September 27, 2011

in sickness, in health

No. 8: Mac, Emma, Laurel and Parker from the Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts

How wonderful would it be to stay best friends with the same three people your whole life? The women featured in Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet know. Nora Roberts consistently creates captivating characters with unique and fantastic family or community ties. This more recent series exemplifies her abilities.

Plus, these ladies are fun, modern and relatable for a young twenty-something like myself. 

The history

From playing wedding in their backyard as little girls to staging the real deal as adults, Mac, Emma, Laurel and Parker have done it all. Through their wedding company, Vows, each woman takes control of a specific part of the business with her own expertise. Mac is a photographer, her story told first in Vision in White. Emma is a florist, featured in Bed of Roses. Laurel is a baker, highlighted in Savor the Moment. Parker, the event planner, finishes the series in Happy Ever After.

While planning other people's special days, each of the women also finds love — usually in a person who was already a fixture in their lives. What makes their love stories even better is that they have best friends to share the happiness with. 

Favorite scene

In the first book, we meet the women as young girls. They are playing their favorite game — Wedding Day. Emma plays the bride, Laurel is the groom, Parker officiates and Mac tries her hand at photography. On this particular day, the girls are huddled together in their game when a butterfly lands on the bouquet in Emma's hands. They all pause in wonder to look at the beautiful creature, and Mac captures the moment on film.

My summary does not do justice to how lovely the scene is, but you'll have to trust me (or go read it for yourself). At that moment, each of those girls knew they were forged in a bond, together, and it was the moment that marked their futures.

Each girl recognized the significance of the photo. It is referenced in each of the later books, because all of the women keep their own copies of the image.  

Favorite lines

There are so many good ones, but here's a scene from Bed of Roses filled with good lines from all of the friends — showing how fun they are together.
"If we're taking a moment, I'd like to thank Emma for last nights entertainment."

Emma sent Laurel a blank look. "Sorry?"

"I happened to be taking a little air on my terrace last night before settling in for the night, and noticed a car barreling down the drive. For a minute I thought, uh-oh, something happened. But now, not quite yet."

"Oh my God." Emma slapped her hands over her eyes. "Oh my God."

"When no one immediately jumped out gushing blood, or jumped out at all, I actually considered running down, prepared to do triage. But, momentarily both car doors flew open. Emma out of one. Jack out of the other."

"You watched?"

Laurel snorted. "Duh."

"More," Mac demanded. "We must have more."

"And more you will have. They fell on each other like animals."

"Oh, we did... too," Emma recalled.

"Then it's the classic back against the door."

"Oh, it's been so long since I had the back against the door," Parker said with a delicate shiver for emphasis. "Too long... I think I need another bottle of water."

"Unfortunately, Parker, they took it inside."

"Killjoys," Mac muttered.

"The rest was left to my very... fluid imagination. So I want to thank our own Emmaline for the view from my balcony seat. Sister, stand up and take a bow."

To enthusiastic applause, Emma did just that.

(page 204-206)
Why I love them

All four women overcome a personal struggle, stemming from their youth or the moment, thanks in part to their support network found within each other. They help Mac deal with her toxic relationship with her selfish and self-destructive mother. Emma is particularly sensitive and deals with a harsh break-up, which they support her through. Laurel learns to let down walls built around her heart as a child of divorce. Parker copes with the loss of her beloved parents in a plane crash.

Mac is free-spirited. Emma is romantic. Laurel is sarcastic. Parker is no-nonsense. Together, they are fantastic.

No matter how severe or simple, long-standing or immediate their woes, the women rally together. That is what best friends are supposed to do.

In each of the books, the women revel in their friends' new loves. They swap "sexy breakfast stories" the morning after one of the commits the deed, which humorously lightens the mood while instilling a strong sense of camaraderie.

I love the idea of four childhood best friend staying close throughout their lives and forming a business together. Not to mention it's a wedding business. At the mansion grounds they all share together. Then fall in love and plan their own weddings.

I confess I'm jealous of these women. From the hunky men and great friends to the fab business, there's a lot to envy.

Even after their stories end, I can imagine where these four might be down the road. Of course Vows will be a thriving business and their marriages stable and loving. I like to think about what it will be like for them raising families together and having their own children forget lasting friendships.

These well-developed friends are worth the time I spend thinking about them.

Return Thursday to see who will be the No. 7 BFF. You can also read more about the series by visiting the "Projects" page, posted on the bar at the top of the page.

Please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter. Follow me @lmchap. Click here to read more about PBFF.

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