Welcome fellow romance novel and Oreo lovers. I'm so glad we've decided to form a book club to talk about our favorite things: romance novels served with a plate of Oreos and your choice of beverage. Our first book was the delightful Happy Ever After, book four in Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet. I've been eagerly anticipating this one, because I've loved the uptight, anal-retentive Parker in the previous three books and was looking forward to Parker Brown of the Connecticut Browns getting her Happy Ever After.
As with the first three books, I enjoyed spending time with the four life-long friends, their assortment of men and the lovely housekeeper Mrs. Grady. The Brown estate, the girls' home as well as home to the Vows wedding business the four women founded, is a comfy place to pull up a sofa and settle in for a cozy contemporary romance. As in the first three books, Nora gives us a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the wedding business and all the accompanying issues the wedding planner and her friends—the photographer, florist and cake maker—encounter. I'd also been eagerly awaiting Parker's romance with bad-boy-with-a-good-heart Malcolm Kavanaugh, who we met in earlier books.
What I Loved
Seeing Parker tricked out on a Harley was fun. Watching her encounter something she couldn't seem to control—her growing feelings for Mal—was engaging, right down to her rapport with his mother and her attempts to get him to reveal more of himself to her. She wants real intimacy, she says at one point, and until he's prepared to tell her about his difficult past, she worries that they won't get there. Watching them figure out their relationship as the ladies prepare for the first of their own weddings made for a couple of late nights reading.
I love the tradition of each friend having her moment with the perfect wedding dress Parker finds for them. And the moment at the end when the girls surprise Parker with her perfect wedding dress was also memorable.
Upon reflecting on the book and the series, there were a few things I would've liked to have seen included. For one, I realllllly wish Mac's mother Linda had done something at Mac's wedding to force Parker and Kay Kavanaugh to have to work together to get her out of there. I also thought it was odd that after Parker went to the trouble to bring Mac's dad in for the wedding, we never got to see him face off with the unpleasant Linda. That would've been cool.
I would've liked to have known more about what happened to the Brown parents (maybe I missed that somewhere...) But I was waiting for the scene where Parker bares her soul to Mal about losing her parents and what happened that day. I would've liked to have heard about that from her point-of-view.
I would've liked a moment alone with the previous three couples in book four, just to see them in their happy ever afters.
Those are my thoughts. What did you think? I'll pop in and out during the day to share a few of my favorite lines. Have fun and remember, be kind to my fellow author, even if she is the No. 1 bestselling author in the world. :-) To get the discussion started, tell me, are you Mac, an Emma, a Laurel or a Parker?
On the Buffet Table
Now, if I was having ya'll over for book club, here's what we'd have:
Some Oreos (of course), wine (of course), a number of alternative beverages...
Two of my favorite appetizers:
2 cans artichoke hearts, sliced and diced
1 cup (or more) of mayo
3 cloves of minced garlic
Mix all that, sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes. I usually serve that with Triscuits
Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 lb cooked chicken
1 small bottle of blue cheese salad dressing
2 TBS of buffalo sauce
1/2 pkg of shredded cheddar cheese
(some people also add cream cheese to this, but I like it without)
Heat at 350 for about 20 minutes and serve with Scoops