Dream Wedding
by Alice Wootson, contemporary (2001)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-149-9

There is something charming and engaging about this author's prose. Dream Wedding is one of those stories that has a plot that make me go "Hah?!!" but dang, it's cute. There are moments that are too sweet for its own good (a same problem I have this author's debut Snowbound With Love), but there are way too many times when I find myself thinking that maybe cavities aren't too bad a fate.

Play the sweet "Lil' Miss Sugar-and-More-Sugar Debutante" theme as we focus on Melissa "Missy" Harrison. Everyone always believes that she and Jimmy Tanner Scott will get married. They have been sparkin' since they were 13. And Missy has been living her head in clouds, planning the perfect wedding with perfect white laces and flowers and everything. Mrs James Tanner Scott - ooh, that thought gives young Missy PG-13 rated mental orgasms.

Then the smelly stuff hits the ceiling. A misunderstanding occurs, and Missy heads off to college. Years later, however, she is back in town for her dream wedding... to some other guy named Walter Wilson.

"What the...? This is so wrong!" Everyone in sweet, perfect Mayland is shocked at the wrongness of it all. Jimmy's the right man for this woman - Jimmy, where are you, Jimmy?

Jimmy isn't going to stand there and see his own wedding dreams of white laces and bridal showers go up in flames. Now, in four weeks, he has to wage war on that upstart Wilson. He will win her back! He will, he will... go, Jimmy!

This story is sweet. Treacly sweet, oozing with unhealthy sugary icing. The people in Mayland are uniformly supportive of the True Destined Love between our two young, perfect leads they do all but to deck out in cheerleader outfits and do backflips. "Gimme me a Jimmy! Gimme a Missy! Gimme gimme gimme lurve! (Don't forget the sex, of course.)" Jimmy is so endearingly charming and perfect despite his sole flaw - his lack of self-esteem because Missy has a college degree and he doesn't - no matter how superfluous or silly it is, dang, that man is charming. Missy is a bit of the clueless romantic, and she can be rather obtuse at times, but when she runs racing into Jimmy's arms - "I do, Jimeeeeeee, I doooooo!" - I can't help but to be won over.

I could use a bit less wholesome small town goodness from Dream Wedding, but this book is like an overearnest child who has just created her first artwork. I hate to puncture the enthusiasm by pointing out that the artwork has an extra eye and that it looks more like that pregnant two-headed elephant on TV than "Mommy". It's not nice to sneer at Dream Wedding's overwhelmingly idealistic notions of true, pure, preordained love. I already feel bad wishing the sugar level to be toned down a little.

Oh what the heck, just pour the sugar over me.

Rating: 83

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