Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A December Bride (A Year of Weddings #1) by Denise Hunter

A December Bride (A Year of Weddings Novella)

What started as a whim turned into an accidental - and very public - engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season - for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy, the best friend of Layla O'Reilly's ex-fiance would be the last person she'd marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency, a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map. Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she'll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she's landed her client. For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.

What a sweet romance! 
It's definitely tame in comparison to my normal reads but I'm up for a change of pace! it's a sweet romance, concentrating more on the tension between the characters rather than what goes on behind closed doors.

This is a novella - it only took me a few hours at most to read. It's the start of a series of novellas with similar titles and covers, ranging through a Year of Weddings. As you can see from the synopsis, there's been some stuff happen in the past between the main characters, and not all of it good.

There's tension between Seth and Layla, more on Layla's behalf. Seth's happy to see her again though he's tentative about her reaction to his presence. Especially since Layla still blames Seth for her (now ex) fiance, Jack, hooking up with her cousin, Jessica, behind her back. In need of a date to the wedding, Seth offers her a ride and so the fun begins. The good thing, in my mind, is that Seth is not silly enough to still call Jack his best friend. If I was in that situation, I can guarantee my best friend wouldn't retain that particular rating of friendship. 
There's tension between Layla and Jessica, and honestly, why wouldn't there be. Jessica is a prissy, stuck up cousin who puts Layla down every chance she gets. Jack is oblivious to the by-play between them and Jessica knows it too. 

Once you remove the annoying pair of Jack and Jessica for the time being, the relationship between Layla and Seth finally has a chance to blossom, despite the hitch - in Layla's opinion - of their fake engagement. She wants it to over, he wants to stretch it out so he has an opportunity to woo her. She then needs the fake engagement in order to land a job to kick start her business. 

Overall, it's a lovely read to take you through a few hours of personal down time whether you're snuggled up in front of a fire with snow outside, like our main characters, or sweating it out and in need of a mental escape. It kept me engaged in the story the whole time and I came out of it feeling happy. It's also listed as a Christian romance and I'm really pleased to say that the religious angle is subtle and not in-your-face as I've encountered in other (more main stream) novels.

Well done Denise! I'm looking forward to see what the next author has in store with A January Bride which I'll be reading next.

There's also a look into the prequel to this story, Barefoot Summer, at the end of the book which is the story of Layla's brother and his fiance, Maddison. 

NetGalley Copy received from NetGalley and publisher for an honest review

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