RogerBW's Blog

Savor the Moment, Nora Roberts 19 October 2022

2010 romance. Laurel McBane and three of her childhood friends run a wedding business, everything from engagement photos to the Big Day; she does the cakes. Delaney Brown is the brother of one of the other friends, who's known them all for years and treats them like little sisters…

Hmm.

On the one hand it's welcome that these people mostly behave like adults. Laurel and Del realise their attraction, decide to take it slowly, then decide that toe-curlingly good sex is much more fun. There are obstacles which in other romance novels would be Major Obstructions (e.g. she sees him talking in a friendly way with an attractive woman) – but they sort them out like grown-ups, which is lovely. But the lack of Big Misunderstandings leaves very little obstacle to the romance, and what's left is mostly that each of them, while of course utterly in love, assumes that the other is just expecting a short-term thing. Which isn't really enough to produce any sense of tension. (Yes, of course the reader knows they'll end up together, but there can still be tension in how they get there.)

Part of that obstacle is also American class prejudice, which always seems to me like a poor proxy for wealth prejudice (as opposed to the British version which is a somewhat separate thing). But that's a personal distaste. It does seem to sit quite oddly against the last section of the book, in which the extended-family vacation promised last book finally takes place… and, well, it's just wealth porn. Wealth and good taste, perhaps, no gold-plated bath taps here, but it feels very much along the lines of "here is a thing that you, dear reader, might do, if only you had enough money".

Also, well, what I liked most about the first book was the practicality of the wedding business operation and crisis management; there was less of that in book 2, and almost none here, just one fight between mother and stepmother of a bride. Bed of Roses made up for it a bit by showing us Emma as someone whose life really is focussed on the flowers she's always working with; I felt that Laurel's baking this time was just a thing she did, not the thing that she cared enough about to build her life round.

It's not a bad book, and it doesn't even have the major stumble of book 2, but it is very much less than it could have been.

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Previous in series: Bed of Roses | Series: Bride Quartet

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