Title: O’Hurley Born
Review title: The Last Honest Woman
Series: The O’Hurleys #1
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Silhouette (Harlequin)
Original publication in: 1988
This is the re-issued bind-up edition containing the first two books in The O’Hurleys series.
Date read: June 10th
The book opens with the birth of the triplets to Molly and Francis O’Hurley, who, as stage performers, were traveling to another city with their son Trace when Molly went into labor. Thus Chantel, Abigail and Madeline O’Hurley are born.
Fast-forward about twenty-six years, and the middle triplet, Abby O’Hurley Rockwell, is a widow of a famous racer and notorious womanizer with two kids. When she finally decides to give the publisher the permission to write Chuck Rockwell’s biography, she meets the journalist-turned-biographer Dylan Crosby, who wants to know the whole truth about her late husband and herself. Along the way, Dylan discovers the woman behind the image and becomes a part of Abby’s and her children’s life. But will they be able to open their hearts to one another?
I love Nora Roberts’ family stories – the bonds and relationships she creates are heart-warming and appears stunningly real. In that sense, I wish there had been a chapter or two dedicated to the time when the O’Hurleys moved from city to city as family performers. But once I got past that disappointment, I enjoyed The Last Honest Woman with openness of heart.
First off, I adored the children, Ben and Chris. Ben is the stubborn and a little rebellious 8-year-old while Chris, with his six years of age, has the sweetness of an innocent child. They are the center of Abby’s world, so they are also in the peripheral center of the story. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading about the way Abby handled their mischievous actions.
Abby is a woman who needs a place to settle down and take down her roots. Her love for her children was very apparent and her strength and cozy personality admirable. Okay, if I were her, I’d have divorced that cheating, sorry excuse of a husband long ago with a nice settlement, but that’s Abby for you – a little bit too good, in my opinion. She wants to give Ben and Chris the legacy of their father but is determined to keep certain secrets.
I was pleased to find Dylan almost head-over-heels with the two little guys. Dylan Crosby has had a difficult marriage and his perception of women is too generalized and strongly anchored. So he expected a prissy woman in mink and glitter – and when he gets a hard-working, soft-spoken Abby in her jeans and sweater, Dylan is dumbfounded.
As he adjusts his image of her and she her anxiety, a beautiful relationship is born – and along the way a wonderful story.
Oh, by the way, the O’Hurleys do make an appearance – all except for Trace, who’s in the middle of Africa. The parents are born performers and nomads, he quick to laugh and dance a jig, she warm-hearted and quick to reprimand her husband. The elder triplet, Chantel, is an actress (it says somewhere she appeared in the movie Lawless, which is coincidentally another book written by Nora Roberts) and the youngest, Maddy, a dancer. Chantel’s beautiful, sharp-tongued and frank. Maddy’s more like Abby, I guess – friendly, open and energetic.