I know I covered my hate of the title of the books in this Nora Roberts series while reviewing Savor the Moment but come on – I’m pretty sure this one isn’t even grammatically correct. Shouldn’t it be Happily Ever After? And it’s uttered by a Yale educated character in the book! Admittedly while joking about what she’d get as a tattoo, but still. Not okay.
Book four of Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet, Happy Ever After, focuses on no-nonsense Parker. Parker is the younger daughter of the Browns, sister of Delaney who is newly engaged, and she is the coordinator of the Vows wedding business which she shares with her three best friends from childhood. Business couldn’t be better; she’s landing bookings left, right and center, including a major society bash for the following spring. Everything is looking good as she heads into the autumn. Except for her personal life.
As an author Roberts’ is great at sneaking in future protagonists as secondary characters in early books in her various series. In this case that would be one Malcolm Kavanaugh who appears quietly in Vision in White when Mac acts out against her mom, again in Bed of Roses at Emma’s parent’s Cinco de Mayo party, and then even more during Savor the Moment culminating in the characters being away at the beach house. Each time Malcolm shows up we get to see more and more of his personality and his friendships with the males associated with the Quartet. By the beginning of Happy Ever After the reader is almost as equally invested in Malcolm as they are in Parker.
I like the character of Malcolm, or Mal, quite a bit. While Parker is your typical type-A driven entrepreneur who puts her business before most other things Mal has taken a slightly different route to be a small business owner and is much more relaxed in the running of both his business and his life. Mal owns an auto repair shop and rebuilds classics as a sideline. He earned the money to purchase this business, as well as a home for his mother, by being in an accident while working as a stuntman in Hollywood caused by the cost-cutting of others. I appreciate that Roberts’ doesn’t just assume that her characters have the requisite wealth to accomplish her authorial whims, but instead puts together plausible explanations of income. Laurel worked in a restaurant kitchen before and during the early years of Vows; Emma worked in a florist shop, etc.
Another aspect of this story I appreciate is how Mal is perfectly comfortable with Parker’s businesswoman side. He is attracted to that part of her as he is to everything else and never judges or blames as she is working to pursue her dream – even when that means taking 5 am phone calls from nervous brides while he is trying to sleep. That is never the problem in their relationship. Trusting emotional intimacy is the problem. A relatable one at that.
So yep, go ahead and read this set of stories; I quite liked them – this one and Bed of Roses in particular.