Derby reading

Nora’s flown off to Louisville for this year’s Kentucky Derby.  I’ve seen photos of the hat and it’s just amazing and fabulous.  Travelogue and photos to follow early next week. (You can read about her 2013 Derby experience here.)

So while La Nora is away La Laura will play.

The first weekend in May always makes me think about Nora’s Derby books specifically her very first book Irish Thoroughbred and it’s sequel Irish Rose (which are currently packaged in one book as Irish Hearts) irish heartsas well as True Betrayals.  Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the books because category romances are more limited in scope than a big romantic suspense, but I think as Nora was a maestro at giving us fully fleshed out stories and characters when she wrote for Silhouette that it’s not so much comparison as it is companion.True Betrayals

A couple of questions to stir the conversation pot:

If you are an active re-reader, which do you reach for more often: Irish Thoroughbred or True Betrayals?

Adelia Cunnane is a heroine who knows exactly what she wants to do with her life and does it while Kelsey Byden has spent years trying one thing or another until she finds her footing in the world of thoroughbred racing.  Which sort of heroine do you prefer the one who knows what she wants or the one who is seeking her place?

More favored hero: Travis Grant or Gabe Slater?  I’ll have to admit that Travis is a bit more mysterious since Nora was constrained by the category romance standards of 1981 which meant readers never got the hero’s POV (point of view), but she gives us as full a picture of him as she can.

Finally, do you watch the Derby every year?



27 thoughts on “Derby reading”

  1. I have read every one of Nora Robert’s books – love them all. But True Betrayals is actually one of my favorites, and I cannot tell you how many times I have re-read the book! I always think about it around Derby time 🙂 Gabe was so tough, so rough and masculine. Very appealing!

    1. Heidi,

      True Betrayals is definitely in audio. You can order from Turn the Page Bookstore ( Irish Hearts is not yet available as an audio book, but we hope it will be soon.


  2. True Betrayals is one of my favorite of Norah Roberts’ books. I like how the Triple Crown was woven into the story.

  3. Irish Heart is definitely my favorite. I fell in love with Travis from the start and could not wait for him to get together with Adelaine. After reading them I felt like I knew quite alot about racing and the Derby. That is the sign of a good writer. Thank you Nora.

  4. True Betrayals is one of my all time favorites. I re-read this book at least twice a year. I loved Gabe Slater!

  5. I love both books, but Irish Hearts has been reread by me a few times. And most likely will be read again a few more times.

  6. True betrayals hands down!! I have the original paperback & it’s so worn from all the countless times I’ve read it. Gabe is a bit of a bad boy, but he’s made something of himself. He n Kelsey are one of my favorite couples!!

  7. I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve re-read True Betrayals, it is my go to book when I have nothing else to read. It is obviously by favorite Nora book. I just love Gabe, he has a lot of elements of Roarke.

  8. I love both books but prefer True Betrayals over Irish Hearts. Just finished The Collector today, loved it! Thanks to Nora for telling stories that allow us to escape into another world for a bit!

  9. Love all Nora’s books, and while I enjoyed her first two Irish’s, I loved True Betrayals as it was longer and more suspenseful. Any of her books with animals, dogs, horses, cats, are so much fun to read as she makes them seem almost human.

    A question: Are most of her books available in e-format? I have all her books in paperback, but can no longer read them due to corneal problems. Thank heavens for my iPad.

    Thanks, La Laura, you do a great job in representing La Nora!!

    1. Hi Alice,

      Yes, I believe all 210 books are now in e-formats. Not sure if all the novellas are (though the In Death ones are a yes).

      La Laura

  10. I am definitely a re-reader. Incidentally, True Betrayals is one of the books I’ve re-read the most. Not sure what it is, but it just doesn’t get old for me! I lie. I kinda do know. Horses call my name. Every. Time.
    Kelsey really spoke to me, so I’d probably go with Gabe, since he really spoke to her 😉
    Can’t wait to read the travelogue & see pics! So exciting!

    P. S. “La Nora” & “La Laura” = Classic!

  11. Always watch the Derby ~ always think of Nora there having a grand time. Can’t wait to see this year’s hat although the green and black confection last year was fabulous! I twill be a challenge to top!

  12. The first question – Irish Thoroughbred.

    The heroines that I like – Are one such as myself, I suppose. The kind that know what they want and will move heaven or hell to get it. The more they are told that they will fail, the more stubborn they are to prove everyone wrong.

    Travis or Gabe Slater? – Irish Hearts was a tough book for me being Irish myself. The book seems to make out that all Irish are bumpkins or something. Irish are known for their tempers, I have one meself. No self respecting Irish Woman would tell someone like Travis, “A curse on you, Travis Grant”, what she would say to him is, “go hifreann leat, Travis!” Which roughly translates to “To Hell with you, Travis!”
    As to the title of “mistress”, I can honestly say I’ve never heard of it except in relation to a name. The world means a man’s mistress, early literature for school teacher, a dominatrix or a dog owner that is female. I was brought up to use, and many people here in the South (Dixie) use, is miss or mizz. Even if the woman is married, we would never call an adult by their first name, it was always Miss/mizz Kate or Miss/mizz Bella. I am 53 yrs old and still call my neighbor who is in her 80’s mizz Dean.
    I just don’t care for the portrayal of the Irish in those books. Sorry. 3 books out of 100’s that she has written isn’t too bad!

    The last question – No, I do not watch the Derby, I think it is great for the owners and horrible for the losers and over all cruel to the horses. They should be in a field somewhere eating the grass instead of being trained to put the saddlery rig on and have a runt on their back hitting them with crops.
    When I see those thoroughbreds who were bred to be fine (thin) boned and long limbed, I think of “my” horse, who was a gentle Roan named Macey, she had 3 white boots and a white diamond on her nose. Over her life she was well taken care of, allowed to roam, had 1 colts and 2 fillies and was allowed to be a horse, not a bank account. But that is just my opinion.
    I have no idea where the crazy hat stuff comes from. Even at Ascot the hats are ridiculous. So much for British understatement. When did the crazy hat stuff start? And why?

    1. The closest I’ve gotten to the Derby is that I know the “Official Artist” of the 2013 Kentucky Derby (Derek Gores) ~ who has his studio in Melbourne, Florida ~ so if Nora didn’t get one of his fabulous posters be sure to check out his website to get one. My sister is his agent. Derek was just here in Fort Worth doing an original piece for our children’s hospital. He is magalicious to use Nora’s description for greatness.

      I’ve had thoroughbreds in the past in my English style stable, rescued from the track ~ my husband was training one over fences and after taking a few low training fences (36″) the horse decided to take the perimeter fence (5′ fence) and took off down the road. Country road, thank goodness. They can be a bit temperamental to say the least! Lovely all the same. I discovered they LOVE peppermints as a treat.

  13. I reread True Betrayals more recently, but think I’ve reread them each around the same number of times. There are other NR books I reread more often.

    Yes, I believe all 210 books are now in e-formats. Not sure if all the novellas are (though the In Death ones are a yes).

    All of the NR novellas are in digital (the older, Silhouette ones are doubled up like Home for Christmas and All I Want for Christmas are together in Holiday Wishes and Impulse is with The Best Mistake in Summer Love plus In from the Cold is a 2-in-1 with Rebellion from Intermix)

    Is Night Moves available in digital?

    1. I stand corrected — Night Moves is the book that slipped between the cracks for some reason. I’ve got a couple emails flying about so I hope to have an answer soon.


  14. I haven’t read True Betrayals in ages. I need to fix that. About…I’m a local and I don’t do Derby, parties or anything. Some people here get really into it, others not so much.

  15. LOVE True Betrayals! I have read and re-read her books over and over because I can rarely find anyone else I like to read!

  16. I confess they are a little tame for me now, but have read them a couple of times over. I would love Nora to write more books like these involving horses and the world of racing etc, as I loved their inclusion in her latest witch books.Animals always add a strength and depth within a story I love strong women and mysterious men. I look forward to seeing Nora,s latest hat and her lovely dapper Bruce, a lovely couple.

  17. I’ve read True Betrayals several times and still enjoy Kelsey and Gabe’s story. I have Irish Thoroughbred and Irish Rose, but have not read it in some time and will do so very soon, now that my curiosity is piqued!

  18. Well, now. I’m sure I’ve read True Betrayals sometime in the last 25 years, but can’t quite recall it, but I think I have it buried amongst my nook, so I will be looking it up to see, if not it will be next non-gift card purchase, I think. I think it was her Derby post that made me go out and get the Irish Trilogy for my Nook, which I just finished the week before last, as last week I finished Joyland (most of my reading time is at night, and I literally laid in bed and cried when Joyland finished. Not the epilogue, but the main body of the story. I think I cried with Meg one of the times that he intentionally backed off of her, which she took as rejection, as well). I think the male characters in Irish series are WONDERFULLY fleshed out, although she couldn’t really dig into them AS MUCH as you can now. The early series books I don’t often re-read, usually because I’ve misplaced most of those small books, or loaned them out, and no longer have around, but the “newer ones” (Born in, In Dreams, In the Garden, Pagan Stone) I make a habit of re-reading every few years. Heck, I reread the pagan stone series, oh, and one other, I think just a year after I read them originally.
    Oh, I read somewhere that even on vacation, Nora gets in eight hours a day writing. Is that true?

  19. I watch the Derby and make a point to reread Irish Thoroughbred..enjoying my new signed hard copy. Looking forward to seeing a photo of Nora in her finest hat:)

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