TYPE/SETTING: Contemporary - Connecticut
SERIES: 1st book in Bride Quartet
REASON FOR READING: It's a new non-paranormal series from Nora - had to have it.
Childhood friends Mackensie, Parker, Laurel and Emmeline have formed a very successful wedding planning business together but, despite helping thousands of happy couples to organize the biggest day of their lives, all four women are unlucky in love. Photographer Mackensie Elliott has suffered a tough childhood and has a bad relationship with her mother, which makes her wary of commitment. But when she meets Carter Macguire, she can't stop herself falling for him, although his ex girlfriend is prepared to play dirty to keep him. Mackensie soon realizes she has to put her past demons to rest in order to find lasting love...THOUGHTS / OPINION:
My daughter got married last July and the whole wedding planning experience is still fresh in my mind. So when I found out that the newest straight contemporary series (with NO paranormal elements) from Nora Roberts was about a group of friends who own a wedding planning business I just had to have it. Imagine my surprise when I hit Target on a mission to find it shortly after it was released to find that it was a trade sized paperback! I have to admit I was a bit dismayed because the price was more that I was expecting but I was blown away by it. The pages are rough cut with gold tipped edges on the cover making it look like an old wedding memory scrap book. And it has these lovely little flaps (front and back) that can be used as bookmarks. And to top it off the cover image is stunning as you can see. "Totally worth the price," I thought as I grabbed it up and headed for the cashier (the 20% discount softened the blow of course). And what was inside the pages was a treat too so I'm a happy camper.
Mackensie "Mac" Elliot and her best friends since childhood, Parker, Emma, and Laurel own and operate a wedding planning company in Connecticut called Vows. La Nora absolutely excels at developing relationships between brothers/sisters/friends and I think she has written probably about a dozen series with these types of relationships (Chesapeake Bay is my favorite series of hers) and ViW is well done in the friends relationship department. In fact I think the best part of the book was Mackensie's relationships with her three friends. The romance almost took a back seat to that... I say almost because the romance was very good.
Carter is a sweet and yummy kinda bookish, nerdy guy who absolutely floors Mackensie. Mac is a tall, willowy redhead and rather flamboyant. This was definitely an opposites attract story. Carter has had a crush on Mac since high school but Mac barely remembers him. Their first meeting since high school was charmingly funny (he runs into a wall and almost knocks himself out when he accidentally finds her in her studio with just a bra and slacks). Mac is the photographer at Vows and a real pro at what she does. But Mac has lots of personal issues due to a selfish spoiled mother who thinks the world revolves around her and a non-existent father. Parker, Emma and Laurel are her "family" and she has learned to deal with her mother but not in a good way. She gives into her constant incessant demands. But with the help of her friends and Carter she eventually grows a spine and stands up to her. Carter is sweet and funny and I loved being inside his head. His insecure self-talk when he tries to get up the courage to ask her on a date was very cute. Carter is a teacher who wears tweed suits but is a hunk underneath it all and was perfect for Mac but it took her awhile to figure that out.
Mac and Carter's relationship builds in a realistic way and it was an engaging story although not very steamy. If you, like me, have been missing Nora's straight romance series without all that woo-woo paranormal stuff she has been doing lately, you will probably enjoy this book as I did. And I look forward to the whole quartet with stories for Parker, Emma, and Laurel.