Review: A Cottage Wedding (Book #2: Heart’s Landing Series) by Leigh Duncan

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Tara Stewart’s boss at Weddings Today magazine sends her to Heart’s Landing to debunk its romantic legends. This could devastate the many local businesses who cater to weddings, from Forget Me Knot Florist to Dress for a Day.

The locals convince Jason Heart, the handsome descendant of the town’s founder, to show Tara around the town. But can he persuade her to believe in the romance?

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

Tara Stewart feels she has sacrificed more than enough for her career.  She lost her no-good boyfriend, she’s disappointed her parents, she’s lived in a super small apartment, and completed the most mind-numbing tasks for two years in order to work her way up the ladder.  Tara’s ultimate goal, the thing she has sacrificed so much to achieve, is be a real reporter for Weddings Today magazine. 

For two years, Tara has toiled in the trenches doing whatever mindless task comes along.  She has yet to do any real writing and she’s almost given up hope of ever breaking away from the pack and achieving her goals.  Thankfully, and sadly, her boss has an axe to grind with the lovely little town of Heart’s Landing and she’s willing to give Tara a shot at reporting, on one condition, Tara must willfully and knowingly tear the town apart in her final article. 

Anyone and everyone in the wedding/destination wedding business knows about Heart’s Landing and their impeccable reputation.  In fact, for many, many years Heart’s Landing has been ranked as the nation’s number one destination wedding location and that ranking has helped the town prosper and thrive.  Everyone also knows that the town isn’t in the wedding business for the money (completely!) but to provide brides and grooms with their dreams made real in the form of a perfect wedding.

According to Tara’s assignment, she is to do three things: 1) find and note any and all issues/problems/failures on the part of the people and businesses in Heart’s Landing; 2) disprove the theory/story surrounding the town’s founder and his love for his bride and; 3) absolutely ensure Heart’s Landing loses their number one ranking.  Tara’s disgruntled boss has made it perfectly clear that her (Tara’s) future as a “real” journalist at Weddings Today is secure if she accomplishes her three tasks.

Because the ranking of wedding destination sites is so important, Heart’s Landing has spent the last months refining their game and polishing and primping in preparing for a visit from Weddings Today.  From the moment she arrives in town, Tara is hard-pressed to find fault with the people, the businesses, and/or the accommodations.  In fact, Tara quickly realizes her job is going to be far harder than she anticipated.  The people of Heart’s Landing are genuinely kind and care about the brides and grooms they serve.  Providing a perfect wedding isn’t just a gimmick for Heart’s Landing but a way of life and one they have proudly maintained for years. 

Tara’s guide through her stay is Jason Heart, owner and operator of Heart’s Landing’s most requested wedding site, the Captain’s “cottage.”  The site is old, well maintained, beautifully ornate while not being gaudy, and the perfect location for a wedding.  From the moment he meets Tara, Jason is wary of her intentions but as the days begin to pass, he lowers his guard, trusts her, and even helps her with her research.  Of course, Jason is oblivious to Tara’s true intentions which makes her betrayal so much more devastating.

The Bottom Line:  I liked this book, but if this series is going to continue, there’s going to need to be a change up in the plots and plans.  This is the second book in the series, and both have had, as their central plot, a woman coming to town under false pretenses.  I want more from this series because its gorgeous location and cast of local characters deserve more!

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