Nora Roberts’ newest romantic suspense, Blue Smoke, is a sweet read. Not in a syrupy, goody-goody way, but in a way that draws the reader in and makes them happy to be reading “this book” kind of sweet.
Reena Hale’s life changed the day she was attacked by a neighbor boy and her family’s Italian restaurant torched by an arsonist. That fateful day she grew up and became a woman. The fire gave her a dream and a purpose: she wanted to be an arson investigator.
The first half of the book focuses on two main things: Reena’s achievement of her goal and the importance of family. She enrolls in college. She also loses her virginity to her first boyfriend, with whom she is not in love, though she does care for him. She eventually joins the police force and works hard to attain her life goal of becoming an arson investigator. The only problem is that fire seems to haunt her, not just at work, but in life. But if I told you how, it would ruin some of the surprises in the book.
The Hales are a huge, picture perfect Italian family. They love each other and it shows through the pages of the book. The family leans on and supports each other in times of crisis. The night of the fire they pulled together to make things better for one another. After the fire they pooled all their resources to help rebuild Sirico’s. Reena’s family is so great I didn’t seem to notice that they were all getting married and having babies while Reena had yet to meet her main love interest.
Boween Goodnight has been in love with Reena, according to him, for seven-seventeenths of his life. He saw her for the first time at a college party but did not get to speak to her. He knew from the moment he laid eyes on her that she was the one for him – but he would have to meet her first. They have a couple of more near-meetings until they finally meet in a really cute scene involving Reena’s family.
Blue Smoke is almost all light except for a serial killer haunting Reena. She is unaware of him and his deeds for most of the book. The reader does not have to be a rocket scientist to guess who he is, but it is interesting waiting for ever-so-smart Reena to eventually figure out what is going on. The weak suspense element is what kept this book from being a DIK.
If you are looking for something that is light on suspense but heavy on romance and family, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. You will fall in love with the characters, want to be a part of the Hale family, and the ending will leave a smile on your face.