Vision in White

Vision In White
Vision in White cover.jpg
AuthorNora Roberts
SeriesBride Quartet
Genrecontemporary romance
PublisherBerkley Books
Publication date
Followed byBed of Roses 

Vision In White is the first book of the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts. The novel was released on April 28, 2009; its cover premiered the use of a special logo to differentiate her new releases from reprints of her past works. It spent two weeks atop the New York Times Bestseller List and reached number 3 on the USA Today bestseller list, marking the first time one of Roberts' books had become a bestseller in trade paperback format. A downloadable casual-play computer game based on the book was introduced by I-Play in 2010.

The novel marked Roberts' return to contemporary romance. The new series revolved around a wedding planning enterprise run by four childhood friends. This first story featured the developing relationship between wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot and English 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 slightly unusual for a romance in that the hero must convince the heroine to take a chance on love.


Nora Roberts is a prolific author of romance and futuristic suspense novels.[1] From 1979 through 2008, almost 200 of her novels were published. On average, she completes a book every 45 days. She does not outline the novels in advance or create character biographies, preferring to develop the plot as she goes.[2]

According to Publishers Weekly, three of the top-ten bestselling mass market paperbacks of 2008 were Roberts novels.[2] Her new releases focused primarily on paranormal and fantasy romance. In 2009, Roberts returned to the traditional contemporary romance subgenre with Vision in White.[3] The novel was the first in her Bride Quartet, which also included Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment, and Happy Ever After.[4] Each novel in the series focuses on the love story of a different founder of Vows, a fictional wedding planning business.[1]

Vision in White was released by Berkley Books on April 28, 2009.[4] The novel was one of ten Roberts books released that year. Five of the releases were paperback reprints of books previously issued. Three were new hardcovers, including two published under the pseudonym J.D. Robb. Vision in White and its sequel, Bed of Roses, were released in trade paperback.[5] To help readers differentiate the new releases from the reprints, the covers of the two trade paperbacks included a medallion with the initials NR.[5]

Plot summary

Vision in White 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. While accompanying his sister to a planning session at Vows, he renews his acquaintance with Mac, and then confesses to having had a crush on her while they were in high school. She is intrigued by him and decides to have a casual fling. After seeing her parents' numerous failed marriages, Mac does not trust the idea of commitment. Her determination to avoid emotional intimacy is reinforced as she struggles against her mother's tactics of emotional manipulation.

Their relationship progresses slowly, with much advice from their large circles of friends. With the support of her friends and Carter, Mac develops the courage to stand up to her mother. By the end of the novel, she realizes that she does not have to relive her parents' mistakes, and she chooses to embrace her love for Carter.


All four of the Bride Quartet novels have a strong theme of sisterhood. 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.[6] A similar theme is seen in several of Roberts' other works; her In Death series, written as J.D. Robb, has a heroine who has surrounded herself with female friends and colleagues.[7]

According to Betsy Prioleau, Vision In White's hero is a typical representation of one of the eight archetypes of a romance hero: the professor.[8] Several scenes in the novel show him teaching students or in parent-teacher conferences.[7] Like most intellectual romance heroes, Carter is a "sober good guy", and the heroine is attracted to him primarily for his mind.[8] In an unusual twist for a romance, however, he is ready for a commitment but must help the heroine overcome her fears.[9] After seeing her mother divorce four husbands and discard countless boyfriends, Mac prefers to avoid emotional intimacy rather than risk the relationship splintering.[10] Carter provides reassurance that their relationship is not a cliche.[11]

Critic Mary Ellen Snodgrass calls Vision In White a story of the New Woman, with a strong heroine who is extremely proud of her significant career accomplishments.[12] Roberts uses the heroine's choices in how to pose or spotlight her photography clients as pointed ways of celebrating both monogamy and "unconventional views of femininity".[13] In one scene, Mac convinces a heavily pregnant woman to pose nude, despite her feelings of awkwardness; through the resulting photos, the client comes to believe that she is actually beautiful.[13][10] In another poke at traditional stereotypes, Mac photographs the bride and groom posing together on a horse; rather than a knight come to rescue the princess, the couple are equals.[13]

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.[12] 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.[12] Roberts shows that, as a result of her family's dysfunction, Mac has chosen to distance herself from deeper emotions.[14] The camera allows Mac to watch other people's happiness and lives without having to fully participate; as the book progresses, she gradually develops the courage to come out of her shell and fully participate in life.[14]

The use of the wedding industry is, per Snodgrass, "a wry reprise of Roberts' career in fictional matchmaking".[12] The novel celebrates the joy of a traditional wedding ceremony,[14] 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".[12] Roberts included significant detail on the wedding planning industry, which Snodgrass posits is meant to highlight and celebrate the women's success at niche marketing.[14]


Jill M. Smith in Romantic Times gave the novel four out of five stars, labeling it a "wonderful and cozy read".[4] A Publishers Weekly review highlighted the "gentle humor and likable cast" and predicted that readers would be eager to follow the characters through the rest of the series.[9] 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".[3]

In a survey of readers, Snodgrass found mixed opinions. Many readers were delighted to see Roberts return to traditional contemporary romances, minus the elements of fantasy and magic that had woven 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 similarities between this novel and Roberts' Calhoun series.[15]

By February 2010, Vision In White and Bed of Roses had sold a combined 1 million print copies.[16] Over 100,000 copies of Vision in White were sold in Canada alone between May and October 2009.[1] The novel spent 32 weeks on the USA Today bestseller list, peaking at number 3.[17] It was number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List for trade paperback fiction for two weeks.[18][19] This book was the first of Roberts' novels to be a bestseller in trade paperback format. [16]

Computer game

Within months of the novel's release, computer gaming company I-Play began developing a downloadable casual-play game based on the story.[20] 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.[21] There were hidden-object tasks and several mini-games featuring wedding-related activities, such as cake decorating and floral arranging.[20][21] 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.” [20] The game was released in February 2010.[22] According to Roberts' website, game sales did not match the developer's expectations, and plans for sequels to the game were cancelled.[23]


  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 Collins, Lauren (June 22, 2009). "Real Romance". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Charles, John (April 15, 2009), "Vision in White", Booklist, retrieved February 19, 2015
  4. ^ a b c Smith, Jill M., "Vision in White", Romantic Times, retrieved February 19, 2015
  5. ^ a b Memmott, Carol (February 13, 2009), "Book a literary-lovers room at Nora Roberts' romantic inn", USA Today, retrieved February 19, 2015
  6. ^ Snodgrass (2010), p. 85.
  7. ^ a b Snodgrass (2010), p. 86.
  8. ^ a b Prioleau (2013), Chapter 5.
  9. ^ a b "Vision in White", Publishers Weekly, May 2009, retrieved February 19, 2015
  10. ^ a b Snodgrass (2010), p. 88.
  11. ^ Snodgrass (2010), p. 89.
  12. ^ a b c d e Snodgrass (2010), p. 66.
  13. ^ a b c Snodgrass (2010), p. 87.
  14. ^ a b c d Snodgrass (2010), p. 67.
  15. ^ Snodgrass (2010), p. 121.
  16. ^ a b I-play launches Nora Roberts: Vision In White for PC, IGN, 25 Feb 2010, retrieved February 19, 2015
  17. ^ "Vision in White", USA Today, June 21, 2013, retrieved February 19, 2015
  18. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction", New York Times, May 17, 2009, retrieved February 19, 2015
  19. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction", New York Times, May 20, 2009, retrieved February 19, 2015
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ a b Molina, Brett; Saltzman, Marc (March 29, 2010), "Author Nora Roberts on PC title 'Vision In White'", USA Today, retrieved February 19, 2015
  22. ^ Raugust, Karen (April 19, 2010), "Publishers begin to embrace digital storytelling", Publishers Weekly, retrieved February 19, 2015
  23. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved February 19, 2015.


  • 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