The whole town of Boonsboro, Maryland is interested in the construction project that's taking place at the Inn BoonsBoro in the center of town. Shrouded in secrecy by the tarps that cover its exterior, the hotel has been a Boonsboro landmark for over two centuries. Now the Montgomery brothers --- Ryder, Owen and Beckett --- and their mother, Justine, are restoring the old inn to its former beauty while adding a plethora of modern conveniences. As she runs her small bookstore across the street from the inn, Clare Brewster watches the progress of the construction with avid interest and the comings and goings of one Montgomery brother in particular, Beckett.
"Readers will love the homey, small-town atmosphere, the close relationships of family and friends, and the romantic intensity for which [Roberts] is so famous."
Clare, a widow who's raising three small sons, has recently returned to her hometown of BoonsBoro after the death of her husband, Clint. In spite of her tragedy, this war widow has adjusted to civilian life by assuming ownership of the Turn The Page Bookstore and reconnecting with her old friend, Avery, who owns and runs the Vesta Pizzeria. Little did Clare know, when she left town with Clint at age 19 for a career as a military wife, that Beckett had had a crush on her for years. Now that she's back and available, Beckett can't help wondering if there's any chance of a love match between them.
With the Montgomery family up to their necks in the work surrounding the refurbishment of the Inn BoonsBoro, Clare is only too glad to step in and offer her assistance. As she agrees to write the copy for the inn's brochure and stock the on-site library with books, Clare is slowly drawn into the pleasurable historic project and into Beckett's arms as well. When it's time to hire an innkeeper, Clare and Avery recommend their dear friend, Hope, for the position. If Hope garners the job, the three women will be an unstoppable force once they're reunited in Boonsboro.
As the relationship between Clare and Beckett grows, there's one person who's not happy about it. Sam Freemont, a local businessman and heir to old family money, has other plans for Clare, and he doesn't appreciate Beckett’s intrusion. Unfortunately, while Clare has made her disinterest in Sam obvious, he isn't a man to bow out gracefully. As Clare and Beckett steal romantic moments together between his construction obligations and her full-time work and mom duties, their attraction and affection grow. It's simply a question of whether or not they'll be able to forge a relationship amidst all the turmoil of their respective lives.
THE NEXT ALWAYS is the first book in a trilogy by Nora Roberts that includes the upcoming novels THE LAST BOYFRIEND and THE PERFECT HOPE. Readers will love the homey, small-town atmosphere, the close relationships of family and friends, and the romantic intensity for which she is so famous. On a side note, the buildings in book one actually exist in the real town of Boonsboro, Maryland, including the Inn BoonsBoro, which is owned by the author and her husband, Bruce Wilder. Roberts has taken advantage of a real-life setting and used it as a jumping-off point to create the first, fascinating fictional story in this series.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on November 10, 2011