Publisher: US publisher: Berkley. UK publisher: Piatkus Books.
Where did you obtain this book: Bought
Release Date: Out now
Blurb taken from author’s official website:
As the public face of Vows wedding planning company, Parker Brown has an uncanny knack for fulfilling every bride’s vision. She just can’t see where her own life is headed. Mechanic Malcomb Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker is no exception. Both know that moving from minor flirtation to major hook-up is a serious step. Parker’s business risks have always paid off, but now she’ll have to take the chance of a lifetime with her heart…
Lou: I was so eagerly awaiting Parker’s and Mal’s story, the last book of what I think is a wonderful contemporary romance series. Nora Roberts usually saves the best to last, and as much as I loved the series overall, I found that Happy Ever After was a lacklustre ending. Parker and Mal have had such an obvious and strong connection since book one, and the reason why I was looking forward to the book so much was Parker. I thought of Parker as the glue and heart – not only of the business – but of the wonderful friendship between the women.
MinnChica: I was also waiting impatiently for Parker’s book. From the first book, Parker was my favorite, and upon meeting Mal, I couldn’t wait to see how these two exploded together on the page. With Parker’s take charge, give all she’s got attitude, I thought that she deserved a little more than what she got from Mal, and was somewhat disappointed by the ending.
Lou: And Mal was everything that Parker wasn’t personality wise. He was impatient, outspoken and willing to take risks, whilst Parker was cool, calm, collected and the business was her centrefold. When you saw the cracks in Parker show after her meetings with Mal, it seemed that their tension racketed up a notch each time. But in Happy Ever After, their romance was pretty much secondary to what was going on around – which was Mac’s and Carter’s wedding, and the other clients’ weddings. Instead of the romance being the focus, I felt that Parker and Mal got shafted in the romance story telling department.
MinnChica: I totally agree with that. I felt like I kept waiting and waiting for their romance to take the forefront of the story, but it kept getting pushed back for the girls friendship and the business.
Lou: Yes, I saw that also. Instead of showing their romance in the forefront compared to the previous books, I thought that there was way too much analysing and talking amongst the group about Mal and Parker, and all I could think of is why aren’t we getting a romance as good as previous books? I know that the friendship between the girls is just as important, but I felt like since they already had their stories, they wouldn’t be featured as much.
MinnChica: Not that I don’t like hearing about where the other girls are in their lives and relationships, but I would have been happier if their parts in the book would not have been as prominent. Although, part of me was super happy to get a glimpse into Mac’s wedding.
Lou: I think there was a balance problem. Having some glimpses into Mac’s wedding was wonderful, but there was so much that I felt it overtook the story regarding the details of the wedding and so on. It was such a busy book that I felt that it overwhelmed what was most important, and that was Mal and Parker’s romance. And I while I loved what little we saw of Parker and Mal’s romance, it just felt so rushed towards the end.
Spoiler/starts. (click and roll over with your cursor to see spoiler.
Parker started to fall hard and fast for Mal, and it was Mal that was the one who ended up backing off slightly. And his proposal at the end, oh my gosh, it was so unromantic. It seemed that he only proposed because it seemed like the ‘thing’ to do because everyone else was engaged.
MinnChica: I felt the same way! It was somewhat upsetting! One of the things I really liked about the book was being able to get a better glimpse into Parker. She was also so put together, on top of everything, and completely in control in all the other books. It was refreshing to be able to see her out of her comfort zone, a little of kilter, and confused.
Lou: Parker had such a strong personality, and seeing her getting all mussed up was great. She needed someone like Mal to stir her up and make her take chances. It seemed like after the death of her parents, she was too scared to take that chance in case she lost anybody again. I have to admit, I loved Mal’s mother. I think she was one of my favourite secondary characters. She stirred up not only Parker, but Mal himself. He had never brought back a girlfriend to his mother, and to see his panic was pretty funny :D.
MinnChica: Totally! I loved Mal’s mom too. I loved that she was pushing Mal to be better for Parker, and that she loved spending time with the two of them together. I enjoyed Parker’s interactions with her so much. It was like Parker truly thought of her and treated her as a potential mother-in-law. They had great scenes together!
Lou: I agree. And Mal had a lot more depth to him – especially that car accident scene where he really took it to heart. I originally thought that it would be Parker that would be the hesitant one in the relationship, but it was Mal that had the most difficulty. I do think that his background could have been explained more in detail. It seemed like his career as a stunt man was brushed over. And we didn’t really get to see him in his setting as a mechanic. I think with all of the different subplots going on, some details that I would have loved to have known about were skimmed over.
MinnChica: Agreed, it did seem like things were either skimmed over, or just left out. I too thought that Parker would have been the one in the relationship that was more hesitant to make a commitment. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Parker was the one who put herself into it one hundred percent. But I was disappointed that Mal was the hold up. In the previous books, he seemed to eager to be able to spend time with Parker, and kept wanting to be with her. Yet when he was, it seemed like he kept holding back. To me that seemed somewhat out of character for him.
Lou: You just nailed it on the head. I was trying to figure out why their romance storyline bugged me somewhat. It was the tension and the ‘required separation’. Mal was the one chasing Parker, but once he ‘caught’ her or Parker allowed herself to be caught, his hesitation with her did seem odd. So overall, what was shown of their romance started off good, but ended on such a rush. And I still think that their romance was secondary. All in all, an OK ending to a great series. I give Happy Ever After a C.
MinnChica: As much as it pains me to do this, I give Happy Ever After a C as well. I liked the way the series as a whole was wrapped up, and Nora fans will not be too disappointed, but unfortunately it just fell short for me.