Aug 22 2014 10:00am

A Sigh of Lovers: Top 5 Nora Roberts Couples

Carnal Innocence by Nora RobertsSince I have read nearly every novel Nora Roberts has written, I had an enormous sigh of lovers to consider in selecting a top five. I could have chosen a top twenty more easily. But after due consideration, these five are the couples that I love most together. They are not necessarily the heroes I consider most swoon-worthy or the heroines I most admire or the books at the top of my keeper list but rather those whose HEAs I believe in most wholeheartedly.

5. Caroline Waverly and Tucker Longstreet, Carnal Innocence (1991)
Burned out concert violinist Caroline, a Yankee who retreats to the small-town South after a breakdown, and wealthy, laidback Southern charmer Tucker, who is practically legendary for his allergy to commitment, are no one’s idea of a perfect match. Tucker, a connoisseur of beautiful women, finds Caro captivating from the beginning, but she is unimpressed with him until she becomes aware of the substance beneath the good-old-boy façade. Caroline is hungry for connection and for love based on who she is rather than on her talent, and Tucker has a great capacity for love as evidenced by his devotion to his messed up family and his anonymous acts of charity. Both characters are more than the sum of their parts, and at heart, they are more alike than different.

Key of Valor by Nora Roberts4. Zoe McCourt and Bradley Vane, Key of Valor (2004), Key Trilogy #3

Cautious Zoe has two good reasons for distrusting Brad—a handsome, privileged Mr. Perfect. She has been badly burned by a younger version of him in the past, and she has a young son to consider. But Brad has a core of integrity and a great respect for Zoe and what she has accomplished, both qualities that the father of her son lacked, and he develops a bond with Zoe’s son that is separate from his feelings for Zoe. The relationship between Zoe and Brad grows convincingly over the course of the trilogy. The joy of watching it is what put the Key trilogy on my keeper shelves.

Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts3. Brenna O’Toole and Shawn Gallagher, Tears of the Moon (2000), Gallaghers of Ardmore #2

Brenna, his sister’s best friend, has been part of Shawn’s life forever, but absorbed in his music and his responsibilities at the family pub, Shawn is oblivious to Brenna’s love for him. What makes this pairing different from hundreds of others similar to it is that Brenna is equally oblivious. She knows the sight of Shawn fills her with lust, but she is pragmatic rather than romantic and is convinced that once they become lovers and desire is quenched, they can return to being friends. The scene where Brenna propositions Shawn is one of Roberts’s best. I’d love the book and these two for that one scene. The reader realizes long before Brenna and Shawn do that the outspoken Brenna is exactly what Shawn, a dreamer rather than a doer, needs and that he adds some needed poetry to her prosaic life.

Vision in White by Nora Roberts2. Mackensie “Mac” Elliot and Carter Maguire, Vision in White (2009), Bride Quartet #1

Carter had a crush on Mac in high school, but she was unaware of him. She doesn’t even remember him when they meet again. Mac is gorgeous, poised, and confident in her role as photographer in Vows, the wedding planning business she owns with three of her life-long friends. Carter may no longer look like the nerd he used to be, but he is still a shy scholar more comfortable quoting Shakespeare that offering flirtatious compliments. Mac is the only child of self-absorbed, neglectful parents who divorced when she was four; Carter belongs to a large, loving family. Carter falls for Mac quickly and completely. Mac is too terrified by love to think in terms of forever. Can this match possibly work? I love a beta hero, and Carter—awkward and endearing, sweet and persistent—is one of the best. Mac has the intelligence and perception to appreciate him, and no matter how often I read their story, I love watching her find the courage to return his love without reservations.

For Now, Forever by Nora Roberts1. Anna Whitfield and Daniel MacGregor, For Now, Forever (1987), MacGregors # 5

Readers know Daniel MacGregor best as the family patriarch of the MacGregor clan who refuses to stop his meddling and matchmaking until all of his children, and later his grandchildren, are paired with the person with whom they will find the kind of happiness Daniel has found with his Anna. In this fifth book in the series, Roberts gives her readers a look back at the courtship story of this couple who have been happily married for nearly four decades.

Young Daniel was an Irish immigrant, a self-made man who was proud of his success and determined to expand it, when he met Anna Whitfield, cherished daughter of a blue-blooded family. Daniel is looking for a conventional wife who will be a poised hostess, bear healthy babies, and take her vow to obey seriously. But from the moment he sees her, he can’t think of any woman but Anna. She may have the social connections he is looking for, but there is little conventional about Anna, who is strong and independent and unswervingly focused on becoming a surgeon at a time when women rarely achieved such a position. Anna loves the brash, arrogant, large-hearted Daniel who is completely different from the other men she knows, but she will not surrender her dream even for the man who has claimed her heart. Daniel almost loses Anna before he learns that respect and freedom are essential parts of the kind of love that fulfills the promise of an HEA.

survey solutions

To find out more about each book mentioned:

Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts  
Key of Valor by Nora Roberts    
Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts  
Vision in White by Nora Roberts  
For Now, Forever by Nora Roberts  







Janga spent decades teaching literature and writing to groups ranging from twelve-year-olds to college students. She is currently a freelance writer, who sometimes writes about romance fiction, and an aspiring writer of contemporary romance, who sometimes thinks of writing an American historical romance. She can be found at her blog Just Janga and tweeting obscure bits about writers as @Janga724.

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1. Kareni
I like them all! (I guess Eve and Roarke would be a JD Robb couple ....)
2. bic
Tucker and Carter are probably my two favorite Roberts' heroes and the pairings really work for me. Plus, Vision in White is my favorite book of the quartet. I liked some of the other couples as well, but the codependence between the women really got on my nerve.
Carmen Pinzon
3. bungluna
I loved Carter and Mac. Abigail Lowery and Brooks Gleason from "The Witness" are a favorite of mine. I guess I like Ms. Roberts' geek hero/ines!
4. Janga
Kareni, I considered Eve and Roarke a J. D. Robb couple. Also, although I know they are hugely popular, I'm not a Robb reader.
5. Janga
bic, Vision in White is my favorite too, but I really enjoyed the full series. I rejoiced to see NR return to a straight contemporary series.
6. Janga
bingluna, I agree that Abigail Lowery and Brooks Gleason make a great couple. Had I been doing a top ten list, I would have included them. I also hated omitting Maggie Concannon and Rogan Sweeney from Born in Fire. Born in Ice is my favorite of the Concannon books and Murphy Muldoon from Born in Shame is one of my all-time favorite heroes, but I think Maggie and Rogan are a genius pairing.
7. Miss_D
Mac & Carter is a couple I really, really liked.
Michelle St. James
8. michstjame
Oh, wow, is this a tough choice, but for favorite couple, I would go with Roxy and Luke from "Honest Illusions." Fabulous couple and one of my favorite Nora Roberts books.
9. Doc Suz
I know it's under the name J D Robb - but still written by Nora Roberts - Eve Dallas & Roarke have to be on the list!
10. avamiles
Awesome list! I did a lot of research and queried a lot of people about this when I wrote NORA ROBERTS LAND. The big one missing for her is Cameron Quinn and Anna Spinelli in Sea Swept. A poll in the Nora Roberts Companion book had them ranked high, and I agree. Other than Eve and Roarke, they are my favorite.
11. Pamela...Aares
I love Anastasia Donovan and Boone Sawyer from CHARMED. When I was wrapping up book #5 in my Tavonesi Series (AIM FOR LOVE) and felt the fatigue of long days of revisions, I reread Charmed and had the energy to zip ahead. I admit, I am one of those people who feels best when there's a Nora book at the top of the TBR pile!
12. AmyM
I've not read any of these Nora books. I can excuse that because she has so many! Honestly, out of the books of hers I have read, I don't know who I would choose either. Maybe Roxy and Luke from Honest Illusions?This list definitely makes me want to see why these couples are so great. I guess I've got a few more books to add to my TBR list!
13. daisychain
I'd have to vote for Tia and Malachi from Three Fates. Sigh.
Jenn Irene
14. Jennirene
Totally agree with Eve&Roarke, Cam&Anna, and Luke&Roxy from Honest Illusions! But jeez, there are so many fabulous Nora couples... How to choose?? :)
I also really like to re-read Laura&Michael's story from the last of the Dream trilogy (the relationship between Michael and Laura's two daughters is just adorable!), as well as Birthright and Inner Harbor (Phillip&Sybill + her reconnection with Seth). Also, there's an older book that I haven't read in a while but remember really enjoying, where a biographer (put up for adoption as a child) falls for a cocky writer guy while writing the memoirs of her - as it turns out - famous biological mother... Can't remember what it's called right now, but I know I liked it! :)
15. Shark with Lasers
Mac and Ripley from Heaven and Earth. Still my fave.
16. laurenkusa
If JD Robb was included, then Eve and Roarke, otherwise, I loved
Abigail Lowery and Brooks Gleason from the Witness
17. goddessani
While Ethan Quinn (Rising Tides) is my favourite hero, I don't count he and Grace Tucker as Top 5 Lovers. I have a special fondness for Dora and Jed from Hidden Riches.

Jennirene, you're thinking of Genuine Lies.
18. Beth aka Scifibookcat
First is Morgana Donovan and Nash Kirkland from Captivated (Donovan Legacy 1), the witch and the horror writer. Second is Bess McNeeand Alexi Stanislaski from Convincing Alex (The Stanislaskis: Those Wild Ukrainians #4), the soap opera writer and the cop who busts her when she goes undercover as a lady of the night for research. Third is Hannah Rothchildand Bennett de Cordina from The Playboy Prince (Cordina's Royal Family #3), the undercover operative and the prince.

I’ve read all of these series many times and have multiple copies of these series. Too many great choices for 4th, et al: Born in Fire, the other Cordina books, the other Donovan books, etc.
19. isacat
I agree that Daniel and Anna are a great couple, but he it's scottish, not irish!!!
My couples would be Aidan and Jude Frances (Jewels of the Sun), Tory and Cade (Carolina Moon), Cilla and Boyd (Night Shift), Anna and Cam (Sea Swept) and Willa and Ben (Montana Sky)
20. Annie Riley
Luke and Roxie , Honest Illusions
21. Amanda K Byrne
This makes me want to go back and re-read some of my favorites! My absolute favorite couple is Reece and Brody from Angels Fall (mostly because it's my favorite book of hers). I love that Reece is broken but still standing, and that Brody doesn't try to fix her. Second fave is Cilla and Ford of Tribute (because geek love) and Gage and Cybil of of The Pagan Stone. The Sign of Seven is actually one of my least favorites of her trilogies, but there's something about Gage and Cybil's story that draws me in, every time.
Dawn Roberto
22. dawn_roberto
Eve and roark though I think this is a JD Robb couple :-)

I love Carter and Mac as well as Parker and Malcolm from Happy Ever After
Debra Stocking
23. stocking
I'm with you folks; her alter-ego wrote them so they are still Nora Roberts characters - we have to include EVE and ROARKE!
Mara Pemberton
24. marapem
We Nora/JD readers know that Eve Dallas and Roarke are the UBER couple of all of her books, but in reading many of her other books we all have our favorites. I can't say that I have any favorites in that area, but one of my favorite books of Nora's is HIDDEN RICHES. Dora Conroy and Jed Skimmerhorn are the main couple of the book. She's from a acting family and is the owner of an antique store in PA. Jed is from a wealthy family and he is a police officer with Philadelphia Police Dept. Loved that book.
Darlene Robinson
25. Dax
Those are all good choices, however, I love Eve and Roarke....always have. I do have to point out two mistakes, number one Mackensie "Mac" Elliot was not an only child and number two Daniel Macgreggor was not Irish but Scottish.
Felicia Fallon
26. Uber Romance Reader
I'm partial to Noah Brady and Olivia MacBride. A sentimental favorite really since River's End was my introduction to Nora. It's still a favorite.
Jenn Irene
27. Jennirene
Yes, that's it - Genuine Lies!! :) Thanks, goddessani!
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