In this latest installment of the Dreamspun Desires series, we are introduced to August O'Leary, an American who went to college in the UK, fell deeply in love, got engaged, got dumped, and now, eight years later, works as a high-end event planner in London. He's got great friends, but hasn't allowed anyone to get close to him since his fiance broke off their engagement at the behest of the fiance's class-conscious mother.
You see, in Britain, one mustn't marry someone from the working class when one is filthy rich and part of the lower aristocracy. Apparently.
Since the ex-fiance, Christopher Burke, is the best friend of Libby, the bride-to-be who just hired August to plan her wedding which is the social event of the year, and Libby's fiance Edward is too busy to help with the planning, their paths cross once more.
I really liked that the author turned the usual "wedding planner" trope a bit on its head by not having her character fall for one of the happy couple, but the best friend of the bride, and gave them a strong albeit painful history. It's part second-chance-at-love story, and part tongue-in-cheek at the British social classes.
It's quite obvious from the start that August is still hurt and angry at being so unceremoniously dumped, and Christopher's inability to even apologize doesn't win him any favors either. It's clear that their love still burns brightly, but August doesn't trust Christopher at all, and Christopher has no idea how to win August back.
His persistence however pays off, and he gets another chance with August. Until he .... well, I'll let you experience that for yourself.
I liked August quite a lot, and I thought that he had the required backbone to stand up to Christopher, but also soft enough to allow himself to open up again after a while. I also liked his friends, and how supportive they were of him. August's family, whom we meet when he's back on Boston on vacation, was also supportive and kind.
I didn't like Christopher very much in the beginning, considering the history between him and August, but it was also clear after a while that he truly regretted having succumbed to his family's pressure to give up August, and is hellbent on winning him back, glad to be given another chance. I think that being given insight into Christopher's mind was helpful in turning my opinion of him the further I got into the book.
Of course, this book is OTT more often than not, but that's to be expected from this series, and part of why I love reading these books. The grand gesture, the sweeping romance, the heart-pounding lead-up to the climax - all of it is in here, and I had a blast reading this book.
One big niggle - when August and Will are moving to New York to open the new store, there is no mention of Will needing a visa to work in the US - while August as an American doesn't need this, Will as a Brit certainly does, and this was never mentioned. I cannot ascertain whether the author paid attention to immigration laws or not, or whether I was simply supposed to assume that a visa was obtained, so this bothered me.
Apart from that niggle though, I thought the book was a great way to spend a few hours, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **