Monday, November 02, 2009

Book Review: Bed of Roses

For me, reading a Nora Roberts book is usually like watching a romantic comedy. I know I’m going to like it, because it follows a specific formula, but I’m probably not going to love it, because it follows a specific formula. And usually, that’s okay with me. I know what I’m getting into.

It’s even easier to tell what you’re getting into with Nora Roberts books because she often writes in trilogies. In this case, it is a quartet based on four friends who run a wedding coordinator (and more) business. First of all, let me just say that I find it highly suspect that childhood friends would each grow up to excel at their own distinct interests that just so happen to be exactly what you would need for a wedding. For instance, Mac is a fantastic photographer, Emma is a fantastic florist, Laurel is a fantastic cake designer, and Parker is a fantastic organizer/planner whose family estate is the perfect wedding venue. There’s just no way this could happen in real life.

Which gets me to my complaints about Bed of Roses, the second book in the quartet. This is Emma’s book. Let’s talk about Emma a bit. She is apparently drop-dead gorgeous. Men ask her out all the time, so much that she can now effortlessly deflect or attract men with skill. She lives in a guest house on her friend Parker’s estate where she has her own studio to do her floral arrangements. Her parents are still madly in love with each other. She went to a posh private academy in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she still lives. She works with her three lifelong best friends every day. Their business is successful beyond their expectations. And her girlfriends will drop everything, no questions asked, to be there when she needs them.

Enter Jack, the hero of the story. He’s a smokin’ hot piece of man meat. Built, blonde, and green-eyed. He’s also smart and successful. He went to Yale, and he has his own architecture firm in Greenwich. And he pretty much wants to have hot sex with Emma whenever she wants it.

Are you seeing my problem here?

EMMA’S LIFE IS FUCKING PERFECT! It seriously is. I can’t really hold it against Emma because she knows it. At one point in the book she tells her friend that she’s the luckiest woman in the world because she kind of is. But I can hold it against Nora Roberts because she should know better! Sure, romance novels are supposed to be fantasy escapism, but I like a little realism in there, too. All of the other women have at least something going on in their lives that makes you think that it wouldn’t be completely awesome to be them. Mac’s mother is a crazy bitch and her father moved on to his second family. Laurel’s father did something to lose all the family money when she was a teenager so she went from rich girl to make-it-on-your-own at a very vulnerable time in her life. Also, she’s in love with a man who sees her as his sister. And Parker owns her awesome family estate because both of her parents were killed in a plane crash, which probably is why she’s such a control freak. But Emma? Nope. She’s perfect. Beautiful and bubbly with her loving nuclear family.

I suppose that’s a fair choice for Roberts to make, Emma being perfect and all that, because it does add diversity to the group of women. But it’s just not fun to read about. Where is the conflict? Seriously, the entire conflict of this book is Jack’s fear of commitment which I did not think was all that irrational. The climax of the story takes the form of a fight he and Emma have and, to be honest, I was on Jack’s side. Who doesn’t think that a declaration of love and happily ever after is not so crazy to hold back on if you’ve only been dating for two months? And what Emma does to spark the fight was pretty dumb, I thought. She knows this guy, she knows the issues he has with space and commitment, but instead of talking to him to test the waters, she just goes and does something only to explode when he doesn’t react the way she wanted him to. Also, I kind of resented the way that Emma’s friends completely took her side on the issue, too. My friends, and my mother, would point out everything that I did wrong. But then again, I’m a spinster and Emma’s boinking hot dudes.

So I guess in the end I was jealous of Emma, but in my defense it was really hard not to be. Yeah, I would like to have her wonderful life. So thanks, Nora Roberts, all you’ve done is made me feel even worse about being a plain Jane, chubby single gal.

Lindsey’s Grade: C

1 comment:

Amy said...

Ha, I loved this review!