"Happy Ever After," Nora Roberts

Pros: Gorgeous romance, fun characters, fascinating look into the wedding preparation business
Cons: Love seemed to come before the chemistry was truly evident
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review book (uncorrected proof) courtesy of Penguin Group


I didn’t expect to get swept up in Nora Roberts’s “Bride Quartet” series when it started. I’ve never been one of those “perfect wedding” dreamers, so the topic didn’t hold much interest for me. However, Ms. Roberts has brought the wedding business and its attendant ups and downs alive so beautifully that I couldn’t help but be drawn in. Happy Ever After is the fourth and final book in the series, exploring super-organized Parker’s unlikely fascination with bad-boy mechanic Malcolm.

Because Parker’s role as organizer of Vows’ events was hard to miss mixed in with earlier books’ tales, there wasn’t quite as much new in the realm of exploring part of the business here. We did get to see a bit more, however, about how the business started and the role her business savvy and determination played. We also learned more about the Brown family and its history in the town.

Parker has always imagined herself having a very orderly romance and marriage with a very normal man—certainly not someone like Mal, who’s constantly surprising her. She’s sure if she allowed herself to fall for him he’d break her heart. As it happens, however, the two of them have more in common than she realizes. He’s been through events that made him grow up quickly. He’s learned to be a savvy businessman as well. And despite appearances to the contrary, he has his own orderly streak. It helps, of course, that all of Parker’s friends are subtly (and not-so-subtly) trying to push the two of them together. And once Mal’s eccentric mother decides she approves of Parker, the game is truly on!

I did feel that Parker realized she loved Mal just a little too soon. I know that seems strange coming from me, since I normally hate it when characters are dense about that sort of thing, and would rather the conflict came from other quarters. This time, however, it just didn’t seem quite true to character for it to happen so easily. On the other hand, the emotional ups and downs the couple goes through as they adapt to having each other in their lives are new and interesting—not the romance novel stereotype.

There are more fun wedding tales to enjoy this time, including sweet moments, lively mishaps, and cleverly-averted disasters. It isn’t quite as fresh and new this time, but it’s certainly still entertaining and fun. All in all, while this isn’t a perfect finale to the series, it’s a delightful one.

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2 comments on “"Happy Ever After," Nora Roberts
  1. Teresa says:

    Heather, Heather, Heather.
    I’ll end up hating you. First The Search and now Happy Ever After :teresashakesherhead: tss tss tssssss…
    You hit all the buttons, plus some, with The Search (yes, I’ve already read it in full twice and then the yummy parts several times over) so I’m really looking forward for HEA and taking comfort that you enjoyed it as the thrid book on the series was kind of not cold not hot to me and I really need some more to light the fires and bid farewell to these interestic characters.
    Thank you for sharing! I’m holding your opinion true until I build mine…

  2. Sandy says:

    I’ve never been a “wedding dreamer” myself. Involved in several weddings back in the day (including one where the MOB stroked out and spent the big day in the hospital), I only wanted, and had, a very simple ceremony myself. So…I’m just not sure why I read the”Bride Quartet” and enjoyed it. I love Nora Roberts for fun reading and the mom of my daughter’s best friend in elementary school was a wedding planner. Her friend often slept over with us when her mother had “an event”. I guess I was fascinated with the details of this major industry, and I liked the characters as drawn by Roberts. I’m still bemused by the modern fact that an established couple living together would still opt for the big wedding. In later life however, we went to the wedding of just such a couple: both adult, early thirties professionals, buying a house decided them on marriage. They threw a huge wedding which of course they paid for themselves. I didn’t mind, therefore, all the technical details (which I’ve read nitpicked as two decades out of date–Love That– the big wedding business updates and thrives!) The romances, of course, the are always true to form, but yes, by Happy Ever After, we could have had the Mac/Carter wedding and others much further in the background to Parker/Mal.

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