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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wedding Bell Blues by Meg Benjamin

Wedding Bell Blues by Meg Benjamin
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (211 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Cherry Blossom

Who knew you could find the love of your life at the wedding from hell…

Konigsburg, Book 2

Janie Dupree will do anything to make sure her best friend has the wedding of her dreams, even if it means relinquishing what every bridesmaid covets and never gets—the perfect maid-of-honor dress. Problem is, family drama as tangled as a clump of Texas prickly pear cactus threatens to send the skittish bride hopping aboard the elopement express.

Janie could use a hand, but the best man’s “help” is only making things worse.

Pete Toleffson just wants to get through his brother’s wedding and get back to his county attorney job in Des Moines. He never expected to be the engineer on a wedding train that’s derailing straight toward hell. Janie’s the kind of girl he’d like to get close to—but her self-induced role as “Miss Fix-It” is as infuriating as it is adorable.

If they can just fend off meddling parents, vindictive in-laws, spiteful ex-boyfriends, and a greyhound named Olive long enough to achieve matrimonial lift-off, maybe they can admit they’re head-over-heels in love.

Konigsburg, Texas, is a small town that will charm and seduce you the way only certain quaint, magical places can. In Wedding Bell Blues, Meg Benjamin takes the reader into a world that is at once so real you will find yourself looking for Brenner's phone number and planning an evening there of feasting on tapas and tasting Texas Hill Country wine.

It's the characters in Meg Benjamin's books who create the warm, intimate, irresistible atmosphere. Naturally, the reader will be predisposed favorably towards the main characters, Janie Dupree and Pete Toleffson. And we will indeed fall in love with the driven, charming Pete, the overworked Chicago district attorney. However, being the hero of the story does not give him permission to be perfect. He is delightfully flawed and satisfyingly irritating.

And Janie Dupree, the his love interest and female lead, is such a perfect best friend, and drives herself into such a frenzy over the impossible wedding of Docia, soon-to-be Mrs. Cal Toleffson, that you will not only want to help her, you will want her at your side, as your own best friend, and you will also want to be the one to fix all her problems (which no one, except for Pete, of course, seems to notice).

The dynamics of Janie and Pete's relationship alone would be enough to make this book a favorite read. But Meg Benjamin is not satisfied with a simple two-person love story. Because life is never that simple. The affairs of the Konigsburg residents tends to concern everybody to either dwells there or passes through, and so Meg pulls the reader deep into the Konigsburg world. We share the joys and successes of the main characters, and we know that even when we reach the last page of Wedding Bell Blues, Konigsburg will continue to exist and we will be free to wonder what has become of each of its inhabitants.

But we also share their anger toward the interfering villains, we want to see justice done and fairness restored with fanatic intensity. However, there is magic in a good read and a great fictional world, and Meg Benjamin is a wizard at story-telling. Wedding Bell Blues is not about retribution, even if the story does come to a most satisfying conclusion. Even more so as Meg takes the principle of the happily-ever-after ending and its hopeful message and elevates it to a philosophy. Every single person can hope for a happy ending. Some day. Whoever they are. And not just the hero and heroine.

In the meantime, smile, cry, and rejoice with Janie Dupree and Pete Toleffson. My hope, as a reader, is that I won't have to wait too long for another Konigsburg adventure.