Happy Ever After
Hot heroes, winning heroines, and old Connecticut money aside, the real reason we’re all reading Nora Roberts’ Bride quartet can be summed up in two words: Wedding Porn. I’m sure I’m not the only one drooling with Homer Simpson-esque abandon as the Vows girls put on wedding after wedding, with the minute details of dresses, flowers, cakes, and decorations described in full. Add that to the fact that four best friends are living together in a mansion (weren’t you planning to do that?), and you cover a lot of fantasy ground.
Happily Ever After is the final book in the quartet (unless Roberts wants to continue putting on weddings without bothering to have a romance to go with them – and I admit I’d probably read that too), and it’s finally Parker’s turn. Parker is the obsessive one who orchestrates it all. She Who Never Turns Off Her BlackBerry. If you’ve read the other books, it’s plain as day who her hero will be: Malcolm Kavanaugh, hot mechanic extraordinaire. As this book starts, they finally get their day in the sun; the warm-up kisses from books past blossom into a full-blown romance, taking both of them (if not the reader) by surprise.
They have their own issues, but the plot is somewhat similar to past books in the sense that their romance blossoms between events, and the girls and housekeeper Mrs. Grady continue their fun traditions (sexy breakfast story with pancakes, wedding dress reveal with champagne). Mrs Grady is a little more present in this book, because Malcolm reminds her fondly of her own Irish charmer of a husband. The unresolved issues between Parker and Malcolm are both expected and unexpected. Some people accuse Malcolm of being after the Brown fortune, for example, but he faces that issue head on. And it’s Malcolm – not Parker – who trouble with past issues.
I’ve always related more to Parker than the other girls; I get the control thing and the BlackBerry thing, and I also lost both parents at a young age. I enjoyed watching her fall in love and occasionally throw caution to the winds. There are some great scenes when she ends up on the back of Malcolm’s Harley, and a fun love scene in the supply closet. However, Malcolm understands Parker’s need for control as well, and he respects it. You might expect some sort of show-down scene where the BlackBerry lands in Vows’ quaint pond, but that doesn’t happen here; instead, Parker zones time for phone calls during or right after dates, and learns that it’s okay to call someone back once in awhile instead of answering on the first ring.
Though I enjoyed the book enormously, it lands in the B range for me. The primary reason is that there really is not enough of just Parker and Malcolm. In the places where ordinarily you’d see a bit more sex and a bit more falling in love, you get – well, wedding stuff. Not that all the peonies and buttercream aren’t fabulous, but it does seem like Parker gets a bit shortchanged. In addition to all the regular brides, Mac and Carter get married in this book, as well as Mac’s sister Sherry and her husband. It’s fun and beautiful, and full of capital M moments, but there’s only so much room in a book.
Since the quartet is apparently at an end, we also miss out on the descriptions of the Emma, Laurel, and Parker’s weddings – which is a shame, really. I’m not exactly sure just how long I’d go on reading the wedding porn – er, bride quartet, but suffice it to say that at four books it did not wear out its welcome. If we can’t indulge the occasional fantasy, why are we reading romance anyway?