberts on those sex scenes as well as she writes great sex without any of those erotic details.

Whew, that ghostly help in the steam comes in right handy. Lizzie is a treat in this as she slowly forces the brothers and others to acknowledge her presence.

I’m not sure if Roberts planned on keeping the story soft by not paying too much attention to Beck’s brothers teasing him about getting caught up with a family and not being able to chase any more women or what. If it was the plan, it worked. Another couple of snit fits on my part are Clare’s sudden flare-up of her own snit fit about being independent. This simply wasn’t that believable, instead it functioned more as a sudden blip. The second one was how overdone Freemont was, but it did get the point across. Whew.

More of the positives were the police, well, I should say was since Reeder is the only cop with a definite appearance in The Next Always. Justine has more energy than the Energizer Bunny the way she piles those projects on. They are good ones. I love the idea of the art gallery. It all ties in with one of Roberts’ message: one of valuing your community. I also like that each of the characters is introspective and willing to discuss what they learn.

I wanna book a room!

The Story

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look … at the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour — one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new — and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next…

The Characters

Turn That Page is the bookstore owned by Clare Murphy Brewster, a widow with three sons: Harry, Liam, and Murphy whose dreams come true with Kenobi “Ben” and Yoda, lol. Clint is the husband cut down by an Iraqi sniper.

Joe and Alva are Clint’s parents. Rosie and Ed Murphy are her supportive parents. Laurie (Tyler is her sweetie), Cassie, and Charlene Reeder are her employees. Ada Ridenour had been a math teacher. Now that she’s retired, she’s babysitting. Lynn Barney is another babysitter, and she has a daughter, Mazie.

The family business is…
Montgomery Family Contractors, and the three brothers feel the need to restore the old inn. Beckett is the architect with an eye for detail — and the ladies. Ryder, the eldest brother, is the head contractor who worries over schedules. Dumbass, a.k.a., D.A., is his devoted mutt. Owen, the middle brother, obsessed with schedules and supplies. Justine is Mom, and she and Aunt Carolee (assistant innkeeper) are having a blast buying furniture and more for the inn, choosing pieces for each room to enhance the happy couple for whom the room is named. Atticus “Cus” is Mom’s Lab-retriever mix. Finch is his ball-obsessed brother. Mike is one of their employees.

Avery McTavish owns Vesta Pizzeria and Restaurant. Frannie is her second-in-command. Steve is the dishwasher. Heather is one of her waitresses while Wendi is her soon-to-be-gone employee. Willy B is Avery’s dad and does amazing metalwork. Thomas Montgomery had been his best friend, and I suspect he and Justine have sumpin’ goin’ on *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

The classy Hope Beaumont runs the Wickham in D.C. and is experiencing a life-changing event.

Madeline Cramer will run the arts and crafts gallery.

Sam Freemont is the overindulged, clueless idiot who doesn’t understand no.

Dick works at Sherry’s Beauty Salon. Karen Abbott was supposed to be the innkeeper until events derailed her. Chad is her college-age son. Jeff Corver is part of the derailment. Lindsay is pleased her young daughter, Zoe, loves books. Darla and Denny Moser were Freemont’s unfortunate targets. Elizabeth is the ghost. Mr. Schroeder was the hated history teacher. Charlie Reeder was complicit and is now a town cop. Luther is a blacksmith.

The Cover and Title

The cover is softly welcoming in its pinks. The glossy wooden porch with iron railings alongside the steps, pink flowers in graceful urns with the twin carriage lamps on either side of the opened door inset with stained glass, a sheer curtain billowing within. It’s not just the door that welcomes us but the pink petals inviting us inside.

I’m guessing the title is the Montgomerys hopes for the future, The Next Always, as the Inn continues to live…and thrive.