25 December 2013

Review: A December Bride by Denise Hunter

Christmas Wishes

I’m not a big fan of novellas. I usually find them too short—I want the full story, and that usually needs a full-length novel to achieve. So I was pleasantly surprised by A December Bride. It didn’t try to achieve too much, and the nature of the story suited the shorter form.

Layla O’Reilly’s engagement to Jack ended when he met her cousin, Jennifer, and now Layla needs a last-minute date to their wedding (because if she doesn’t take a date, everyone will think she’s still in love with Jack). She ends up going with Seth Murphy, Jack’s best friend, who she blames for the whole predicament because he introduced Jack to Jessica. A slight misunderstanding at the wedding gives her family the impression that she’s engaged to Seth. Nothing could be further from the truth, but she needs Seth’s help …

I liked Layla. She’d had a difficult upbringing, but was determined to overcome that by starting her own business (staging houses for sale). And I liked Seth. Strong, honourable, fallible, real. The two had history, but the author did an excellent job of not bogging down the present story with the past history, but allowing it to come out when relevant. All in all, a fun story.

A December Bride is part of the A Year of Weddings series, a set of novellas from a range of contemporary authors such as Denise Hunter, Rachel Hauck and Deborah Raney (I assume there will be twelve, but only six are currently being advertised on Amazon). My sense of order would have preferred the series to begin in January and end in December, but apparently that’s not the case as A December Bride is the first story. It seems that each novella is a standalone story (although A December Bride is effectively a prequel to Hunter’s full-length novel, Barefoot Summer).

An enjoyable, if short, read. Perfect for summer sunbathing (for us in the Southern Hemisphere) or winter snuggling (for the rest of you).

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Denise Hunter at her website.

Best wishes to you all for a joyful Christmas, and a blessed year in 2014.

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