Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Year of Weddings Series: A December Bride by Denise Hunter


A Year of Weddings
Zondervan Publishers (HarperCollins) has begun a new novella series, featuring some of our favorite authors. Every month for a year, beginning December, 2013 (the first one already released), they’re releasing a romantic novella. (some of them are pictured above) Here's their tagline: "A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed."

They’re a set of e-books, unavailable in print. If you don’t have an e-reader, you might try reading them on your smart phone via compatible apps. They’re reasonably priced as they’re novella length. 

A December Bride by Denise Hunter
The first one in the series is Denise Hunter’s A December Bride. The best part, if you’re a Denise Hunter fan, is we get to visit the setting of her book Barefoot Summer.

Let’s begin with the summary:

What started as a whim turned into an accidental—and very public—engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the façade in Chapel Springs this holiday season—for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy—the best friend of Layla O'Reilly's ex-fiancé  —would be the last person she'd marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency—a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map.
Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she'll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she's landed her client.

For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.

And now, my review:

Sounds yummy, right?

Oh, how I love Denise’s writing! Though this e-book reads fast, due to its length, diehard fans will not be disappointed. Denise’s way with romance is so apparent between the hero and heroine. I highlighted a multitude of delightful passages as I devoured the story.

At first, Seth Murphy isn’t certain he’s making a wise choice, reaching out to Layla. But when she needs him, he can’t help himself. What follows is a season of learning to trust and forgive.

I liked the theme of Layla learning about her value, despite her history. And I loved that this was a reunion romance, where the two main characters were once close, then distanced, and were then forced back together by circumstances. And this hero is lovesick! I loved that! With subtle sarcasm and serious chemistry, this story kept me swiping screens.

As I mentioned, one of the things about it being a novella is the story moves along quickly, getting us to the desired HEA (happily ever after) ending. I love novellas for that, yet I could have spent more time with these two great characters. (*grin*)

Bravo, Zondervan, for beginning this series with Denise’s book. I’m looking forward to reading all the books in this series!

Highly recommended!

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