Maybe it’s just me but I love reading about women running successful businesses. Oh, not uber-jetting off in a corporate jet successful but the sort of businesses that you can easily imagine would work in the real world. If done well then not only does it give you a fascinating insight into running a business that you never get to see, but it adds a sense of “real world” to a beautiful love story. And Nora Roberts does it well.
Beta hero, friendship,weddings, women running their own (successful) business, high school crushes come true.
Quote that best sums up the lead (male) character:
“Ah, hi. It’s Carter. I wonder if you might want to go out to dinner, or maybe the movies. Maybe you like plays better than movies. I should’ve looked up what might be available before I called. I didn’t think of it. Or we could just have coffee again if you want to do that. Or… I’m not articulate on these things. I can’t use a tape recorder either. And why would you care? If you’re at all interested in any of the above, please feel free to call me. Thanks. Um. Good-bye.”
“Damn you, Carter Maguire, for your insanely cute quotient. You should be annoying. Why aren’t I annoyed? Oh God, I’m going to call you back. I know I’m going to call you back. I’m in such trouble.”
In my mind no one writes female friendships like Nora Roberts. And that’s essentially what this book and the other three in the Bride Quartet series are about. Mac, Emma, Laurel and Parker are childhood friends who run a successful wedding business. Through out this book its their friendship that centres the stories. Their support and understanding of each other help them deal with the running of their business but also the day to day business of falling in love.
Mac runs the photography side of the business and is artistic, funny, stubborn with a slight a tendency to pout.. She has no confidence in her own self-worth or in adult relationships outside her friendship circle, mainly due to growing up with a mother who is, well a selfish *beep* and a father who is absent. She has absolute faith in her abilities as a photographer but when she lowers the camera, well lets just say when things start happening with Carter she doesn’t exactly trust that it’s not too good to be true.
And I can understand why she might feel that way. Carter. He’s sweet and caring, a bit of a nerd, adopted a three legged cat and wears glasses. Can he get any hotter? I truly love a good beta hero. In a reading world filled with alpha males who stomp and demand, sometimes its nice to see a guy who stumbles and hesitates. He feels like a criminal when he speeds for crying out loud. Who would just want to take him home and … fill in the blanks…
This is a pure romance story. No paranormal elements, no murders, no dangerous intrigue. Its heart, soul and guts are about creating a relationship that is solid and enduring. Oh, there are hiccups along the way. There usually are when you’re starting out in a relationship, but to the dealing with those issues and telling the simple story of a man and woman falling in love with warmth and humour – well that takes skill.
I’m doing a re-read of these books in audio format. Emily Durante’s narration and characterisation was solid and I thought her slightly sing-song style suited the story. She went a little too babyish and whiny for a few of the pieces of dialogue for my taste but there weren’t that many of those, and well – it may have been in keeping with Mac’s character if I’m honest. Hopefully she will remain consistent with her characterisation for the entire quartet.