I’ve enjoyed the first two books in Nora Roberts Chesapeake Bay trilogy, and Inner Harbor makes a nice ending to it. All the secrets concerning Seth’s parentage are revealed and we get to see more of his trashy mother, Gloria, and the swath of destruction she leaves in her path.
Dr. Sybill Griffin arrives in St. Christopher pretending to be researching a book, but she’s really checking out the Quinn brothers and her nephew, Seth. She is Gloria’s sister, and she believes Gloria’s story that the Quinns stole Seth and that she wants him back. Sybill wants to see what the Quinns are like and if Gloria’s really telling the truth.
Phillip Quinn is the most suave of the Quinn brothers. When he meets Sybill, he’s intrigued by her because she is icy and reserved, not to mention beautiful. You know there will be trouble when Sybill’s relationship to Seth is revealed.
Sybill is my least favorite heroine of the whole trilogy. It took me the first half of the book to warm up to her because her observations about the Quinns were so judgmental. I’ve grown to like the Quinns so much that for an outsider to not immediately see that they’re a great family set me automatically against her. I understood her willingness to want to believe Gloria was telling the truth about her relationship with Seth, however, because even though Gloria had done rotten things, she was still Sybill’s sister. I’d do the same for mine. When we start to see under Sybill’s icy surface and she starts to help the Quinns, she becomes a more likable character.
Phillip, however, I had no problems with. He’s charming, determined and protective to Seth and eventually to Sybill. He pursues her and pretty much sees under the surface of her reserve. He knows there’s a passionate woman hidden under the ice, and he sets out to prove it.
The best part of this book was learning the secrets of Seth’s parentage. Some of you more astute readers probably guessed it, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me. Seeing more of Gloria and her twisted psyche was interesting. It made her seem more like a real person, albeit an unlikable one. The revelations about Gloria confirmed our glimpses of her character from the other books. And the final confrontation between her and Sybill was great, possibly my favorite moment of the story.
As in all the books, Ray Quinn makes his ghostly appearance. Those appearances give the readers a glimpse of a character who has inspired much loyalty and created a wonderful family but who died before we got to know him. I only wish his wonderful wife had been with him.
Once Sybill started to thaw, things really picked up, and I was engrossed until the end, despite my not warming up to the heroine right away. The plotting was tight, and the family really coalesced into a cohesive unit – the brothers, their wives, Seth, and eventually Sybill. It’s interesting to watch the dynamics as each new person is added in these books. While not as strong as the first two entries in this excellent family trilogy, it’s close.