Sunday, February 9, 2014

A December Bride - Denise Hunter

Layla O'Reilly has worked hard to make herself acceptable to the people in her town; having lived her life being judged by her neighborhood and her family, she fights to keep up the appearances that will help her new career as a house stager.  When her date falls through to her ex-fiance's wedding, she is forced to accept an offer from his best friend, Seth, so as to not show up alone.  Her desperate plan backfires, however, when Seth announces their engagement to help her save face.  Suddenly, the whole town thinks they're getting married on Christmas Eve, and her business opportunities are expanding.  Can she keep up the farce for the sake of her business?  How can she pretend to be in a relationship with the man who she feels sabotaged her previous engagement?

This novella is short and sweet, yet manage to pack a good bit of character development into a few amount of pages.  We can really feel Layla's need to be accepted by her family and the town, and her desperation to overcome her past and create her own future.  She manages to grow, even in the short amount of time the book covers, to be able to look past her hurt feelings and see that she may have misjudged Seth over his part in her fiance's betrayal.  Layla's cousin, Jessica, only appears briefly in a few scenes, yet the author makes me hate her snootiness.  I was excited to see some familiar characters in this story, Beckett and Madison, from Barefoot Summer, make an appearance - as Beckett is Layla's brother.  Knowing Beckett from the previous novel, I wished for some more depth to their sibling relationship, but that relationship would have been extraneous to the point of this plotline.  Maybe the author will decide to continue these relationships in a later novel - I'd be in for that!

So - another short, sweet romance.  I like romances where the man works to win the woman, and it's not overly sappy or unbelievable.  Seth makes a few grand gestures, but they're not out of line with the the story or his character, and they enhance the plot rather than making me roll my eyes at the over-the-top romantic gestures.  I give this novella 3.5 stars.

A December Bride is the 2nd novella in the Year of Weddings series.  You can find it HERE.
You can find the author's website HERE.

I received this galley from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

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