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Vision in White by Nora Roberts
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Aug 17, 2012

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bookshelves: wealth-porn

Roberts bravely subverts the typical romance novel paradigm in this series. The characters and their relationship are secondary to the main focus of the four novels, which is extreme wealth and the pleasures it can buy you... if, of course, you're rich. Which (the novels suggest) you ought to be.

In the world of the Bride Quartet, a closet isn't a closet unless it's walk-in, equipped with its own seating area and refrigerator, and lined with cedar. A wedding isn't a wedding unless the bride has two bouquets (one for admiring, and one for tossing) and the groom has his own cake. In BQ-Land, money trouble is thinking you won't be able to afford to attend a fancy private college in NYC, but then being able to go after all because the housekeeper who practically raised you hands you a check. Which she has saved, no trouble, out of her housekeeping salary--which also, incidentally, allows her to go vacation in the Bahamas for 3 months a year, every year. Wouldn't we all be rich if the world worked like this? Wouldn't we all be happy?*

Our friends the four heroines don't have everything easy, though. They face such dilemmas as: how many, if any, of the 10 pairs of shoes I just bought should I return? How large should the extension to my living space be? What color yoga pants should I wear to my in-home gym this morning? Should I take a limo to New York for a night out this weekend, or next weekend? How should I decorate my beach house?

There are other concerns too, like "Will the really hot guy I've been flirting with turn out to be The One?," but they are of peripheral interest. The author's main energy is dedicated to describing the trappings of affluence: the shoes, the closets, the kitchens, the getaways, the help. It's fun to read, to an extent, but it will also, depending on your sensibilities, make you want to become either a militant socialist or a plutocrat.

*History indicates no; Roberts seems to think yes.


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