Vision in White, by Nora Roberts
So where have I been? Well, I’m still not over Lothaire. Not by a long shot. I tried to ease back into the post-Lothaire world with another installment of the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning (saving my thoughts for the end of the series), and then I took a good long look at this blog and tried to figure out what I was missing. It was pretty glaring. I hardly ever read contemporary romance, and after all of your recommendations a few days ago, it seemed like a good time to pick it back up.
Well, if you’re looking for a contemporary romance, you could do a lot worse. If you’re the kind of person who loooooooves weddings and you just got engaged and your whole life is bridal magazines and watching Bridezillas and you want to share your excitement but your friends have told you they don’t want to hear anything else about your fucking wedding (… not that I’ve been there or anything), then you can’t do a lot better.
I’m about somewhere in the middle. My wedding mania passed pretty soon after my own wedding three years ago, but I figured Nora was, at the very least, a safe bet. I knew it wouldn’t be bad, and it wasn’t. Let’s put my eh on hold for a minute and talk about the leads, because the dude is one of the strongest parts of this story.
THE GIRL: Mackenzie Elliot, photog extraordinaire, who is one quarter of the wedding business powerhouse known as Vows. Parker, Emma, and Laurel handle planning, flowers, and cakes, respectively, and they are DEAD SERIOUS about making your special fucking day pretty fucking special so bend over and get ready for a white lace enema.
And I gotta pause here, and say something that’s been bothering me about Nora: Nora Roberts has terrible taste in art. Sorry. This book wasn’t as egregiously offensive to taste as the last book of the Chesapeake Bay series, what with the Thomas Kinkaide nightmares, but Mac’s artsy ideas for the wedding photos were enough to make me die a little inside. The groom likes music, so you have him bring his guitar to the engagement shoot? REALLY FUCKING ORIGINAL. And don’t even get me started on the portrait that involved horses.
Anyways. Moving on.
THE GUY: Carter Maguire, geeky English teacher, beta male (who still fucks like an animal), and all-around sweet guy. He’s so cute and awkward and even though I normally can’t get enough of alpha dudes (oh, Lothaire), I found Carter to be a great change of pace and he was easily the best thing about this book.
In the end, Vision in White was pretty good, but not really all that compelling. Everything is always perfect at Vows, and if it’s not, it gets handled quickly and easily and we move on to the next thing that’s perfect. This book wasn’t even cotton candy fluff, it was like, the aroma of cotton candy. If you’re in the mood for a light read, this is about as airy as it gets.
NEXT UP: I bought a Victoria Dahl upon your recommendation, then the Nora Roberts Key of Light trilogy. Also, The Marriage Plot has been lingering in TBR purgatory on my Kindle but will I finally admit to myself I’m not going to read it? STAY TUNED.
Carter was, hand’s down, the absolute best part of this book. He’s clumsy and sincere and totally adorkable. (omg, please kill me for saying that.) No, really, he’s smart and great and you’ll like him. Mac is OK, not great, but you won’t be mad that he gets together with her.
3 things I’d like to touch on:
1. There are only 2 kinds of moms in a Nora Roberts novel: Evil or Dead, and no one does evil/shitty moms like Nora, huh? Did she have a number of really shitty moms in her life? Because, I’m just going to say it- NR hates mothers. That’s right. I went there. I mean, I get the character development angle, “woman gets by on her own grit and determination despite horrible mom’s best efforts,” but is it really so implausible that some women have nice moms and are also awesome? Nora, give these women a break!
2. The ridiculous contrived-ness of Vows and everything about it. Mac isn’t just a photographer, she’s a visionary photographer that pushes her clients to find themselves. She doesn’t snap pictures, she captures moments. The floral designer’s business is named Centerpiece and she is literally the most visionary florist ever. Same with the baker, who’s business is probably named Tiers and same with the wedding planner, who is a tight-assed, hard-nosed, no-nonsense bitch. Ho boy, I bet she gets taken down a few pegs in her book, amirite? Loosen up, baby! But really. They’re literally the literal best wedding-related quartet that has ever literaled.
3. The friendship between the characters didn’t do it for me. It felt… I don’t know, too forced? Like, the friendships aren’t perfect, and that’s real! But they’re too perfectly imperfect! At times, it felt like someone was writing about sassy mid-2000s girlfriends, but that the writer never had girlfriends and only watched Sex and the City and maybe Friends.
Anyway, like RC said, it’s light and airy, like a bridal veil on the breeze and seriously? If you don’t see the set-up for the next 2 books, I’m just… I’m embarrassed for you.
Ugh WHY won’t you do more reviews for me? Nailed it, as usual. You’re totally right. The perfect “Hey girlfriend let’s do girlfriend things together girlfriend” relationships were overly contrived and perhaps one of the reasons I didn’t quite care for the book.
Nora doesn’t really put a lot of stock in mediocrity of any kind, so there’s no way that Vows could be anything but the most innovative and glorious business that has ever dealt with event planning.
I had never noticed the mothers thing. I’ll be keeping an eye on it in the Key of Light trilogy. In this case, there had to be drama from somewhere (Mac’s fear of commitment was pretty weak on its own), and an absentee mother seemed like a convenient excuse.