The Book that Changed My Life #ReadingCommunity #WritingCommunity #MacKade #Books

I often get the question, what book influenced your writing life?

That would be The MacKade Brothers by Nora Roberts.

The story starts when I was eleven or twelve. I always swapped bags of books with a school friend, any genre, and like many other times, we exchanged a new batch. It was going to be the last one because the end of the school year was just around the corner. I don’t remember any other book from that choked-full bag but one… one I never forgot. 

It was The Pride of Jared MacKade by Nora Roberts

I read it, and it did something to me above and beyond like a book, something that I was too green to know or recognize. Back then, it was simply a book I liked and at 13, I didn’t have the mind to actively look for the same author. It was the very early ’90 and there was no internet, so the only way I had to access books was the tiny library of my tiny town and honestly, it wasn’t overflowing. Mostly classics, a few thrillers. I happily took what they had, nothing more.

The title, though, the story, settled somewhere in my subconscious and just quieted, probably waiting for the right time to come out and be taken care of.

I kept going on with my favorite stories and genres, eating books like I eat pizza: as often as I could and with enthusiasm. 

I loved Historical (read, Bernard Cornwell & CO), big sagas á la Edward Rutherfurd, or adventures along John Grisham’s line, and I had my fat share of classics. 

My Grandma Maddalena was an absolute Agatha Christie fan, my mom Anna loves dark, literary fiction, and my stepdad was into epic fantasy. While I’ve always been surrounded by books, the genres never changed and it worked well for me. Romance didn’t have room in my library. No particular reason other than I’ve never thought I’d like it. I never connected the dots from that one book I read years before to the romance genre. I never thought about stepping out of what I liked.

I was well into University when, by sheer chance, I bumped into a tiny book. The Return of Rafe MacKade. 

All sorts of bells and alarms started ringing. I knew that author. I knew those brothers. 

I got the book. Read it. Loved it. 

By then the internet was up and running, I was walking big city sidewalks, and I knew a thing or two about hunting books down. It wasn’t hard finding and re-reading the second one in the series, Jared’s. Then Devin’s. And Shane’s. 

I was done for. 

I jumped head first into the new romance world, devouring everything I could find within it. Finessing my taste and preferences. Learning all the different shades of a genre that’s more complex and diverse than any other. Contemporary and Suspense were an easy step for me to start from, but then I discovered the historicals, chick-flicks, and god known if now I’m stuck into fantasy.

That little series changed not only what I wanted from a book, but later, what I wanted to give out as an author. I want passion, fast pace, and adventure. Honesty from the characters and from the writer. 

To this day, I have all four brothers on paper and in my kindle, (Italian version and US version, which is the one I always go back to. I banned reading Italian books when I moved to the UK knowing zero English, and never looked back because I fell for the English language hard) and I often go back to them. 

To which story of the series depends on the mood. 

I read Rafe’s story when I want an edge. Jared’s when I need a wild and truly badass heroine. To Devin’s when I need a quieter true hero, and to Shane’s when I want to chill. 

Do I have a favorite?

Probably not. They are a package deal, and I need all of them when I’m going through reader’s block, or I’m out of sorts because I’m having a hard time with whatever. 

Are they perfect, from a writer’s viewpoint?

Probably not. But this is not about technicalities, reasons, or whatever. This is about what they did for me, and what they still do.

They are my reading Linus’ blanket and the very books that changed everything. So much so that, when it was time to pick a pen name, I had no hesitation. It was going to be MacKade. I am a romance reader and writer because of them, I may very well be part of the family, right?


  1. Although I’d read Nora Roberts since her very first book, The Return of Rafe MacKade was a gamechanger for me, too. All this time later (and admittedly, a reread or two) I still remember this story and this series. Frankly, I miss that kind of romance novel, because things have changed–rightfully so, I suppose–and I still wish that…something that was alive and well in books then was still here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome home, fellow MacKade Brothers’ aficionado. Rafe. Yeah. I search that high in every book I read, knowing well it’s not possible. But, I have found authors that make me happy. Whoich ones are your favorite now?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I should have answered that, shouldn’t I? I do have a few favorites now….Nan Reinhardt writes wonderful series based on a small river town in Southern Indiana; I love everything Kristan Higgins writes. Although I’m not a big Regency reader, Mary Balogh and Anne Gracie own me whenever they have a new release. Also Beth Carpenter’s Alaska series and a few Amish romance authors are auto-reads for me. More than you wanted to know? Lol. Thanks for asking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • II’l have to try Beth Carpenter (obsessed with Alaska-based stories) and Nan Reinhardt. To me, Nora aside, I love JR Ward, Ilona Andrew, and Abbie Roads. She actually won my 2022 book list contest ;D

        Liked by 1 person

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