Books Reviews: The MacKade brothers (Nora Roberts)

Hi There! Today I am putting four books into one post – it seems a lot but it is an entire series and just seems easier that way. Enjoy!

Book One: The Return of Rafe MacKade

Book: 79/100

Rafe MacKade leaves the small southern town of Antietam to get a grip on his life and to find out who he really is. Years later, he returns to the place he grew up with big plans – to restore the old Barlow house and open it as an inn. His brothers Jared, Devin and Shane are equally as headstrong as he and they are all known around town with a bit of dark glamor.

Regan Bishop is new enough in town to have never met Rafe. She meets Rafe when she has coffee with her friend Cassie Dolin. Cassie is one of the people who have known the MacKade brothers from childhood because she also grew up with them. Regan constantly tries to get Cassie to leave her abusive husband Joe, but it is only until he nearly kills her that she has him arrested and files for divorce. Rafe seems like a rough guy but Regan immediately notices his kindness towards Cassie and realizes that he is more than just a man with a short temper.

As owner of an exclusive Antique shop in town, Past Times, Rafe contracts Regan for redecorating the inn once finished, and they work together on ideas. They stumble across the ghosts of the inn, who have been there since the Civil war. The ghosts are never violent, but it still leads to some entertaining times.

When Cassie files for divorce Joe is furious and heads to Regan’s apartment where Cassie and her children are temporarily living. He nearly rapes Regan but she manages to escape. She goes to the Rafe’s brother, Police Chief Devin MacKade and he arrests Joe. Rafe is furious with her for not going to him first, and says it is because she needs to prove that she doesn’t need him in her life.

Will they be able to get through their differences and clashing personalities? Is this the last of Joe Dolin?

Rating: 5.5/10

None of the books in the series was a bad read. It was nice enough, just very basic and no surprises anywhere. These are all very manly men, and it is obvious the books were written in the 90’s, where most men were still adjusting to women being able to take care of themselves and having “little lady” thoughts. I found all four MacKades a bit ridiculously written – big, manly men who love to fight with each other and for family honor.

I enjoyed the first book in the series even though nothing ground-breaking takes place. It keeps a steady pace and is a quick read. Joe Dolin was a well written bastard and I have to admit I enjoyed all the times Rafe and his brothers punched him or wanted to punch him.

Book Two: The Pride of Jared MacKade

Book: 80/100

Jared MacKade, the suave lawyer, meets Savannah Morningstar when he does a favor to a colleague and contacts her with regards to her father’s will. She is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, but she is surprising uncooperative and rapidly annoys him. She doesn’t want money from her deceased father – after he threw her out when she became pregnant as a teenager, she never contacted him again. She raised her son Bryan and did an excellent job – he is outgoing, confident and intelligent eleven year old boy. He becomes friends with Connor Dolin, Cassie’s young son who is severely withdrawn because of his abusive upbringing, even though his father is now in jail. She promises Bryan that they are in Antietam to stay, and he blossoms in his new life. It is Bryan that eventually gets Savannah to accept the money – it means that she can start a college fund for her boy.

Savannah constantly feels unworthy in Jared’s world.  Even though she is outrageously beautiful, she never finished school and feels like the village idiot compared to his lawyer degree. She works through her insecurities, but she isn’t the problem – Jared is. He is constantly tortured by the thoughts that she prostituted herself to make ends meet. He assumes this, never verifying facts, and Savannah is horrified and angry when she finds out what he thinks of her.

Will their relationship survive Jared’s Pride?

Rating: 5/10

Of all the male leads in the series, Jared MacKade was the pits. So he wouldn’t love a girl who had had many sexual partners? But it was okay for him to seduce in his youth? NICE double standards there, mister.

I liked confident little Bryan. He was the best match for Connor as a friend, and it is sweet to see how they become friends.

This was definitely my least favorite book in the series, thanks to the serious and irritating pride of the idiotic eldest brother of the MacKades.

Book Three: The Heart of Devin MacKade

Book: 81/100

Devin MacKade’s first love was Cassie. As a teenager he was too late to tell her and she married Joe Dolin – who was abusive and nearly killed her. After her divorce and Joe’s imprisonment, she’s been working on improving her confidence and being a good manager at the MacKade inn. Even though Devin still has feelings for her he fights it because he knows she still needs to remember that not all men are bad.

When she becomes more stable their relationship blossoms. Devin has to deal with Cassie’s misconception about love and life, and then there are her children. Her son Connor adamantly states that he has no desire to have a dad after just escaping from his terrible one. Even though he likes Devin he is still not interested in acquiring another male in the house.

Joe Dolin is on a mission. He deliberately became a model prisoner to get out on the work release program. There is nothing reformed about him – he wants to teach his wife a lesson for leaving him. When he escapes, he immediately heads to the Inn and shoots Devin. Will Devin be able to save Cassie and her children? What will happen to Cassie when Joe escapes? Can Connor realize that not all men are abusive?

Rating: 6/10

My favorite in the series. Devin is certainly a better lead than Jared (still bitching yeah). He was able to love Cassie even after her abusive marriage, and was capable of accepting another man’s children as his own.

Book Four: The Fall of Shane MacKade

Book: 82/100

Shane MacKade has watched all three his brothers fall in love. He is the only one of his raucous siblings to not have taken the plunge, and he is quite cheerful about it. His world changes when he meets Rebecca – Regan’s incredibly smart college friend who has come to visit. He is fascinated by her – and her cool rebuff of his advances just makes her more alluring. Rebecca is there to study the ghosts in Antietam – and that leads to disagreements. Shane is scared of them (although he won’t admit it) and claims they don’t exist. As Rebecca starts proving that they do, in his farm house as well, things heat up between the two. Will the two end up together?

Rating: 5/10

As female lead, I liked Rebecca most. She is smart and sassy, able to reinvent herself and intelligent enough to be open to the thought of the supernatural. Shane’s interest in her was amusing because she was so vastly different from his other choices.

Not a bad series, although not the most ground breaking one out there. Pretty obvious stuff.

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