The Right Bride by Jennifer Ryan

The Right Bride by Jennifer Ryan
Publisher: Avon: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (277 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

High-powered businessman Cameron Shaw doesn’t believe in love—until he falls head over heels for beautiful, passionate, and intensely private Martina. She’s perfect in so many ways, immediately bonding with his little girl. Martina could be his future bride and a delightful stepmother … if only Cameron weren’t blinded by his belief that Shelly, the gold-digging woman he’s promised to marry, is pregnant with his child.

No matter how much his friends protest his upcoming marriage to Shelly, Cameron knows he has a duty to his children, so he’s determined to see it through.

Will he find out in time that Shelly’s lying and Marti’s the one who’s actually carrying his child? It’ll come down to the day of his wedding. After choosing Shelly over Marti at every turn, will he convince Marti she’s his world and the only woman he wants?

“The stupidest smart person” is a flashing neon-light theme throughout this story of the rich and famous. The unshakable mindset and guilt feelings that drive Cameron Shaw’s decisions in The Right Bride create conflicts that threaten to destroy the lives and happiness of the most important people in his life. Through much of the story, I want to give him a good thumping and tell him to get his head out of the sand, wake up, and get his priorities straight. When his actions began to make his vivacious little five-year-old daughter Emma unhappy, I really got out of humor with him. To be so smart in some ways and so “dumb” in other ways was astounding. As is evident, Jennifer Ryan did a super job of engaging my emotions and keeping me turning pages.

Marti (Martina Fairchild) grabbed my attention in a very different way. Her caring, insightful nature; her ability to see and act on what is truly important in life makes her special; while her aloneness touches a tender spot in one’s heart. How she relates to others and copes with difficult situations reveal a multitude of facets in her personality. The layers of her life and her unsung accomplishments that come to light as the story unfolds are more reasons to keep turning pages. She is an intriguing character.

The beautiful, husband-hunting Shelly Ramsey is a different sort, but she knows how to appeal to a man. After an unhappy childhood, she remodeled herself and is now physically lovely, well-spoken, a great sex partner, nice to her ‘prey’ but not always to others. Her single-minded pursuit of wealth and position (AKA a rich husband) stirs up conflicts galore. Her ability to make herself look good in these upheavals is amazing.

The secondary characters are a super group of ‘doers’. They do their share of stirring up conflicts. George Knight is a prime example. Even though he is dying, he makes his mark on the outcome of the story. His love for Cameron and Emma is longstanding. However, the love he feels for Marti is like a kindred soul love that is strong and caring. Elizabeth and Sam, Jenna and Jack, and Jimmy, Cameron’s driver and after-school companion for Emma are genuine friends that support, berate, and do whatever it takes to help their old friend Cameron find his way and to shepherd Marti into the fold and love her for who she is.

The living arrangements in George Knight’s mansion, after his death, seem contrived. But it does position the primary characters for the climax that is a heart-stopper momentarily then sets the emotions jangling. Also, Cameron’s clinging to his past for so long seems a little extreme, but it makes for a breath-holding read. The Right Bride raises ire, brings laughter, tears, fears, and joy. It is an attention holding happy-ever-after. It does take the mind off the “slings and arrows” of a trying day.

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