About halfway through “Savor the Moment”, by Nora Roberts, I put down the book and gave some thought to the reasons I so enjoy reading romance fiction. This is the third in a series of four “Bride Quartet” novels, with the release of the last, entitled “Happy Ever After”, scheduled for this November. These are the stories of four friends, who have married their skills with their lifelong love of weddings and in partnership have created “Vows”, one of the premier wedding planning companies in Connecticut.
So far the author has paired off Mac, the photographer, and Emma, the floral designer, and Laurel, the pastry chef, will soon find happiness in the arms of her lover. It’s safe to assume that Parker, the planner, sooner to be found naked than without her Blackberry, will succumb in her turn to true love. We even know the name of the lucky man, Mal Cavanaugh, with whom she has already struck sparks several times.
So, if we already know all of this, why would we go on and read the book anyway? It’s not as if there’s any suspense as to the outcome, but it’s the way the writer gets you from here to there that makes the difference. Nora Roberts is the #1 NYT bestselling author of over 190 novels, 124 of which made the bestseller list, with over 300 Million of her books sold worldwide. She has also written 36 futuristic novels under the pseudonym J. D. Robb, and was the first author inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Time chose Roberts as one of their 100 Most Influential People in 2007, saying she “…has inspected, dissected, deconstructed, explored, explained and extolled the passions of the human heart.” Is there a writer, alive or dead, who wouldn’t kill to have that kind of endorsement? Feeling a bit more respect for the romance novel yet?
Nora Roberts brought new life to the genre when she began her career as a published author in 1981. Her accomplishments are legion in the writing world, and it is obvious that in addition to being a popular writer, she has achieved the respect of her peers by continuing to produce, with almost metronomic regularity, books both intelligently and humorously written, populated by characters who engage our interest and our emotions. If Nora has done her usual skillful job, at the end of the current book, Laurel and Del (her best friend, Parker’s, brother) will find happiness and fulfillment, and I’ll be so happy for them.
I like feisty heroines and heroes who have more to offer than six-pack abs and well-filled jeans (desirable as those attributes might be). Roberts’ dialogue is sharp, funny, intelligent and her characters seem real and very human. When I close the cover on a Nora Roberts novel, it is always with pleasure, satisfaction and a little regret that it’s over. I feel, as the author says in her own words, “When I read for pleasure, give me a story.” I would amend that to, “…give me a Nora Roberts.”