Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Bride Quartet -- Book Two

Bed of Roses
By Nora Roberts

Let me begin by saying that this book is physically gorgeous. The bouquet on the cover is so beautiful that it made even a confirmed commitmentphobe pause and consider tying the knot just to get her hands on those flowers. Everything from the colors to the book flaps to the deckle edge pages just screams romance. But it screams romance in a very tasteful, upscale way, as though it had been designed by the four women who run Vows, the very tasteful and upscale wedding planning business that connects the four stories that will make up Roberts’ Bride Quartet. Book Two, Bed of Roses, tells the story of Emmaline Grant, the florist who is behind Centerpiece at Vows. Emma is beautiful, talented, warm and a hopeless romantic. She never wants for dates, but has never fallen in love. The kind hearted Emma has made a habit of fixing up her “also-rans” with women she feels would make them a better match. Though she yearns for the kind of love story her parents have, she still has a very full life with her business, her family, and the honorary family made up of friends and coworkers at Vows. One of those honorary family members is Jack Cooke, best friend of Del Brown, Vows’ lawyer and Emma’s good buddy Parker’s older brother. Del is like an older brother to all the girls, and so, by extension, is Jack. Emma’s feelings for Jack have never been all that sisterly, but she has kept that to herself to avoid upsetting the dynamic that exists within the group. It so happens that Jack’s feelings for Emma have never been all that brotherly, and one day he decides to act on them. Sparks fly – the chemistry between the two is great and they have a strong foundation of friendship on which to build. The conflict? Jack witnessed his parents’ divorce and has created a lot of boundaries to avoid ever going through one himself. Emma witnessed the enduring romance between her parents and wants the same thing for herself. You can see where this is headed. You also know that you are guaranteed a happy ending in spite of a few bumps in the road. Though this is a pretty straightforward love story, Roberts holds your interest with all the incredible detail about Emma’s floral business and Vows’ business in general. (There is always at least one incredible Nightmare Wedding scene, good for a couple laughs and a certain amount of morbid fascination with the whole process.) In addition, the characters are all likeable; far from being too beautiful and too perfect, they are often funny and flawed. You find yourself thinking that these are people you’d like to hang out with. I’m looking forward to the next installment – Savor the Moment – due out early in 2010. The heroine will be Laurel Grant, pastry chef extraordinaire, and I am already stockpiling snacks in anticipation of a delicious read.

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