Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review: A December Bride by Denise Hunter

Book Cover and Synopsis:
What started as a whim turned into an accidental - and very public - engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade 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-fiance 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.

My source for book: Review Copy
My Thoughts:
I love a good "fake relationship" story, and when you throw in the Christmas season, this novella is a winner! The length is short enough to be considered a novella, yet it's long enough that it feels like a full story in the fact that the characters are fully developed and you get to know them well, which I find is rather rare in novellas.

Layla was certainly an interesting character and easy to like and sympathize with, but it was ultimately Seth that kept pulling me back to the story. His confidence and ease in the fake engagement was charming and amusing, especially compared to the anxiety and bouts of freaking out that Layla was prone to whenever they had to act like a "couple" in front of friends. Their bumpy past added a unique angle, causing Layla to refuse Seth's charm longer than most would...but this is certainly not a bad thing, as it added some pretty fun moments between the two.

I haven't previously read any of Denise Hunter's books, but this novella has sold me on her writing. (No doubt I'll soon be hunting down her previous works!) I really liked the atmosphere of the story; the development of the relationship between Layla and Seth has a very modern and "now" feel, but the Christian genre of the story keeps it clean. :)

If you're looking for a fun December read, this is certainly one that I'd recommend. It's short enough that it won't suck up a ton of your time during the busy holiday season, but yet it's long enough that you can really savor the story. It's a win from all angles!

My Rating: 4 stars

Thanks to the publisher (Zondervan) for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.

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