Daddy by Default

Father Fever

Father Formula

Father Found

First Born Son

Gift-Wrapped Dad

The Hunk & the Virgin

The Man Under the Mistletoe

Man With a Miracle

His Wedding by Muriel Jensen
(Harl. American #1084, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-75088-9
Twenty-five years ago, Janet Abbott was kidnapped from her home and adopted into another. Now, she is finally reunited with her loving family who is on the verge of celebrating two weddings. Her brothers charge her with convincing Brian Girard to be the best man for one of them. While doing so, she also realizes he is the one for her.

Because of the suffering his father has caused the Abbott family, Brian is set on keeping his distance from them and especially from their newly found kin. But he underestimates both his attraction to Janet and her determination to get him to the altar.

When Janet suspects she has uncovered information about her two-decade-old kidnapping, she asks Brian to help her. He agrees, and their quest ensures they are thrown together often enough for their romance to develop. Yet despite repeated assurances that he is not responsible for his father's sins and that he has done more good than bad, Brian has enough angst to keep the lovers apart for a good portion of the book. Just when one problem is resolved, another one rears its angry head. And so it continues until Brian is finally convinced that he cannot run away from true love.

Brian and Janet's story is the fourth (and last?) in the Abbott family series. Readers do need to know something about the large cast of relatives, but it is not always easy. I spent the first fifty pages thumbing back and forth as I tried to figure out the convoluted relationships in this large blended family. (An example of just how convoluted: Brian is Janet's half-brothers' half-brother, but she and he have no blood ties. Makes sense?) Readers already familiar with the Abbotts may have it easier and can therefore settle right into the story.

This leads to my main contention with His Wedding: it doesn't really stand sufficiently on its own. I was skeptical, for instance, when Janet sets her cap on Brian only thirty pages into the book, especially since the poor girl has already been left at the altar once. By making such a quick decision, she seems to be heading for another disaster. I finally gave her the benefit of the doubt and presumed her interest had been sparked when they first met in the earlier novels. But even if this were the case, any such episode, so central to their romance, should belong here.

Similarly, although there are enough allusions to Brian's past relationship with the Abbott family to understand his present actions, I suspect it would have gone easier on me if I'd done the background reading. But now that I know most of the family secrets, I don't feel compelled to read the earlier ones.

In short, His Wedding may be a more satisfying reading for true Abbott family fans. For the rest of us, it is just adequate.

--Mary Benn

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