As I mentioned in my previous post, there are a few criteria that I have for a really good romance novel:
- Main characters I care about.
- A believable impediment to them being together.
- unique ways of throwing the main characters together.
- A sweet reveal of their true feelings for one another.
- Make me feel as if I haven’t missed out on the best part of the journey.
I will be basing my evaluation of this book, and all romance books that I review, on this criteria.
In Kissing the Maid of Honor, Sela Sullivan is trying to be the best maid of honor ever for her best friend, Vanessa Watters. This is impeded by her dislike of her best friend’s brother, Luke (who also happens to be Sela’s brother Shane’s best friend). As much as she loves the Watters family, she can’t forgive Luke for humiliating her ten years earlier. Being a good friend, she resolves to tolerate Luke over the course of the wedding, making a wish that he stays as far away from her as possible. This is complicated by the fact that Luke has to stand in for the best man when he is unable to make it. As the maid of honor and best man, Sela and Luke will have to spend a lot of time together. The more time they spend together, the more undeniable the attraction between them becomes. Can they overcome the hurts of the past and get along long enough to make Vanessa’s wedding a success? What will happen after the wedding?
Of course, there are more complications. Luke, an extreme sports photographer, is only in town for the wedding. He is hiding a recent injury from his family. His best friend Shane will kill him if he finds out Luke is attracted to his baby sister. Vanessa and the other women in her family don’t want Luke to be with Sela, either. Sela, a nurse, learns about Luke’s injuries and has to keep it a secret, as well as a secret of her own.
Using my aforementioned rubric, this is how the book fared:
- I loved the characters. Not only did I love Sela and Luke, but I really liked the supporting characters of Shane, Vanessa, Erin, and the baker, Meredith. The author did a great job creating characters that typify small town living, but were fully fleshed out as well.
- By creating such dynamic characters, it was easy to see many of the obstacles that kept them apart. Then tension creating between what Sela and Luke felt for each other and the loyalty they felt to their friendships was a believable impediment. Their past history and the danger of Luke’s profession coupled with Sela’s experiences of losing patients also caused believable tension.
- I felt it was unique to have Luke’s secret injury be part of what draws them together, as well as all of the wedding related duties. It was interesting that the same thing that was bringing them together could also drive them apart. When Sela realizes the danger that Luke puts himself in for his job, how could she love him in the face of possibly losing him each time he goes on assignment?
- I didn’t really like the way Luke revealed his feelings for Sela. I didn’t see any real risk to him confessing his feelings then. He is a charismatic guy; it would have meant more for someone wasn’t to have done it this way.
- I did feel like I got to see the best parts of their story told. I didn’t feel as if I was missing out on anything.
Other things I liked about the story were the elements of the wishing well and the kissing booth. I like the stories that were written about Luke in the paper and how they influenced their relationship.
What I didn’t like, other than the reveal of Luke’s feelings, was Sela’s secret. I didn’t think that it added to the story. I also thought that a few four letter words were used too liberally without adding to the dialogue.
Overall, this was a great quick read that made me care about the characters and wonder how they would resolve the various issues keeping them apart. The writing was of a high quality and kept my focus on the story rather than on other choices the author could have made with the story. The authors development of the minor characters has me hoping I will see them in future stories in this series, as well as getting to see Sela and Luke again.
Kissing the Maid of Honor: ***1/2/****; A- For character development, plot progression, overall engagement. Point deducted for a less than “aww” worthy, swoon inducing declaration of love.
(I was given a free kindle version of this book to review. No compensation was provided for this review.)