Bed of Roses is the second installment in the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts. This book tells the story of Emma Grant, who is one of the co-founders and works as the florist for the premier wedding planner service called Vows. Emma runs Vows with her three best friends: Mac (Visions in White), Laurel (Savour the Moment, to be released 2010) and Parker (Happy Ever After, to be released 2010).
Emma is the romantic happy medium of the four heroines featured in the Bride Quartet. Emma has visions and dreams of finding her own HEA that her parents found and continue to have. She’s smart, beautiful, cheerful and she tends to romanticize everything. She wants that special spark which can lead to a HEA. And to discover this spark, she has the spark-o-meter. At the moment, though, her spark-o-meter is giving off a very low reading with the cute Executive she is dating. That special Mr Right keeps on eluding her, or is he right under her nose?
When she is stranded due to car failure after a party, a knight in shining armour comes to her rescue in the form of her very good friend Jack Cooke. Jack, who works as an architect, has known Emma and the rest of the gang for years. He’s a part of their family as well as being best friends with Del, Parker’s brother. While helping Emma on that fateful night, a spark ignites, surprising and unnerving Emma and Jack.
Can these two friends become lovers without ruining their friendship, and will that spark turn into a lifetime of love and happiness?
Firstly, I just want to say: Wooh hoo! IMO, this is Nora Roberts at her best and showcases why she will probably forever be one of my favourite romance author and instant auto-buys. Bed of Roses has the classic stamp that says: I’m a Nora Roberts Book. It’s charming, witty, has lots of scenes and dialogues brimming with humour, and features deep friendship and love at the core of the book. When Nora Roberts weaves her magic into words, this is what makes her: The Queen of Romance!
Bed of Roses is a mixture of the above, and features heaps of witty banter that made me chuckle out loud. I found Emma to be a sweetheart – very kind, sweet and just really likeable. I also found her to be brave with her optimistic views on love, relationships, and how unafraid she was to explore this avenue to find someone she can love. She didn’t wait for love to find her, she went out and searched. Emma did this without coming off as sugary sweet and full of saccharine. Emma had a healthy does of common sense and she was pragmatic about it.
I do love the friends to lovers trope, and Bed of Roses premise is definitely along those lines. Both Jack and Emma acknowledge to themselves how they feel about one another, but there is an internal struggle – mainly because of their friendship, and how it would change the whole dynamic of their social setting.
The friendship that these heroines have with one another is so strong. There is a unity about them, a unity that can only come about from knowing each other for many years and this is shown with great emotion in Bed of Roses. What I found to be insightful is the prologue. The prologue in Bed of Roses gives us a glimpse of when Emma was a child, and the same goes for Mac in Visions of White. And these prologues pretty much set off the tone and personality of each heroine.
With everyone so tightly knitted together, this is where the internal struggle comes from for Emma and Jack. They don’t dive straight in at first with a heavy relationship. They both enjoy the intimate side of things – greatly – and simply have fun and enjoy each other. Emma, though, being the most romantic, realises her feelings for Jack go much deeper and is very patient while waiting for Jack to learn his own feelings. And Emma does this by not telling Jack she’s in love with him.
Jack is a commitment-phobe, and I found his internal rants on long-term relationships and marriages to be quite funny, but I also wanted to smack him over the head and tell him to stop being a wuss. 😀
With Emma so unafraid of love v Jack being cautious was a great balance — in the sense it worked as a conflict for them — and it slowly built up to a crescendo.
If there is one thing that bothered me about Bed of Roses, it was everyone’s reaction and behaviour towards Jack when the conflict was at crescendo point. I felt sorry for him because the heroines were giving him the cold shoulder pretty badly. Emma had cause to be angry and hurt by his behaviour, and it certainly was girl power when the heroines stuck by Emma with loyalty and love, but I think there should be a balancing act with Jack as he was a dear friend of theirs also. Though of course everyone makes up at the end, but I just felt like giving him a big ole hug. That’s how bloody well Nora Roberts writes. 😀
I would definitely bookpush Bed of Roses onto other romance lovers out there, and this book (and series) is pure romance without any paranormal or crime sub-plots being involved. The ending was classic Nora. Heck! The whole book was.
I give Bed of Roses a rating of 5/5
It’s also available from the Book Depository and ebook retailers.