Review: Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts

May Contain Spoilers

Sadly, this book did not stand up to the test of time. Irish Thoroughbred is the very first Nora Roberts book I ever read, and I remember latching onto it because there was a teeny illustration of a horse on the cover. Silhouette Romance was still the new kid on the category romance block, and oh, how I loved them. The authors seemed edgier than the then current Harlequin crop, and most of the books were set in the US, or had American heroines. I gobbled these up, and Nora Roberts was a favorite. I could wax poetic on some of those older series romances, but that will have to wait for another day. The tingle of nostalgia, to this day, makes me smile.

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy my re-read as much as the first time I picked up this book (I had just started high school). Everything I liked about it before, grated on my nerves now. Romance, in general, has changed (thank goodness!), and this was just too old skool for me. The constant bickering between Adelia and Travis got on my nerves. Other than them snapping at each other, there was nothing to make me think they felt anything for each other besides annoyance. There was no chemistry, and the forced kisses – nah, that just doesn’t work for me anymore. Nowadays I want tension in my romances, not questionable consent.

Adelia both irritated and charmed. When she first arrives from Ireland, she is wowed by Travis’ horse farm. Compared to the family farm she had to sell to pay bills, it’s elegant and almost like something out of a fairy tale. The living quarters she’ll be sharing with her uncle are glamorous in comparison to her old home. Now she’s not expected to do anything, which grates on her. Used to working from dawn until dusk, she is eager to help her uncle with the horses, and proves her worth when she’s able to climb aboard a troublesome colt and get him to concentrate on his job – running around a race track.  She has an almost mystical way of communicating with animals and Travis’ young nephews. But to have a civil conversation with Travis? It’s not happening.

While my memories of this book were fonder than my actual experience re-reading it decades later, I don’t regret checking this out of the library. The romance genre has changed so much from the days when I poured over Harlequin Romances acquired from garage sales, which meant they were ancient before I got them, and it’s been a fun journey down memory lane.

Grade: 2.75 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Adelia Cunnane’s uncle had written her. So Adelia had left Ireland to join him on what he had described as the finest horse farm in Maryland.
Adelia agreed with her uncle about the farm. But what should she think about its owner, Travis Grant?
She knew that he could master his strongest horse. She had seen his eyes soften at the birth of a foal. Yet his lips on hers demanded a submission that she was not yet ready to give — at least not until he had spoken the words she had to hear.