Once Upon a Wedding

The Wedding She Always Wanted
by Stacy Connelly
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #2033, $4.99, PG) ISBN 978-0373-65515-1
The Wedding She Always Wanted is one of those stories that is easy to read, yet doesn’t have much substance and definitely doesn’t stay with you once you are done.

Emily Wilson was set to be married when her fiancé decided to leave her for another woman, who was actually pregnant.  Just a few days before her Emily’s wedding was scheduled to take place, her cousin was getting married to Emily’s high school boyfriend (and they are still friends), Connor McClane.  In fact it was Connor who discovered that the fiancé was a snake.  So here Emily is – at the wedding – trying to show one and all that she is really happy for her cousin and pretending that everyone is not talking about how pitiful she is.  Enter Javier Delgado.  Javier is Connor’s best man and best friend.  He dances with her and convinces her to show the world the stuff she is made of.  And of course, to show her that he is attracted to her.

When Javier’s family restaurant is damaged by a broken pipe, it looks like grim. But they decide to fix it back up.  Emily is amazed at how hard he works.  She is also aware that while she is fighting her self-esteem demons, he has his own.  He was partially estranged from his father when he died and he is helping his mother with the family business.  He has plans for expansion, but his mother is holding onto the past and the restaurant “just like when her husband was alive.”  He also has a romantic past, having been heartbroken over a girl his parents deemed unsuitable, who ultimately proved them right. His reputation is fast and loose.

Javier and Emily keep seeing each other and supporting each other.  When Emily wants to buy a house, Javier hooks her up with his real estate broker sister.  When her parents start to treat her like a little girl and patronize her choices, he offers her support and urges her to do what she wants.  When Emily discovers that her parents bought off one of her boyfriends to keep her from “making a mistake,” Javier is the one who helps her figure it out.  And when Emily tries to figure out what to do with her life, he is there to accept her choices and encourage her efforts.

Meanwhile, Emily supports Javier in his dreams and in the process, the two realize they have something special.  Emily thinks it is too soon for a relationship and Javier is not interested in anything long term, but their hormones don’t seem to listen to their heads.  Their romance is filled with stops and starts, sexual attraction and backing away. 

As I write this review, I have a hard time remembering details just a few days after finishing the book. That leaves me with the impression that nothing new was in this and that it is definitely just a mediocre tale. I do remember hating how her family treated her, like she was a young child with no mind of her own.  There are a lot of stereotypes in this book about the rich and about the poor - the rich being haughty and cold while the poor have wonderful families and heartwarming lives.  Even though the ending is much sweetness and everyone lives happily ever after, there is a lot of schmaltz to getting there.

If you are looking for a great category romance, this is probably not the book to pick up.  If you want a pleasant way to go into oblivion and the world of relatively innocuous romance, then The Wedding She Always Wanted may fit the bill. 

--Shirley Lyons

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