Review: Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades

Nora

She’s blossomed from a wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .

What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had.

Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 2/5 stars

Talk about starting off the new year with a crazy, conflicted emotions read!  Have You Met Nora? is likely going to go down as one of the year’s most confounding reads with me left wondering how in the world I made it from the beginning to the end of this read. 

Here’s my best assessment:

To be clear, I couldn’t put this book down and read the entire thing in a single day.  Generally, such a marathon read would translate into a very high, if not the highest of star ratings, but in this instance, I think it had more to do with the book’s train wreck quality.  I just couldn’t stop watching, so to speak. 

Nora Mackenzie has crafted a life for herself that is the envy of so, so many.  She comes from wealth and privilege and has built a successful career out of sheer will, hard work, and single-minded determination and focus.   Additionally, in just a month’s time, she is set to marry Fisher Beaumont, one of society’s wealthiest, most handsome men who comes with a name, riches, and a life beyond belief. 

Unfortunately, much of the life Nora Mackenzie has crafted for herself is a complete and utter lie.  Oh, the career success is real enough as is her love for Fisher, but all the rest is a finely crafted façade built over years and years.  Until just recently, Nora’s façade has been so rock solid as to convince literally everyone in her world.  Her best-friend, her fiancé, her co-workers have no idea of Nora’s past, the lies she has told, the people she has hurt to achieve a life among society’s elite.  What’s more, none of the people closest to her have any idea of the lengths Nora is willing to go to in order to protect her secrets. 

In the weeks leading up to her wedding, Nora’s world begins to crumble.  Unless well and truly dead, the past doesn’t always stay buried, and it often comes back to haunt those who deserve it.  In Nora’s case, the past comes a calling in the form of a former classmate, a now bitter and angry woman whom Nora utterly destroyed as a teenager in order to protect her secret and her world.  Nora’s past isn’t just bitter and angry, she’s also technologically skilled and determined to see Nora exposed and destroyed.  The revelation of Nora’s past would, to Nora’s mind ruin everything she has worked and lied for, which means her past must be well and truly buried.  There can be no loose ends and as Nora begins to unravel, she also begins to form a plan that will see her safe and protected for the rest of her life. 

The Bottom Line:  Have You Met Nora? is one of those reads where you find yourself wanting to like the main character, but just can’t ever see your way to doing so.  Nora’s horrifying past certainly lends itself to sympathy and understanding, but Nora’s actions because of her past are just so pitiful and pathetic that all sympathy is erased.  The lies and deception are so much a part of Nora even she can’t tell the difference any longer and that makes her utterly unlikable.  Nora lies like she breathes, automatically and without a thought or care for others, only herself and her own survival.  As if a thoroughly unlikable lead character weren’t enough, there is also the outrageousness of the plot and ending.  I simply don’t understand why Nora’s past has to be a secret.  Are we really so shallow and pathetic a society that Nora’s situation is a has to and not a want to?  Furthermore, given the time and place of the story, why did Nora never seek help for her issues?  In this day and age, there is a plethora of help to be found, but Nora would rather continue to live a lie than deal with her past and her issues in order to live a freer, healthier life.  Nora would, quite literally not be in her current predicament if, at any time she had drummed up even an ounce of courage to tell the truth and seek help.  Finally, there is the ending.  Between the big bad and Fisher’s reaction, I found myself wondering a great many negative things about how I and this story got to this point.  In the end, Have You Met Nora? had the potential to be a very interesting and truly good read, but it somehow lost its way in a mixture of bad characters and bad plotting.

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