Vision in White

Vision In White
AuthorNora Roberts
LanguageEnglish
SeriesBride Quartet
GenreFiction
PublisherBerkley Books
Publication date
2009
ISBN978-0-425-22751-0
Followed byBed of Roses 

Vision In White is the first book of the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts, and also the name of a downloadable, casual-play computer game based on the book. The novel was released on April 28, 2009. The novel spent two weeks atop the New York Times Bestseller List and reached number 3 on the USA Today bestseller list. The computer game was introduced by I-play in 2010.

The novel marked Roberts' return to contemporary romance and introduced a wedding planning enterprise run by four childhood friends. This first entry in the series featured the love story of wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot and professor Carter Maguire. Like several other Roberts novels, Vision In White explored how a protagonist balanced a successful career with a dysfunctional family environment. Although the hero is a fairly typical representation of the romance novel archetype of the professor, the novel is unusual in that the hero must convince the heroine to take a chance on love.

Background

Nora Roberts is a prolific writer of romance and suspense novels. She writes for more than six hours each day and generally finishes a minimum of five books per year.[1] In 2009, Roberts saw 10 of her novels published. Five were paperback reprints of books previously issued. Three were new hardcovers, including two published under her other pseudonym, J.D. Robb, and two trade paperbacks.[2] To help readers differentiate the new releases from the reprints, the covers of the two trade paperbacks included a gold medallion with the initials NR.[2]

The first of the new paperbacks, Vision in White, was released by Berkley Books on April 28, 2009. The novel, a contemporary romance, was the first in her Bride Quartet, which also included Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment, and Happy Ever After.[3] The series centered on Vows, a wedding planning business. Each book features the love story of one of the four founders.[1] This series marked Roberts' return to the traditional contemporary romance subgenre after writing a dozen paranormal or fantasy romances.[4]

Plot summary

The novel is the love story of photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot and English teacher Carter Maguire. Mac and her childhood friends Parker, Emma, and Laurel are the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut's premier wedding planning companies. Carter is the brother of one of their clients, and had had an unrequited crush on the heroine while they were in high school.

The hero, a teacher, is intelligent, awkward, and earnest. The heroine, a photographer, is sassy. Now adults, neither of the protagonists is looking for love. After seeing her parents' numerous failed marriages, Mac does not trust the idea of commitment. Carter had recently ended a bad relationship and is likewise leery of love.

Their relationship develops slowly, with plenty of input from their large circles of friends.

Analysis

According to critic Mary Ellen Snodgrass, Vision In White is a story of the New Woman, with a strong heroine who is extremely proud of her significant career accomplishments.[5] Mac excels in the daily tasks of her job, such as marketing herself and recruiting new potential clients.[6] The deliberate choices the heroine makes to pose or spotlight her photography clients are pointed ways of celebrating both monogamy and "unconventional views of femininity".[7] In one scene, Mac convinces a heavily pregnant woman to pose nude; through the resulting photos, the client comes to believe that she is actually beautiful.[7][8] In another poke at traditional stereotypes, Mac photographs the bride and groom posing together on a horse; rather than being the knight come to rescue the princess, they are equals.[7]

For much of the book she used her chosen career, as a wedding photographer, to distance herself from deeper emotions.[6] The heroine watched other people's happiness through the lens of her camera, and, as the book progressed, gradually developed the courage to come out of her shell and fully participate in life.[6]

Roberts contrasts Mac's competence in business matters with her difficulties in dealing with an extremely dysfunctional family, a theme Roberts had previously used in the Chesapeake Bay Series (Rising Tides, Sea Swept, and Inner Harbor) and the Calhoun Series.[5] In Visions in White, the family difficulties are caused by the heroine's mother, who is essentially a cross between the mothers in Carolina Moon and Tribute.[5]

The use of the wedding industry is, per Snodgrass, "a wry reprise of Roberts' career in fictional matchmaking".[5] The novel celebrates the joy of a traditional wedding ceremony,[6] including the playful ceremonies arranged by children playing dress-up. Roberts' treatment of these themes "validates the dress-up game of playing bride as both fantasy and a stabilizing preface on women's devotion to mate and family".[5] Roberts included significant detail on the wedding planning industry, which Snodgrass posits is meant to "[applaud] female acumen in niche marketing".[6]

The theme of sisterhood runs through this novel and the rest of the Bride Quartet. The heroines of the four books bonded as children and have become sisters by choice. Throughout the series, they provide mutual support and acceptance of each other's quirks. The emphasis on their careers means the heroines have little time for dating, and they rely heavily on each other for comfort, help, and distractions.[9] A similar theme is seen in several of Roberts' other works; in the In Death series, written under the name J.D. Robb, the heroine has surrounded herself with female friends and colleagues.[10]

According to Betsy Prioleau, Vision In White's hero is a typical representation of the professor as a romance hero, one of the eight archetypes. Like most intellectual romance heroes, Carter is a "sober good guy", and the heroine is attracted to him primarily for his mind.[11] His career is highlighted, with several scenes showing him teaching students or in parent-teacher conferences.[10] In a more unusual twist for a romance, the hero must help the heroine overcome a fear of commitment.[12] After seeing her mother divorce four husbands and discard countless boyfriends, Mac prefers to avoid emotional intimacy rather than risk the relationship splintering.[8] Carter provides reassurance that their relationship is not a cliche.[13]

Reception

Jill M. Smith in Romantic Times gave the novel four out of five stars, labeling it a "wonderful and cozy read".[3] A Publishers Weekly review highlighted the "gentle humor and likable cast" and predicted that this novel "will immediately endear this series to readers".[12] In Booklist, John Charles called the novel "thoroughly charming" and lauded the deep characterization and "sharp, clever writing" that combined to celebrate "friendship and love".[4]

Reader opinion was mixed. Many readers were delighted to see Roberts return to traditional contemporary romances, minus the elements of fantasy and magic that had weaved through her more recent novels. Some praised the tight bonds of sisterhood that Roberts had created for the four founders of Vows, but other readers complained that the character voices were too similar. A vocal minority pointed out the similarities between this novel and Roberts' Calhoun series.[14]

By February 2010, Vision In White and the next novel, Bed of Roses, had combined to sell over 1 million print copies.[15] Over 100,000 copies were sold in Canada alone between May and October 2009.[1] It spent 32 weeks on the USA Today bestseller list, peaking at number 3.[16] The novel was number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List for trade paperback fiction for two weeks.[17][18] This book was the first of Roberts' novels to be a bestseller in trade paperback format. [15]

Computer game

Within months of the novel's release, computer gaming company I-Play began developing a downloadable casual-play game based on the underlying story.[19] Roberts' input was limited to approval of the graphics and the game's interpretation of the story line. The game followed the general plot of the novel, from the perspective of the heroine. Over 40 different locations from the book were featured, including Mac's office and Carter's kitchen.[20] There were hidden-object tasks and several mini-games featuring wedding-related activities, such as cake decorating and floral arranging.[19][20] Roberts was pleased with the final product, remarking that "to have a story translated into a game like this, it’s tremendous fun for me. It’s my initial vision, but I enjoy seeing how, when you translate it into that other medium, how somebody else’s vision manages to affect it but keep the core of the story.” [19] The game was released in February 2010.[21] According to Roberts' website, game sales did not match the developer's expectations, and plans for sequels to the game were cancelled.[22]

References

  1. ^ a b c Kopun, Francine (October 19, 2009), "Nora Roberts, a bestselling author rarely reviewed", The Toronto Star, retrieved February 19, 2015
  2. ^ a b Memmott, Carol (February 13, 2009), "Book a literary-lovers room at Nora Roberts' romantic inn", USA Today, retrieved February 19, 2015
  3. ^ a b Smith, Jill M., "Vision in White", Romantic Times, retrieved February 19, 2015
  4. ^ a b Charles, John (April 15, 2009), "Visions in White", Booklist, retrieved February 19, 2015
  5. ^ a b c d e Snodgrass (2010), p. 66.
  6. ^ a b c d e Snodgrass (2010), p. 67.
  7. ^ a b c Snodgrass (2010), p. 87.
  8. ^ a b Snodgrass (2010), p. 88.
  9. ^ Snodgrass (2010), p. 85.
  10. ^ a b Snodgrass (2010), p. 86.
  11. ^ Prioleau (2013), Chapter 5.
  12. ^ a b "Vision in White", Publishers Weekly, May 2009, retrieved February 19, 2015
  13. ^ Snodgrass (2010), p. 89.
  14. ^ Snodgrass (2010), p. 121.
  15. ^ a b I-play launches Nora Roberts: Vision In White for PC, IGN, 25 Feb 2010, retrieved February 19, 2015
  16. ^ "Vision in White", USA Today, June 21, 2013, retrieved February 19, 2015
  17. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction", New York Times, May 17, 2009, retrieved February 19, 2015
  18. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction", New York Times, May 20, 2009, retrieved February 19, 2015
  19. ^ a b c Staskiewicz, Keith (December 8, 2009), "Nora Roberts to release a downloadable game based on her work", Entertainment Weekly, retrieved February 19, 2015
  20. ^ a b Molina, Brett; Saltzman, Marc (March 29, 2010), "Author Nora Roberts on PC title 'Vision In White'", USA Today, retrieved February 19, 2015
  21. ^ Raugust, Karen (April 19, 2010), "Publishers begin to embrace digital storytelling", Publishers Weekly, retrieved February 19, 2015
  22. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". NoraRoberts.com. Retrieved February 19, 2015.

Sources

  • Prioleau, Betsy (2013). Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them. W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393089912.
  • Snodgrass, Mary Ellen (2010), Reading Nora Roberts, Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, ISBN 9780313362941 – via Questia