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Classic Nora Roberts Romance Novels: Best Reads for Summer

Updated on July 22, 2013
Nora Roberts is one of America's most popular and prolific romance novelists.
Nora Roberts is one of America's most popular and prolific romance novelists. | Source

Choosing a Nora Roberts Novel

When the summer months arrive and the temperature starts to rise, our thoughts often turn to "beach reads"--books we turn to for entertainment, relaxation, and a good story. Though Nora Roberts's novels are good any time of year (curled up in bed on a cold night, outside on a porch swing in the crisp fall air), summer is when I find myself reaching for her romances most often. After all, there's something about summer that just fits perfectly with possibility and new love!

While not all of Nora Roberts's books are worth a re-read, she's written some true romance classics that will keep you entertained during the summer months.

Read on for the best classic Nora Roberts romances.

Montana Sky Movie Clips

Montana Sky

One of Nora Roberts's most popular novels and my personal favorite is "Montana Sky," the tale of three very different sisters who inherit equal shares of their father's lucrative cattle ranch but must live on it together for a full year in order to fulfill the terms of the inheritance.

Running the ranch is the feisty, tomboy Willa, who doesn't have time for love or patience for her sisters; she's protective of her meek sister Lily, who's on the run from an abusive relationship, and irritated with the vain Tess, a Hollywood scriptwriter. Love is waiting for them all on the ranch, but danger also awaits--slaughtered animals and then shocking murders shock them all just as it brings them closer together. Will the sisters learn to get along and realize their bond is more important than their inheritance, or will they fall apart and lose the ranch?

While the end of a romance novel is always fairly predictable, it's the middle where Nora Roberts excels--and in "Montana Sky" she blends both sweet and spicy romance, suspenseful tension, and a vivid picture of life in the beautiful west.

Carolina Moon Movie Trailer

Carolina Moon

"Carolina Moon" is another one of Nora Roberts's best and most entertaining romances, this one set in the hazy, romantic South (outside of Charleston). Tory Bodeen has returned to the hometown where her best friend, Hope Lavelle, was murdered when they were children, hoping to put her personal demons to rest and honor her friend. Tory also happens to have second sight, which makes her prickly and withdrawn from others.

When Tory stumbles upon a chain of other murders that are eerily similar to what happened to Hope, she's immersed in a world of danger, at the same time struggling to fit back into her childhood home and decide what she wants to find in Cade, Hope's handsome (and now all grown up) brother.

As with Nora Roberts's other books, "Carolina Moon" weaves together multiple romances and perspectives to create an interesting cast of characters and move the plot forward. Tory's second sight also gives this book a nice supernatural twist.

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"Sanctuary" is another great Nora Roberts page-turner for summer. Again, she does what she does best, weaving family dynamics together with romance and suspense. Jo Ellen and her siblings were devastated when their mother seemingly walked away and disappeared into thin air--Jo Ellen left as quickly as she could too, unable to deal with her broken family. She becomes a respected photographer, until a near nervous breakdown sends her back to her home--a resort on the Georgian coast called Sanctuary. Her brother is there as the chef and general caretaker, and her sister serves as the local wild child.

Jo Ellen is forced to confront her painful past, and realizes her mother's abandonment might not have been intentional--in fact, murder may have been involved. As she becomes the target of a killer, she also struggles with her feelings for Nathan, who has startling secrets of his own.

Roberts's plot in "Sanctuary" has three strong and compelling romances, and while the tension isn't as high as in the first two books on this list, it's still an excellent read.

The Three Sisters Island Trilogy

"The Three Sisters Island Trilogy" is perfect summer reading--the trilogy tells the story of three very different women, each with her own story and own book, who also just happen to be witches. "Dance Upon the Air," "Heaven and Earth," and "Face the Fire" cover the perspectives of Nell, Ripley, and Mia, respectively.

Each of the women is damaged in some way, and must embrace her magic and combine their powers to save the island. Nell is running from an abusive husband; Ripley is running from her own magic; and Mia is running from a romance that broke her heart and left her a shattered shell.

While new love blooms for each of them on the island, the women fight their personal demons and wage a larger battle to save the island from a darkness that could send it back into the sea. While this one may sound a little too fantastical for those who enjoy straight romance, the relationships stand solidly at the core of the novels--the magic is interesting but doesn't overtake the story. You'll certainly find yourself moving from one book to the next in the series without picking up another novel in between!

Choosing a Nora Roberts Romance Novel

Nora Roberts is an amazing prolific romance novelist, and writes across several sub-genres of romance: contemporary, supernatural, historical, and more. If you love romance and strong characterization, you're sure to find a lot to love in her novels.

What's your favorite Nora Roberts romance novel?

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