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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Perfect Bride for Christmas by Dyann Love Barr

The Perfect Bride for Christmas by Dyann Love Barr
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (378 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Three Kings series
Alex King wants to follow the family tradition and marry his perfect bride on Christmas Eve. There’s one little hitch—Bianca dumps him at the altar. He wakes up in Vegas with a hangover, a ring on his finger, and in bed with his best friend,Zoe Hillman. She’s overweight and plain, nothing at all like his image of the perfect wife. So begins the shortest Vegas marriage in history.

Zoe loved Alex from the moment he walked through the law firm’s doors. He can charm the panties off any woman, but he’s never tried it with her. The chance to grab for the golden ring is within her reach until everything blows up in her face. Now, five years later she returns to Kansas City with triplets in tow and a brand new look. Catering Alex’ next wedding should prove interesting.

Chocolate truffles and tears did not fix Zoe Hillman’s broken heart, but they inadvertently changed her and gave her the greatest treasures of her life.

Five years after her world-shattering experience, Zoe returns to the town where she was called “the fat girl” at the office. One hundred and fifty pounds lighter, a widow, a mother, and a fledging entrepreneur, Zoe works hard to build her catering business. Her former boss Alex King, who had torn her heart to shreds, plans to marry on Christmas Eve and his mother Amelia hires Zoe to cater the reception at the King's beautiful Victorian home called Hollyfield. This is a boon for her new business, so Zoe, in her mind, determines to be totally professional in all her dealings with the King family, but her heart and body remember Alex King and the euphoric joy of being with him.

Alex King, an ambition young lawyer, plans to wed Sydney Stanford, daughter of the number one lawyer in the firm. She has all the qualifications to be a perfect wife—slim, blonde, rich, socially connected, good in bed, and his ticket to becoming a senior partner in the firm. He is sure his third time to the altar will be a charm. When he meets the petite, curvy caterer with the kaleidoscope eyes, he fails to recognize her immediately, but when he does, his life starts working itself into a Gordian Knot that he seems unable to untie. He alone can unweave the tangled threads of his life but he seems to have lost the backbone to do it.

The emotional journey the reader takes with both Alex and Zoe is a bumpy ride with some remarkable secondary characters adding challenges, misery, joys, and rewards along the way. Amelia, Alex’s mother, kind and caring, is a subtle manipulator. She is a firm believer in keeping one’s friends close and one’s enemies closer—Keeley Jacobs and Sydney Stanford are prime examples. Of course, the adorable Micheala, the little warrior; Macy, the little skeptic; and Mia, the shy little princess are charmers that can make the heart ache one minute then make it jump with joy the next. They bring laughter, tears, and a love that passes all understanding. They are beguiling little darlings.

Aunt Brenda and Sydney Stanford, both spoiled women with a sense of entitlement, bring discord and anxious times into the action. Keeley, Jesse, Clint, Heath, and even little Walter the kitten add their share of stress, joy and confusion to the mix making The Perfect Bride for Christmas a story that is hard to put down.

Dyann Love Barr has a writing style that engages ones senses and emotions immediately and keeps them involved. Her humor ,descriptions, imagery, and revealing phrases like “emotional tsunami”, “crabalicious”, hop-on daddy”, “schizophrenic emotions”, and so many more enrich the scenes and let the reader see the multi-faceted personalities of the intriguing characters.

Christmas magic--with wishes coming true, neighbors helping neighbors, family love that extends to more than just family, and a happy-ever-after love makes The Perfect Bride for Christmas a story that acknowledges flaws and foibles of people but it also reaffirms the belief in the goodness of people.

Most enjoyable!