Review: A Simple Wedding by Leigh Duncan

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Jenny always dreamed of getting married at Heart’s Landing. But when she finally visits the charming small town, she’s there to make wedding arrangements for someone else: her cousin, who also happens to be her boss and a famous movie star. To keep the event secret and avoid a media circus, Jenny pretends she’s the one getting married.

Nick is intrigued by this bride-to-be who starts visiting his bakery every afternoon for sweet treats and conversation. He has to keep reminding himself that she’s already spoken for.

As Jenny deals with her cousin’s ever-changing demands, she tries to hide her attraction to Nick. Planning this wedding couldn’t be more complicated…and what will happen once the truth comes to light?

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing          Rating: 3½/5 stars

Though Jenny doesn’t have a load of free time or much of social life, it hasn’t stopped her from dreaming of such luxuries!  In fact, since she was a little girl, Jenny has dreamed of her wedding day, the flowers, the cake, the dress, and especially the groom and the location.  Heart’s Landing has been Jenny’s dream since she first discovered the idyllic location as a young girl.  However, getting the wedding of her dreams likely won’t happen if she doesn’t find a way to carve out some free time to socialize and hate.

Jenny’s life revolves around her cousin, a Hollywood starlet turned serious actress with several awards to her credit.  Jenny’s cousin is top-notch and running her life has Jenny moving and shaking 24/7.  In fact, her latest movie, set to earn her yet another award, has Jenny and her cousin completely consumed.  As if the work weren’t enough, Jenny also has to deal with her cousin’s surprise announcement, not only is she engaged to her costar but the wedding is going to be in just six short weeks, it will be in Heart’s Landing, and Jenny has to plan the whole thing onsite while keeping the identity of the bride and groom a complete secret.

Heart’s Landing is every bride’s dream location.  The entire town is charming, beautiful, and filled with shops, services, and settings geared toward the bride and the perfect wedding.  Heart’s Landing prides itself on its quality and the shop keepers and business owners go above and beyond to ensure each bride has the wedding she has always wanted.  To that end, Jenny comes to town with a mixture of feelings.  On the one hand, she knows the town and its offerings will be perfect for cousin, but on the other hand Jenny hates lying to people who are bending over backwards to help her.

The lying starts the minute she walks into town and doesn’t stop for even a second.  Jenny’s cousin concocted and entire backstory and life history for Jenny’s “fiancé” so no one will suspect Jenny isn’t the bride.  In short order, Jenny gets all her cousin’s wishes squared away and considers leaving town early before she must lie to anymore of the fine people in Heart’s Landing.  Unfortunately, her cousin has different plans, a lot of different plans that has Jenny backtracking, rearranging services, and generally pissing off everyone in town.  To keep her under control, the shop keepers call on Nick, the owner of the local bakery to keep an eye on Jenny and keep her from making anymore radical changes related to her big day.

 The deception weighs heavily on Jenny especially as she gets to know Nick and the rest of the residents of Heart’s Landing.  The more time she spends in town, the more she wants to divulge every detail of her sham wedding and apologize profusely to the entire town.  Unfortunately, Jenny is loyal to her core and she would rather jeopardize her own happiness than sell out her cousin.  Though Jenny is miserable, everything is on track and ready for the big day.  That is, until just hours before the wedding when her cousin completely betrays Jenny and all that she has done in her name.

The Bottom Line:  While I generally sink into the Hallmark books and love on them from cover to cover, I must admit struggling with this book.  To be clear, my struggle and my star rating are related to a single character, Jenny’s cousin.  I found Jenny’s cousin to be the very definition of spoiled, selfish, and entitled.  Her actions betray Jenny at every level, and I found it hard to enjoy any scene with actress as every word out of her mouth was another bit of misery for Jenny.  Having said that, I found all other aspects of the book to be quite agreeable.  Jenny and Nick are just delightful, Nick’s tasty creations are mouth-wateringly described, and Heart’s Landing and her residents are picture perfect.  For most, Jenny’s cousin won’t be an issue, and many will find this book to be the perfect rainy day read.  Outside of the single issue, I found A Simple Wedding to be just that!

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