Friday, June 25, 2010
Review: Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
"Romance, in Emmaline's opinion, made being a woman special. Romance made every woman beautiful, and every man a prince. A woman with romance in her life lived as grandly as a queen, because her heart was treasured.
Flowers, candlelight, long walks in the moonlight in a secluded garden . . . just the idea brought on a sigh. Dancing in the moonlight in a secluded garden--not that reached the height of romantic on her scale."
Thus, the guiding philosophy of Emmaline Grant. Her story is told in the second book in Nora Robert's series, Bride Quartet, the main characters being the partners in a wedding service called Vows, Emma was the flower queen, so to speak. She understood them, loved them. could picture arrangements of them in her mind that fit the personality of the bride and set the tone for the entire wedding. She and her three best friends had entered into this business venture a number of years ago and in spite of everything that could challenge them personally and from a business perspective, the joint venture had flourished. Now Emma, a beautiful and empathetic woman in her own right, recognizes that she may be professionally satisfied, but her personal life is a wash. Perhaps the fact that one of their circle has found her mate and will be married in a few short months. Men flock to Emma's side but she is very particular and she has spent more time hooking up her would-be dates with some of her friends than she has going out with them.
Along with the four friends, three men are a living, breathing part of Vows as friends and "big-brothers." Parker Brown's brother, Del, is the attorney for the business. Parker & Del's family mansion is the site for all the weddings they put together, and Parker is the lady that seems to keep them all focused and on schedule. Jack Cooke is Del's best friend from college and has become extended family to all the girls. And Carter is Mac's fiance--a gentle giant with a Ph.D. in English and who has finally broken through Mac's resistance to a romantic relationship.
Coming home from a party she really didn't want to attend, Emma's four year old car breaks down--the battery connections are corroded. This is not really a mystery since Emma has not taken the car in for maintenance once since buying it. It is Jack Cooke that comes upon her by the side of the road, gives her a jump, and follows her home. It is also Jack whose handsome face suddenly makes an impression on Emma as they are "under the hood" trying to figure out what was wrong.
Needless to say, Jack and Emma's affair lights up the Connecticut skies. Jack is actually a romantic at heart, and there are so many ways that he "gets" Emma--her philosophy, her joy, her goals for herself and her professional life, her desire to have a future with someone who really loves her. But Jack has been a "love em and leave em" kind of guy, and Emma knows this. So she is willing to "stay in the moment" for now.
I have to say that Nora Roberts has been writing romance novels for decades and she really knows what she is doing. She can hook the reader just about as well as any writer I know, and she sure does it here!! My emotions were so in this novel. When the dating road became rough and rocky for these two, I was very upset. I just couldn't figure out what was wrong and why things couldn't be "rosey" for them. (I had to read the rest of the book!) This is a very romantic story, and I love the joshing and fun that this group of people indulge in throughout. This book is also very strong because the foundation of all these relationships is the bond between these four women. No one dares hurt one of them; the other three become enraged "mother bears." Somehow the friendships forged in difficult times in their girlhood have survived and only become stronger. That bond is what makes this book and all the books in this series work.
For some, I have no doubt that Emma's sunshine personality and view of life will be irritatingly sweet and hard to take. I found it refreshing. The world could use more Emmas. And I hope that all romance fans will take the time to read this series. It is well-worth the effort! I give this book a rating of 4.75 out of 5.