Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

Happy Ever After
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication: Berkley Trade; Original edition (November 2, 2010)

Description: Dreams are realized in the eagerly-awaited fourth novel in Nora Roberts's Bride Quartet. 

As the public face of Vows wedding planning company, Parker Brown has an uncanny knack for fulfilling every bride's vision. She just can't see where her own life is headed. Mechanic Malcomb Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker is no exception. Both know that moving from minor flirtation to major hook-up is a serious step. Parker's business risks have always paid off, but now she'll have to take the chance of a lifetime with her heart...

My Thoughts: This was a wonderful, romantic conclusion to the Brides Quartet. Parker and Malcomb had known each other peripherally throughout the series. He is her brother's good friend and the mechanic who takes care of the cars of the gang. This time we get to see their romance blossom. On the surface they have very different personalities. Parker is organized to the point of being anal and Mal is much more laid back. But underneath they are both "fixers". Mal has a magic touch with machinery of all kinds and a subtle caring hand for his friends. Parker makes all the craziness of a wedding run like clockwork. Their difficulties come in two forms. They are both too busy (or at least Parker thinks so) to have a relationship. And, second, they react to hurt in two very different ways. Parker is more emotionally open than Mal. Mal is much more likely to retreat inside himself when things go wrong. Mal's inability to share causes Parker pain and makes her think that they will never have a deep, loving relationship.

The whole quartet is a wonderful series of romances. I have never had very much interest in the whole topic of weddings but I was enchanted by the details of the whole wedding business when reading these books. I liked that the emphasis was on the formation of happy families. They made me yearn for a romance like those in the stories. The one thing that seemed the most idealized to me throughout the books was that none of the women or the men, as far as I can recall, had any previous long-term relationship that had failed. All of them had dated but none had made any sort of previous commitment before finding their true love. I don't know how that jibes with what I see and hear in the real world.

You can always depend on Nora Roberts for great characters and for great dialog. These books are romantic without being sappy. I recommend them highly for times when you might wonder if love really exists. I also recommend them as very pretty books. Check out the lovely covers of the series.

Favorite Quotes (and getting Mal's viewpoint):

About Mal:
The way he saw it, poker and life had a lot in common. You played the cards you were dealt, figured the odds, took the gamble or not. And when your cards were shit, you bluffed if the pot was worth it, and if you had the balls.

Otherwise? Wait for the next hand.

He figured the way he'd played the game had worked out for him pretty well, life-wise. Now he needed to take a good look at the cards, figure the odds with Parker. She was worth the gamble.
About Parker:
She was complicated and nowhere near as predictable as she looked on the outside. He'd wanted to know how she worked, he couldn't deny it. And the more he'd examined the parts, the more caught up he'd become.

He knew those parts now, and how she worked. She was a detail-oriented, somewhat --hell, extremely--anal, goal-focused woman. Mixed in there she had a talent and a need to arrange those details into a perfect package and tie them with a bow.

If that, plus the money and pedigree, had been it, She'd have probably been a beautiful pain in the ass. But inside her was a deep-seated need for family, for stability, for home--and God knew he understood that one--and an appreciation for what she'd been given. She was unflinchingly loyal, generous, and, being hard-wired to be productive and useful, had a work ethic that kicked ass.
And, last, Carter's take on the reason to marry:
When you find somebody you love, all the way through, and she loves you--even with your weaknesses, your flaws, everything starts to click into place. And if you can talk to her, and she listens, if she makes you laugh, and makes you think, makes you want, makes you see who you really are, and who you are is better, just better with her, you'd be crazy not to want to spend the rest of your life with her.

The Brides Quartet:

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