Jove, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-25127-0
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Sidney Sinclair dumped her no-good cheating fiance about eight months ago, but with her sister Isabelle getting married soon, she realizes the clock is ticking. Ticking away as she tries to find a date for that big day, that is. Oh yes, she’d also like to settle down with a guy who is ready for commitment, but at the same time. it seems like every guy she dates is disagreeable in one way or another. When a hot guy hits on her shortly after she’d shaken off another lousy date, she reads him down and basically tells him to go walk off a short pier.
That hot guy turns out to be – surprise! – her future brother-in-law Vaughn Roberts. He’s the best man, she’s the bridesmaid, so they are going to be seeing a lot of one another as their respective siblings proceed with their wedding plans. With the attraction being there and all, would there be another wedding down the road?
Okay, the plot seems flimsy, and in a way, this story is quite unfocused. Unlike the previous books by this author, this one seems to move far slower and is easier to put down when a more interesting distraction comes up.
On paper, this shouldn’t be. Sidney is another capable and successful career woman that makes no apologies for her being who she is, and I usually like that. Vaughn is charming and so adorably male in every sense of the word. Thing is, I’ve come across these characters many time before, and while the chemistry is there, there is also a sense of “I’ve read this before” feeling weighing the whole thing down. I feel like those reality TV show judges who would tell a competent contestant, “I need to see some vulnerability from you!” I’d like to see more vulnerability in these characters. There is nothing wrong with the way Sidney and Vaughn are, it’s just me – I’m bored, and I’d like to see something different from this author.
The comedy is great. The author playfully skewers the convention of a more typical romantic comedy by having Sidney embody many of the more familiar “heroine who is a bit bitter about guys after a broken relationship with a cheater” tropes only to turn those tropes around as the story progresses. Some of the observations made by various characters about dating and the opposite sex are hilarious and, often, accurate. But, again, I feel like I’ve come across all this before.
I also wish that It Happened One Wedding is a standalone story instead of being linked to the author’s previous books. By necessity, Vaughn is a special agent, since that’s what he is in previous books. The author shows him doing his undercover thing, which ends up having little to do with the overall plot as Sidney doesn’t get kidnapped or anything like that. Both he and Sidney are often shown at their job, doing things well, but these scenes don’t add much to the story. They feel like padding, like the author killing some time by showing me that these people actually work like everyone else. In Vaughn’s case, though, the whole undercover thing ends up being a distraction because it seems far more interesting than the rest of the story.
It’s like me telling you, “Oh, you know, so I went to this shop, and they had pretty dresses. The red was so darling, and there was this blue dress that makes me so hot, so I kicked this stupid baby out of the way as I dashed to the – ”
You’d say, “Wait, you kicked a baby?”
I’d say, “Yes, so, this yellow dress with such adorable black polka dots, or this delightful pink slip that…”
And then you’d have your fingers around my neck, throttling me as you scream, “Screw the dresses! The baby! I want to hear about the baby!”
Vaughn’s undercover gig is the baby in this story.
Anyway, there is nothing really wrong with It Happened One Wedding, but at the same time, I think it lacks the snappy pacing and sexy chemistry present in the author’s previous books. Or maybe I’m just bored? Either way, things aren’t so happening here.