Pros: Great characters, fabulous wedding-prep stories, hot sex, and lots of romance!
Cons: Not quite as intense as the previous book
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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 many of 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 brought us Mac’s romantic story. Now, in Bed of Roses, it’s Emma’s turn. Emma, unlike Mac, is a romantic through-and-through. She believes in true love, and wants the whole thing: dancing in the moonlight, flowers, romantic dinners. Unfortunately, the man she really wants isn’t the romance type. Jack is a sweet enough guy, and a long-time friend to all the girls, but his own parents’ divorce and his father’s frequent conquests left him resenting any long-term intrusion into his life.
When Emma and Jack finally realize they want each other, each of them realizes their expectations might not match up, and they solve it in the same way: by ignoring the problem and living in the all-too-sexy moment. Of course that means that by the time they’re forced to deal with it, they’re well past the point where they can handle it calmly and reasonably.
As in Vision in White, one of my favorite things about this series is the wedding business, Vows. Nora Roberts turns it into a character all its own. I have no interest in the wedding-planning business in its own right, but she makes it so fascinating that I’m drawn in. She fills the pages of this series with all sorts of entertaining stories of things going right and wrong during the planning and execution stages of the clients’ weddings. From hilarious MBs (that’s Monster Brides) to a Matron of Honor that goes into false labor right before a ceremony, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Where we primarily saw things through the photography end in the first book, now we get to see the floral side of the business. And yes, there really is a bride who insists on having more roses in her bouquet than a friend had in hers!
Once again the characters are delightful. Emma could be perhaps a little too much on the “perfect” end of things—stunningly sexy, beautiful, and sweet. On the other hand, Nora balances that beautifully with the fact that she’s so sweet and chipper that she actually does annoy people at times. Jack had a little less depth to him than Carter did, and was a little more bland, but he was still better than plenty of romance heroes in that department.
This is definitely a pure sweet romance book: not for folks who don’t want to read about women discussing their feelings, or who need constant action. It’s absolutely built on emotion. But it’s built on beautiful, very believable emotion, that comes tumbling delightfully from the pages. And yes, I cried at the end!