Truly, Madly Manhattan
Nora Roberts
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Truly, Madly Manhattan

Nora Roberts
480 pages
January 2003
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Truly, Madly Manhattan contains two romantic stories by the famous author Nora Roberts.

In the first book, "Local Hero," single mother Hester moves into a new apartment building with her precocious young son, Rad. The kid canít believe his luck when on the very first day he meets Mitch Dempsey, creator of his favorite comic book hero Captain Zack. A wary Hester isnít as ecstatic about this total stranger who rapidly worms his way into her sonís heart and whoís now laying siege to her own. Rad provides inspiration to Mitch, but it is his shy and brittle mom who inspires passion in him. But will this story have a happy ending?

This is an oft-told tale and doesnít hold many surprises. Two people who are complete opposites fall in love. The woman, who has had a bad relationship before, is wary of getting involved again. How they overcome all obstacles forms the crux of the story. The only novel and interesting fact about "Local Hero" is that it reveals the hard-work, imagination and detailed work that goes behind the creation of comic books.

In "Dual Image," fun-loving and compassionate actress Ariel Kirkwood is happy and contented with her starring role in a long-running daytime soap opera, but she longs for challenging acting roles. Opportunity comes in the form of a Booth DeWitt script; it is semi-biographical in nature and requires skilled acting. More than the role, though, itís the author who proves a bigger challenge to Ariel. Having been badly hurt and used in his marriage to a popular but extremely selfish actress, the last thing Booth wants is to get involved with another. The role of playing Boothís wife in a TV movie does wonders for Arielís career, but she does her job so well as to push Booth away. Can they ever make it together?

"Dual Image" is more complex than "Local Hero" but equally mundane. Here itís the man whoís afraid of risking his heart due to a previous bad experience. This book, in turn, shows the hard work and skilled acting that goes on behind and before the scene in daytime soaps. It also shows how the audience gets caught up in it and what ways the actors themselves distance themselves from it. This story has some good conflicts and many emotional scenes, and will hold the readerís interest. Both stories are set against the skyscraper silhouette of a charmingly presented Manhattan.

© 2003 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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