Title: Happy Ever After
Author: Nora Roberts
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Rating: 3 out of 5
Parker Brown is the last single woman in her group of friends. Not only are they best friends, they also run a wedding company together called Vows. Parker is the brains behind the organization, the one who keeps everything running smoothly. But will she find time for herself, or will she continue to give everything to the people around her?
I’ve read the first three books in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet (Vision in White, Bed of Roses, and Savor the Moment) so I wasn’t going to skip the last of the series, Happy Ever After. It wasn’t necessarily at the top of my list because I knew exactly what was going to happen in this book and who Parker was going to pair off with (it’s pretty clear from previous books), but I knew it would be an enjoyable escape when I did settle down with it.
I was surprised, then, with how much I enjoyed the experience of reading this book. I thought that knowing the outcome would take the fun out of it, but it didn’t. The novel focused a lot on the wedding company, and especially planning the wedding of one of Parker’s best friends, Mac, so that aspect kept it interesting as well. Parker wasn’t my favorite character from these books, but Roberts made her endearing enough such that I was hoping for her to find happiness.
One thing that did jump out at me while reading this book – its unrealistic nature. Yes, the entire premise is a bit unrealistic, but I didn’t have a problem going with it. Four best friends living in the same place (but each with their own space), running a company together – it sounds like something I used to plan with my best friends when we were 10. It’s enough of a fairy tale, though, that readers can swallow their skepticism and follow it. But what I couldn’t get over was the men. I just could not believe that these men would devote every single weekend to running these weddings with their girlfriends and not complain! Especially since they weren’t getting paid!! No man would be that patient, and they shouldn’t be expected to be that patient because it’s a pretty unfair gig for them. I think it’s funny that is what bothered me, but it’s kind of the straw that shattered the entire premise for me.
I also was tired of everything being so perfect for these four women. After three books of reading how perfect the flower arrangements were, how Parker can visualize the perfect wedding for every bride, how these women somehow had ESP because everything was so perfect, I really wanted it all to fall apart for a book. I wanted there to be some sort of real disaster that they had to climb out of, maybe showing their true characters in the process. But no, this book was more of the same, and I think it suffered for it.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Happy Ever After, because I did. While I was reading it, it transported me to this fairy-tale like place. But after I put it down, my mind started churning and I couldn’t get past the syrupy sweetness of the whole thing. If you’re looking for a quick fluffy escape, these books will definitely do it, but I probably won’t be picking up anything else in this vein for a long time.