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    Another Wedding for Nora Roberts by Marisa O’Neill
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  • Published: Sep 25th, 2009

roses_RobertsBed of Roses by Nora Roberts
Book #2 in The Bride Quartet Series
Reviewed by Marisa O’Neill
Publisher: Penguin
3.5 stars

Dear Reader:

Short Review: Bed of Roses, is the second book in Nora Roberts Bride Quartet series. However, those of you who have not read the first book, Vision in White, can read the second book with out missing a step. It’s a solid book with well developed characters and if you always buy every book that Nora Roberts writes I’m not writing this review for you. If however, you’re a romance reader, or just a reader looking for a book to read, perhaps this review is for you. I liked this book. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Would I re-read it? I don’t think so. And just so you know, re-reading a book is the ‘gold standard’ for every book I read. That’s just me – I’m passing the information on to you.

Long Review: Nora Roberts can write. That is so not in dispute. She has legions of fans for a good reason. Am I a fan? You betcha! Do I buy all of her books? Pretty much.  Am I biased? Not so much. Unlike her alter ego, J.D. Robb who writes the In Death series, (this series is like crack cocaine, I can’t get enough and rush to buy every new book and have re-read every single one)  the books she writes under Nora Roberts I always read on a case by case, or book by book basis. I know, strange huh? But let’s just say I’m more of a coca cola gal then a diet coke gal and leave it at that. So now you now where I’m coming from and you can read my review a bit more enlightened.

For me Nora Roberts’ books always, and I do mean always (no equivocation), have fully developed characters that you want to sit down and have dinner with.  Even her paranormal trilogies have characters you want as your best friends. She is in a class many aspire to and few attain when it comes to fleshing out and developing characters and writing dialogue.  Bed of Roses is no exception.  This quartet of books features four different women, best friends, Parker, Laurel, Emma and Mac,  who own and run a ‘premier wedding planning company’ called Vows. Each woman is responsible for a different aspect of the business. All four women are people you want to get to know. Ms. Roberts is at her best here in regards to the tenor, tone and timbre of these four women. You either want to be them, see a bit of yourself in them, or want to befriend them.

The same holds true for the men in this series. Not that you want to be them (unless of course you do, because I’m thinking most of my readers are women – but I could be wrong), but you certainly want to get to know them. As per usual, Ms. Roberts is amazing at writing her male characters. She gets it right every time. She’s one of the best and I love her books for that alone; her ability to write the ‘male voice’.

Bed of Roses focuses on Emma Grant, a talented florist who is responsible for that particular aspect of Vows. She loves her work and making some one’s dreams come true when it comes to their wedding and all the hoopla that surrounds it gives her joy. Emma is beautiful, smart, funny, and dates — a lot. Jack Cooke, an architect, has been friends with Emma and the woman of Vows for many years. So yes, this is a “friends to lovers” romance, certainly one of my favorite scenarios.  Basically the book is about Emma and Jack and how they begin to see each other in a different light, act upon their feelings, and then deal with the consequences. Becoming lovers after being friends for a long time is not an easy feat; particularly when there are other friends involved.  The particular dynamic that lovers have invariably changes the dynamic for the whole group, and of course if the couple breaks up there is the question of who gets custody of the friends.

In both Vision in White and Bed of Roses, Roberts takes great care to give us a glimpse into the wedding planning business as seen through the eyes of these four friends. The anecdotes and peripheral characters she introduces are fun. The way each woman deals with her aspect of the business is drawn in loving detail.  The relationships between the women are crafted with exceptionally well written dialogue.  And… however, the tension that I so long for is a bit lacking here. Bed of Roses is a sweet romance with strong characters and a simple plot. After all my whining about how much angst I’ve been reading in my books lately you think I’d be happy with a plot that runs true to course. A plot where there isn’t much angst but rather some normal and relatable internal struggles.  Truth be told, I should be happy. I enjoyed reading this one and I’m going to read the next book in the series (I must find out what happens to Laurel). Perhaps that is the understated beauty of this series.  It doesn’t hit you right between the eyes like a sledgehammer, but rather gently warms your heart.

So dear reader, if you like a ‘friends to lovers’ romance, with strong dialogue, fully developed and relatable characters and you like it simple and sweet, might I suggest Bed of Roses.

Until next time, happy reading.


5 Responses to “Another Wedding for Nora Roberts by Marisa O’Neill”

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  1. AnimeGirl
    on Sep 25th, 2009
    @ 3:53 pm

    I began reading Nora Roberts with the first book of this series, Vision in White, and I rather liked it. I don’t like super complicated plots, I like the understated, ‘close to life’ ones.

    Before, I never felt compelled to read NR, even though everyone told me her books were great (including the In Death ones), but I was drawn to these ones, ’cause of my love of wedding planning books and the gorgeous covers. And I am looking forward to read the whole series.


  2. stephanie h
    on Sep 26th, 2009
    @ 1:42 pm

    Hi Marisa,
    I agree very much about your comment that explains why Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet series works so well for me too: “Perhaps that is the understated beauty of this series. It doesn’t hit you right between the eyes like a sledgehammer, but rather gently warms your heart.” That’s exactly right! I think Nora is brilliant in her sublety and the books have a certain sweetness (without being cloying). Also, it is refreshing especially after I read a very dark or tortured book (which I love!!!) to “cleanse the palate” if you will. Thanks for capturing the essence of why this series is so good.
    All the best!

  3. Kati
    on Sep 26th, 2009
    @ 5:26 pm

    Oooh! I seriously can’t wait for this one. I’m thrilled that Nora has gotten back to writing straight contemporary romance. Your review is enough to convince me to buy, Marisa. Then again, I’d buy the phone book if Nora would slap her name on it. Soooo…


  4. PJ
    on Sep 27th, 2009
    @ 7:00 am

    Great review, Marisa. I have the first book in this series in my tbr but haven’t had the chance to read it yet. I think I’ll wait until I can pick up BED OF ROSES so I can read them back to back. I love that Nora has returned to straight contemporary with this new series and, like Stephanie and you, love that it “gently warms your heart”. That’s part of Nora’s brilliance. 🙂

  5. Gannon
    on Sep 27th, 2009
    @ 11:29 am

    Another great review, Marisa! No one does friendships, male or female, like Nora. This one is on my tbb list–as is everything Nora writes! I’m especially looking forward to the latest In Death book coming out in November. You said it; that series is definitely like crack! Love it!!!

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