May 2024
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Combined Review: Vision in White and Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

Four women, who have been friends since childhood, together run a wedding company called Vows.  Each woman has control over one aspect of the business.  Mackenzie Elliott is the photographer and, despite capturing other people’s special moments every day, is determined to resist every special moment of her own due to a selfish, overdramatic mother who has effectively ruined any concept of romance she might have had.  Until Carter Maguire enters her life again, at least.  Carter had a huge crush on Mac in high school and it hasn’t gone away, but he needs to convince her that love isn’t always a battlefield.

I actually enjoyed this first book, Vision in White.  I didn’t think any woman but Mac was particularly fleshed out, and if they hadn’t had one defining characteristic each, I’m sure I would have mixed them up easily.  That one characteristic makes them incredibly shallow, but their relationships still manage to be sweet and makes me think about how nice friends can be.  The romance between Mac and Carter was similarly sweet – actually the whole book is probably best described as that.  They get together about halfway through and then the book becomes a struggle between Carter loving Mac and Mac determined not to stay with him, which is a little tiring.  Overall, though, it wasn’t too bad, and it was perfect for my stress-fogged brain.

In Bed of Roses, Emmaline Grant is the total opposite.  She adores romance and has held her parents’ love story as ideal for her entire life.  She wants candles, dancing in the moonlight, expensive dinners, and weekends away in New York City.  The girls’ close friend Jack Cooke has almost always been attracted to Emma, as most men seem to be, but only just gets the courage to act on it when she realizes she might be reciprocating his feelings.  But Jack hesitates with women, and doesn’t want the permanency that is Emma’s goal.  She’ll have to convince him that their love is worth it.

I’m sure just by reading that summary it’s pretty obvious that this book is almost a carbon copy of the last one.  Sure, some of the events are different, but it’s exactly the same pattern of someone wanting a marriage because their family is perfect and someone determined to avoid it because their parents screwed up.  Does every child of divorce remain convinced that marriage isn’t for them?  Obviously not, given my own marriage (and those of a number of my friends).  This sort of stereotype irritates me because it casts all people as the same.  The book was way too predictable on the heels of the last one.  The characters are still much too shallow, with virtually one facet each.  Parker plans, Emma is romantic, Mac is a tomboy.  Laurel is the only one I can’t really pin down as anything but a little outrageous.  Jack is defined by his desire to avoid marriage and long-lasting relationships.

I’m sure at least a little part of my dislike of these books is because I’m not really into the wedding thing.  My wedding was tiny and involved a minimum of fuss.  For these people the wedding practically is the marriage and that’s an attitude I don’t really understand.  Their job is wedding planning, of course, so the books contain plenty of details about the days.  I may have to reconsider Nora Roberts as one of the only two contemporary romance authors I read, though.  I know all romances are predictable to an extent, because they have happy endings, but if I can predict what goes up to the ending as well, I just get bored.  And it doesn’t help that she’s already established exactly who is going to match up in the next two books.  I find I’m not really interested after all.

I am an Amazon Associate. I bought these books (at a charity shop, which I am now happy about, and where I suspect they will go back.)


13 comments to Combined Review: Vision in White and Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

  • I find Nora Roberts romances a little predictable on the whole.

    Not bad stuff, but repetitive. Last year, I read a series of books based on 4 brothers, and what you describe about these books could equally have been applied to that series :)
    .-= Nishita´s last blog ..Book Review of Two Completely Different Types of Crime Fiction =-.

  • I have one of these books on my readers and yeah romance books are always a bit predictable. i will read the 1st book and let you know if I like it or not :)
    .-= Veens´s last blog ..Cover Attractions!! =-.

  • Janet W

    I liked the first better than the 2nd. I suspect I will enjoy the 4th book the most (unless he’s a mechanic who nevers gets his fingers dirty, as it were). So now you have me curious: who is the 2nd contemporary romance writer you read? I should take a guess: Julie James?

  • Yeah, I got turned off from Nora Roberts’ newer books when I attempted to read The Circle Trilogy. So predictable. So little creativity. I gave up after the second book. I think her older books, while slightly formulaic, are still good. The one that takes place on an island with three witch sisters sticks out in my head (though I can’t remember the names of the books or the trilogy, lol). It’s almost like she’s gotten lazy in her old age or something.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Book Review: The Thing from the Lake By Eleanor M. Ingram =-.

  • kay

    Great review. Despite not being a romance reader I have these two on my TBR pile. When I was a teen, I LOVED Nora, so I couldn’t resist! Predictable or not, I can’t wait to read these two this summer. As for “Does every child of divorce remain convinced that marriage isn’t for them? “, I agree with you, absolutely not! In fact in my life, it’s quite the opposite : all of my friends who have divorced parents have been involved in long and serious relationships really soon in their lives.
    .-= kay´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – What lurks behind your books =-.

  • Nora Roberts is hit or miss for me. I’ve read a couple of her books that I really enjoyed, but for the most part, my reaction is exactly like yours was for these books.

  • I have a book by Nora Roberts on my shelf, but haven’t yet gotten to it. I am sorry these books were such a struggle for you. I hate it when a book is too predictable. It totally takes all the joy out of the story for me. I hope that the next book you pick up is a better read and keeps you much more engrossed.
    .-= zibilee´s last blog ..The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran – 384 pgs =-.

  • I haven’t read a lot of Nora Roberts romances–maybe two. They don’t really pique my interest that much. Like you, I don’t read that many contemporary roms.

    One contemporary romance author I really like is Julie Ortolon. That’s about it.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Classics Month Meme: Overlooked Classics =-.

  • Thanks for your honesty here. I’ve been curious about these books, and thought about reading them, but like you, I’m not as into big weddings as that. Since my TBR pile is extensive, I think I’ll pass these up for now, and see if the wedding bug hits me some other time! :)
    .-= Becky at “One Literature Nut”´s last blog ..Review: The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig =-.

  • Oh these are so not for me. I’m not the wedding type either! And I like my characters to be multidimensional.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Featuring . . . The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha =-.

  • I enjoy these Nora Roberts books, they’re the perfect amount of fluff for me! I can understand why you didn’t like them though.
    .-= Swapna´s last blog ..Book Review: Young Bess – Margaret Irwin =-.

  • Meg

    I have yet to read anything by Roberts but definitely don’t feel eager to start! My sister read Vision In White on vacation last year and pretty much hated it. In fact, I had to listen to a solid week or complaining that she’d spent her hard-earned money on it and purchased it brand new from the store — sans coupon, even! Yeah. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Her complaints were just like yours… shallow, indistinguishable characters; predictable plot. There are some contemporary romance writers I enjoy, but I don’t think Roberts would be one of them. Those covers are lovely, though!

    Thanks for the honest reviews!
    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Mini reviews — or, hey, I’ll never finish this book! Vol. 2 =-.

  • I read the first book “Vision in white”. Though the romance part was kind of predictable, the rest of the story was quite fun. I really enjoyed reading about Mackenzie and all silly stuff she does and think. However… I wonder, in the following books, does she have a big part, or is she just a bi-character?