This book consists of two stories. Irish Thoroughbred (written in 1981) was supposedly Nora Roberts first story. NR fans will appreciate seeing her earliest work. It definitely has the seeds of her quality character development and romantic chemistry. However, it is qualitatively different from her later work -- and less enjoyable. The female character, Adelia, is almost the stereotypical romance heroine, completely dependent on her male employer/captor/whatever. The male lead, Travis, is also stereotypical in that he repeatedly makes "attack" advances on her, but only shows any real human emotion towards the end of the story. Both characters lack the complex development we so much enjoy in her later stories.
The second book, Irish Rose (written in 1988), continues with the story of Dee's cousin, Erin, and Trevor's neighbor, Burke. This story has a stronger female lead, though the true Noraholic will still see Erin as somewhat weak compared to later books. Here we have a young Irish girl brought to the US under the employment of the male lead who also wants to sleep with her. Burke is a better developed character that Travis. Though still pretty cliched, its a better read than Irish Thoroughbred. For a true 5 star read (and Nora at her BEST),though, check out Irish Rebel!