Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

Title: Bed of Roses
Series: Bride Quartet
Author: Nora Roberts
Read copy: Paperback
Published: October 27, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Trade
ISBN: 0425230074
ISBN-13: 9780425230077

As little girls MacKensie, Emma, Laurel, and Parker spent hours acting out their perfect make believe "I do" moments. Years later their fantasies become reality when they start their own wedding planning company to make every woman's dream day come true. With perfect flowers, delicious desserts, and joyful moments captured on film, Nora Roberts's Bride Quartet shares each woman's emotionally magical journey to romance.

In Bed of Roses, florist Emma Grant is finding career success with her friends at Vows wedding planning company, and her love life appears to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn't found Mr. Right. And the last place she's looking is right under her nose.

But that's just where Jack Cooke is. He's so close to the women of Vows that he's practically family, but the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. When Emma returns his passion-kiss for blistering kiss-they must trust in their history...and in their hearts.

My rating:

As I said in my review for Vision in White, Nora Roberts never fails to entertain me. What, does she have a special gene or something? Is she a writing mutant? What’s with her novels that always deliver where I’m concerned?

Because with Bed of Roses she once again succeeded. This series is more than a contemporary romance, there’s a little of chick-lit in it as well, but especially it’s an ode to female friendship. One of those strong, resilient friendships that last a lifetime. Mac, Emma, Laurel and Parker are such friends and it’s always a pleasure and a hoot to read about them and their bond.

An added plus, we didn’t get to read only about female friendship, but male friendship as well, and discovered how different they are. As NR mentioned in one conversation between Jack and Emma, girls like to eat chocolate when upset, while men punch each other in the face. “It’s the nature of the beasts.” I loved the interaction between Del and Jack, and now that Carter’s firmly in the picture, I was glad to see him come out of his shell and open up a little more around these two (and the girls).

That said, this was also a romance. And what a romance. It’s always difficult to start considering one of your friends for a potential lover, and we all know the whys of that. Would you be able to get back to where you were if (when) the relationship implodes? How will others around you react, especially if you both come from a tight circle of close friends? Could it even work? Should you give it a try? Are you brave enough to give it a try and fight for what you want?
These are all questions rolling around Emma and Jack’s minds at the beginning of this book. Sure, once the passion is upon you, you throw caution to the wind, and hope you get lucky. And that’s what these two did. And it worked. Sort of. Despite Emma’s über-romantic nature (which started to grate after a while, I’ll admit) and Jack’s reservations (which were rather plausible and believable, making me root for him throughout the story).

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And I rooted for him in the end as well, when Ms. Roberts made her female lead pull a stunt that utterly annoyed me. She knew what Jack was like, they’ve been going out for months, a little longer and he’d mellow, I’m sure. Yet she—deliberately, might I add—crossed the boundaries of their relationship, despite knowing (and seeing the mood he was in), so she could throw a completely childish tantrum, storm off, and vow never to see him again, without giving him a chance to talk to her, reason with her.
And what did her friends do? They sided with her. What?! For all the maturity they exhibited in their business, there wasn’t one of them ballsy enough to sit Emma down, look her in the eye, and tell her she overreacted? Because she did, and she knew it the morning after, once she thought it through. But did the “girlfriends” try to reason with her? Nope. They let her mope, they let her rage, they barred Jack’s entrance to their property “until Emma was ready”. Sheesh. Talk about drama queens.

And what does the guy do? He has a chat with his best friend, that doesn’t punch him in the face, but gives him pretty sound advice, he has a chat with his “undercover agent” a.k.a. Carter, then makes up his mind about the depth of his feelings (which he knew pretty much from the get-go, but didn’t dare put a name to them), and goes on a crawl-and-grovel campaign. Which I didn’t like, because of what I listed in the previous paragraph, but that’s just me.

Sexy, sweet, romantic, with a few LOL moments, a lot of female bonding, and some more insight into the wedding-planning business, this was yet another keeper in this four-book series.
I loved the few sneak peeks into the relationships of the next two books, but while I’m really looking forward to Laurel and Del’s story, it’s Mal and Parker’s book that’s keeping me on the edge of my seat. Really apropos to make it the last one.


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