17 September 2011

Review: A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills by Kim O'Brien

A good romance novel is a delicate balance between the predictable happy-ever-after, with a few surprises thrown in to keep us guessing, and enough humour to keep it moving without making me cringe.  This novel had all three.  But it did have its faults.

Millie is a 31-year-old waitress who works in her mothers' diner in Deer Park, South Dakota.  She wants to leave town, go to LA and get in a commercial, a reality show, a daytime soap, so that one day her father (who left when she was a child) will see her and regret leaving.  She has dated most of the men in town, but has a deep-seated belief that they will leave just like her father did, so she always breaks up with them first.  Unfortunately, her mother had just arranged a blind date for her with the new dentist in town...

David grew up in Deer Park, and has recently returned from California to take over his fathers' dental practice.  He has an 11-year-old son, Bart, and their housekeeper/nanny, Aris.  His wife, Lisa, also a dentist, died five years ago, leaving David to rely on God and his church family.  But now his mother - who is also his dental practice receptionist - is trying to get him together with Cynthia.  David is not interested, partly because Cynthia is practically stalking him. 

When a caramel toffee and a loose filling bring David and Millie together, they agree to 'faux date', to get their mothers' away from them, and hopefully to get Cynthia to back off.  But there are unintended consequences as Millie gets to know David better and discovers she actually likes him and his son.  Yet her insecurities won't let her actually believe or trust David, despite their growing attraction...

It all sounds great, so what were the faults in A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills?  Firstly, the title.  There is no wedding until the epilogue, so this title acts like a great big spoiler.  Secondly, Millie is 31 and has never left her home town, despite claiming she wants to be a famous actress or reality show participant or something.  Grow up, girl.  If you want to act, join the local drama society, take drama lessons, get an agent, do something more than apply to go on reality shows.  Thirdly, David was one year ahead of Millie in school, implying that he is 32.  Yet he has an 11-year-old son, supposedly born when he and wife Lisa were setting up their dental practice in California, so they hired a nanny/housekeeper to look after their baby.  Seriously?  He left high school at 18, is married with a baby at 21, and has somehow managed to graduate from dental college and has enough money to hire a full-time nanny?  And finally, the final chapter and the epilogue.  I don't want to add a spoiler, but in my opinion the final chapter and epilogue were just too perfect, to the point where it actually took away from where the story had finished. 
Overall, this was a fun read, and by half-way through I was really wanting Millie and David to get over the fake dating idea and go for it, although the other part of me could see that David's faith meant that was never really going to let that happen unless Millie was a Christian too. 

A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills was provided by NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for review. 

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