Happy Ever After, by Nora Roberts

>> Friday, February 10, 2012

TITLE: Happy Ever After
AUTHOR: Nora Roberts

PAGES: 368

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: #4 in the 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...
Parker Brown is the brains behind Vows, the wedding planning company she set up with her three best friends, whose stories were told in the first books in the series. She brings to the table the organisational skills that allow her friends talents to shine, and the weddings to go off without a hitch. So what if this means that her life is all work and her Crackberry is never off or off limits to her brides?

Malcolm Kavanaugh was introduced in previous books in the series, and it was obvious from the start that he was destined for Parker. Superficially, he's as different from her as could be. He's a mechanic (although off course, he owns his own business -couldn't have it any other way in a romance novel!) and former stuntsman, and as relaxed and easygoing as Parker is tightly wound.

There's not much of a conflict between these two. The issue of Parker being from a very wealthy and socially prominent family while Malcolm is not comes up, is addressed, and basically goes away. Other than that, it's just two people falling in love, in between Parker and her friends putting on all sorts of weddings.

That doesn't mean it's boring. In fact, I enjoyed the book quite a bit while I was reading it, even though it hasn't particularly stayed with me (I had to actually make an effort to remember it properly, after a few weeks) and I wouldn't characterise it as a page-turner. It's pleasant and fun, and what it does, it does really well.

I especially liked the friendship between the women, as usual with Roberts. Also, I really, really appreciated that Parker's love of her work and willingness to spend many, many hours on it wasn't presented as a problem. There's no disapproving tone here about her being available 24/7 and not immediately making the guy she's dating her first priority. She does make some changes by the end of the book, but it's more about establishing a few boundaries and setting aside a bit of time for herself every now and then.

As for the weddings, well, I'm not really a wedding person (the thougth of having a massive do myself fills me with dread, rather than longing), but throughout the series, they've been just SO much fun. There's always some story with them, something to make them stand out and make them more than just a party, and there's just something about seeing people who are very good at something going about their business.

All in all, this hasn't been my favourite NR series, but (apart from a little hiccup in book 2) it was a solidly enjoyable one.



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