cover image The Next Always

The Next Always

Nora Roberts. Berkley, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-425-24321-3

Perennial bestseller Roberts draws extensively on her experiences of renovating and operating Inn BoonsBoro for this trilogy launch not so much set in as advertising the bed-and-breakfast and its adorable neighboring town. Architect Beckett Montgomery has had a crush on Clare Brewster since high school, and sparks finally fly between them when Clare gets involved in the work of restoring the historic Maryland hotel. The widowed Clare has a bookstore to run and three small boys to take care of, but Beckett reminds her how to lean on others for help and fall in love again. Roberts paints a charming picture of smalltown life with likable characters, but supernatural thriller elements feel out of place in the bucolic contemporary setting, and too much detail about the nuts and bolts of the inn’s restoration slows down the story. (Nov.)