When it comes to creating the perfect happily-ever-after, Yardley Belanger is a bona fide miracle worker. From bridal bouquets to matching cowboy boots, the quirky wedding planner’s country-chic affairs have caused quite a stir in the small town of Cemetery. But when it comes to her own love life? She’s clueless.
Perhaps it’s for the best. The thirty-one-year-old has poured her heart and soul into her business and doesn’t have time for anything—or anyone—else. And that’s something not even the gorgeous older brother of her newest client can change…right?
All Travis Long wanted was to give his little sister, Sheena, the wedding of her dreams. Ever since the tragic death of their parents, he’s done everything he can to make her feel loved and give her everything she needs. Still…a country wedding? In a place called Cemetery? But Yardley seems to know exactly what to do and how to do it—and Travis finds himself falling for her a little more each day.
Soon Yardley and Travis find themselves being nudged together by well-meaning locals who want to see the town’s favorite wedding planner get her own happy ending.
I think this may be my first Lori Foster book but it definitely won’t be my last. Honestly I’m rather shocked; my book diet is almost exclusively romance and bad boys (which Lori excels in), but when I looked at her book list, nothing looked familiar that I might have read. Clearly Lori has a knack for small town settings with quirky characters that remind me of my small town (283), and Cemetery, which has a whopping 827 residents, takes the cake in quirky.
Yardley is a kind sympathetic heroine who looks after everyone around her–and after herself least. Her heart and soul belong to her career as a wedding planner and to her town where she works to make the small businesses there thrive as much as her own. Townsfolk adore her. There’s a businessman in town who had a bit of a crush on her–but she never noticed. She’s Cinderella without the helpful mice. She’s so busy looking after her mother and aunt–who you’d get the impression they were a bit doddering since she’s looking after them so much–she doesn’t have time for a life. Ah, here is our conflict. These relatives are both actually under 55. There’s nothing doddering about them. Yardley, the poor soul, is trying to earn their approval, even after all this time, and the Disney villainesque mother and aunt are as malcontent as Maleficent and Ursula on steroids.
Meanwhile she is working with a new client for her wedding, that is being paid for by the bride’s brother. Travis is beautiful, but a bit off putting. He wants to provide the very best wedding for his sister–and he’s just not sure a town like Cemetery can provide the kind of wedding his sister deserves. But soon he is charmed by Yardley (as everyone is) and soon Yardley is planning a wedding that she hopes will give her the kind of business she needs to win town council approval…poor Yardley, always seeking approval.
What Yardley is most savvy and brilliant at is managing difficult people. After all, she’s lived with the Disney Malcontents her entire life and thrived despite them. So with each new challenge Yardley faces, whether in adopting a stray dog or convincing the president of the town council to allow people to name their businesses without having to use the town “Cemetery” in the title, Yardley grows even more confident and charming. Travis adores her, and his treatment of her, treating her with generosity and sweetness, is a testament to “Yes, this is what we all deserve. Find a man who treats you like this.” Travis is a hero worth swooning for.
If I had any complaints, it would be that the Disney Malcontents did not suffer any real changes of heart or behavior. I suppose Lori’s lesson here is that you can’t change difficult people. You can only change how you react to them or how you allow them to be in your life. So perhaps fiction is more truth than reality because that is a hard lesson for most of us to learn. Still…if one of them had fallen off a pier into a pig sty, I wouldn’t have lost any sleep over it. Maybe next time. That said, I have to say: my favorite transformation was the town council president, Betty. There’s a wonderful lesson in her character as well: never be too old to adapt…so Lori did throw us readers a bone with one major transformation.
Do add this to your summer reading list. It’s light, it’s full of heart, and you will laugh, which makes it a perfect summer reading book.