Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-7434-6763-9
Contemporary Romance, 2004
The scenery is wonderful in Carol Grace’s second romance novel for Pocket’s romance line featuring “exotic” (read: non-American-small town) settings. An Accidental Greek Wedding however has a tricky premise to pull off: it pairs an engaged man with his fiancée’s best friend while they are both trying to track down the runaway bride-to-be.
Jane Atwood has always loved Alex Woods since college but she can only stand and watch with a forced smile on her face as Alex courts her best friend, the wealthy Sofia Leonakis whose father Alex works for, instead. Today, Sofia and Alex are finally getting married in Mios, Greece. Alex makes a mistake in telling Sofia that he wants to leave her father’s company to be his own man. The bride-to-be takes off before the wedding. Jane, the maid-of-honor, goes along with Alex to track down Sofia. Jane wants to do the right thing: she wants to find Sofia and make Sofia understand that Alex is the right man for her. But when Alex starts seeing her in a new light, what is poor Jane to do?
The problem here is that the story takes place in five days. It takes five days, a contrived trip to a nude beach, and a few “oopsie” encounters with Jane in a bikini to make Alex see her as a desirable woman. Five days! That’s just a little longer than Britney‘s Vegas wedding, isn’t it? The author does a credible job in revealing why Alex has never seen Jane as more than a friend before, but I’m still not certain that their relationship is the real deal. Jane is just too passive. She would take her infatuation to her grave if Sofia hasn’t run away. Now, I can understand about keeping mum so as to not destroy one’s friendship with another person, but Jane’s behavior in this book is consistently passive. Throw in her pulling that overused “conservative hottie” thing where she goes “Oh no!” even as she gives Alex a great view of her bikini-clad body, and Jane comes off more and more like a clueless stereotype.
All in all, An Accidental Greek Wedding fails to pull off its premise entirely and leaves me with doubts about the romance of the main couple. This means that the romance novel hasn’t done its job properly where I am concerned.
By the way, any men reading this who have been to a nude beach before, I’d like to know something: how do you react when you get turned on by a sexy woman on that beach? Lie face-down on the sand and count to ten? Quickly look at an overweight old man waddling in a thong? Don’t be shy, let me know, because silly old me, who has never been to a nudie beach before, would like to make some comparisons to check whether Alex’s reaction is realistic or not. Indulge me, please.