23 December 2011

Review: Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker

Wedding planner Sherilyn Keyes has left Chicago behind to marry Andrew Drummond IV, an Atlanta native with a family name that tops all the social registers. She joins Emma, her old college roommate and baker, in working at the Tanglewood Inn, a destination wedding hotel. But Sherilyn faces a series of challenges to her relationship and her faith as she and Andrew settle into their new jobs and begin planning their own wedding.

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride is the second book in Sandra Bricker’s Never the bride series, following Always the Baker, Never the Bride(which I found to be a sweet love story, if you will excuse the pun). The final two titles in the series will apparently be Always the Fashionista, Never the Bride and Always the Baker, Finally the Bride. Always the Wedding Planner was enjoyable, with moments of humour, but overall I found it bittersweet – there just seemed to be a sadness about it that was not present in Always the Baker
, which I enjoyed much more.

Some of what I found funny might have been unintentional. For example, at one point in the story, Emma bakes a new desert. She says, “it’s called Pavlova. It’s an Australian dessert that Russell told me about”. Hmmm. The actual origin of Pavlova is the source of much trans-Tasman rivalry, and we in New Zealand don’t exactly agree with this interpretation. Equally debated is the nationality of actor/singer Russell Crowe, who seems to have a lot of the same characteristics as Always the Wedding Planner'sRussell Walker (although we are generally glad to let the Aussies claim Crowe as long as he is behaving badly). The e-book I reviewed had a few entertaining buy slightly distracting typographical errors (the song title ‘Waltzing With Matilda’, a reference to an ‘empire waste’ dress), but these will hopefully be fixed in the final print version.

I also found the Southern perception of English food and drink amusing. In ten years living in England, I never saw a smoked salmon sandwich with cranberry jelly on pumpernickel bread. The English use cranberry sauce (not cranberry jelly), and I never ate pumpernickel bread in England - that was German. The English did serve smoked salmon with dill and cream cheese on Vogel bread as an open sandwich (very nice). However, cold chicken curry is a popular dish and sandwich filling, except that they called it Coronation Chicken, as it was created for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (I don’t like Coronation Chicken – curry, in my opinion, should be served hot).

Overall, Always the Wedding Plannerwas good but not great. However, I often find the second book in a series is the weakest, so I will probably read the next book, if only to find out how the characters are moving on in their lives.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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