Pros: Lovely, engaging, detailed, beautiful romance between two wonderful characters!
Rating: 5 out of 5
A little over a week ago I received a bunch of books—mostly proofs of upcoming books—by a handful of the authors I’ve most come to love over the course of my reviewing. In fact, I got so caught up in moving from one to the next that I didn’t get a single review written last week. I simply read book after book, and ended up with a stack of nine (plus one unrelated cookbook) in need of review. Because of that, starting with yesterday’s review of Virginia Kantra’s Sea Lord, you’re about to see a run of very highly-rated reviews from me! I hope you’ll stick around for some suggestions of absolutely gorgeous Spring reading material.
Mackensie, Laurel, Emma, and Parker have been friends since childhood. Now, they run a wedding planning company called “Vows.” Parker’s obsessive-compulsive nature makes her the perfect person to plan out all the niggly details. Emma has a green thumb with the flowers—growing them herself—and is a whiz at decorating. Laurel creates cake masterpieces, as well as lovely pastry desserts. And Mackensie—Mac—is a professional photographer whose work has graced many a magazine. Together they have the perfect set of talents, and the mansion Parker’s parents left her acts as the perfect setting for bringing couples’ dreams to life.
In the first of four novels, Vision in White, Nora Roberts brings us Mac’s story. Despite Mac’s involvement in the wedding business, getting hitched doesn’t seem to be in her future. To be honest, she doesn’t really believe in happily ever after. Her parents, after all, seem to be living proof that marriage doesn’t last. Just look at her mother, Linda, who’s been married who-knows-how-many times and is always on the trail of yet another man. To make things worse, every time things fall apart it’s Mac she comes to with all of her drama, wanting a shoulder to cry on, someone to care for her… and, of course, money. Why would Mac ever willingly subject herself to that kind of madness?
Fate, however, seems to have a different opinion on the subject. Mac’s having “one of those days” when she meets Carter, a bride-to-be’s brother, in a rather awkward manner. Combined with one of Linda’s stunts, somehow it all leads up to a half-drunken confession and an all-too-brief, all-too-hot kiss. Mac never imagined herself falling for anyone, much less an English teacher in tweed and glasses with a dry sense of humor, but soon things are heating up much faster than she’d like… and she’s going to have to find a way to come to grips with her own hang-ups if she wants it to last.
In Vision in White, Nora Roberts reminds us of why it is that she’s a household name. There’s so much to love about this book!
One of Nora’s greatest strengths is definitely her characters. Each one stands out, no matter how prominent or secondary. These aren’t “mere” archetypes or sketches; they’re full people committed to paper. On a personal note, after reading so many romances centered on the “alpha male” concept, often to the detriment of giving the male lead any real personality, it was a delight to see a male lead who bucked the trend so thoroughly. Carter is a high school English teacher who challenges his students to wake up and actually learn. He loves to read, sometimes wears glasses, and is neat and orderly. He even has a three-legged cat as a pet. Mac, too, is a great character. All of her hang-ups make a world of sense given her background, and her reactions never read as convenient over-reactions simply designed to keep the characters apart.
Even better, “Vows” is never used as a convenient background and vehicle. Instead, it’s almost a character in its own right. We see the four friends struggle with business highs and lows from day to day, including presentations meant to woo a wealthy client, as well as a high-strung bride-to-be who keeps changing her mind on details at the last minute. The tales of drunken guests needing special handling, unwanted guests who need to be kept out, and even Mac’s methods for loosening up her photographic subjects, are every bit as fascinating and fun as the romance itself. (Not to mention inconvenient snowstorms…)
I’m not a “perfect wedding” daydreamer. I had a very small and simple wedding and loved it that way. But Nora Roberts makes the business of weddings so funny, poignant, and engaging that I absolutely loved reading about it.
I highly recommend Vision in White, and look forward to reading the rest of the series!
[Usual adult material warning: mildly graphic sex.]