Friday, April 9, 2010

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts ****

I listened to this fairly recent release on audio, finishing it up just a minute ago. It's the second in the bride series - a series of 4 friends who grew up together playing weddings and as adults run a wedding service: a place to have a wedding, and each woman has a specialty. Plus they all live on the property (I don't know if I could take that much togetherness!!)

At first I thought the narrator's voice seemed too young, but after a while she grew on me, and I actually think her reading, her voices, her acting - it was all very good. In fact, she might be one of the better narrators I've heard.

This story features Emma, the florist. She loves flowers and romance - and she's always chipper and upbeat and loves everyone and everything. Somehow she manages to date these great guys who just don't inspire her, so she fixes them up with other women and ditches them.

And Jack - he's the best friend of Del, the older brother of Parker, one of the women of Vows. All of them have been friends forever. When we first see Jack in this story, it's clear he's had a thing for Emma for years, but figures she's like a sister to Del - and I guess in Romanceville, there's some code about not dating your best friend's sister. Maybe in real life too, but I dunno about that.

Jack and Emma have a WOW moment - you know, sparks shooting out when they get close - they almost kiss - bada bing, bada boom, like that. Then, later, they have another - and decide to act on it.

Next thing ya know, here they were just FRIENDS and now they're FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS. Unfortunately, Emma's not a just-benefits kinda girl - she's got her heart set on a happily-ever-after, and when she sparks with Jack, life won't be the same unless he returns the feelings. Unfortunately, Jack's not a long-term-with-future kinda guy either. In fact, he's sorta territorial about his bachelor-ness. But hey, they go into it with eyes wide open, even making a promise that NO MATTER WHAT THEY WILL ALWAYS BE FRIENDS.

Boy - you'd think you could write the book yourself now, except you'd be foolish to try to compete with master wordmeister La Nora! She manages to capture the mood, the lingo, the fun, the drama - she's really got it all when it comes to bringing a story to life with words. She channels her inner-guy, belches and all, so that you find yourself there, in the room, watching it all unfold in front of you.

So - that's the story - they walk slowly towards saying those three little words, but Jack hesitates once too often, and sweet, soft-spoken Emma decides she's worth more - and cuts it off. Then La Nora makes Jack grovel, hard. (Even though, to be honest, Emma was a little out of line...)

It was funny sometimes, and realistic AND romantic, and I enjoyed it. I also decided I do like this narrator after all - 4 stars.

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