Desert Isle Keeper Review

Here Comes the Groom

Karina Bliss
January 2011, Series Romance
Har Sup Rom #1682, $5.50, 288 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373716826

Grade: A-
Sensuality: Warm

Having read a couple of other Karina Bliss romance novels, I went into this one expecting a quirky, but interesting plot peopled by a complex hero and heroine. Happily, I got exactly what I expected from this New Zealander.

When they were thirty, in a bit of fun best friends Jocelyn Swann and Dan Jansen made a marriage contract on a bar coaster: If they werent married by the time they were 33, then they would marry each other. The book opens when theyre 33 and both unmarried, and Dan is taking the marriage contract seriously, much to Jos surprise.

Hes taking it so seriously, in fact, that hes putting together the perfect wedding with the help of one of Jos employees. Hes contacted the minister, booked the church and reception hall, looked at cakes and flowers, and sent out the invitations.

Typically in a Bliss book, things arent as idyllic as they seem. Dan has just had his special forces team nearly wiped out in Afghanistan and is suffering from remorse at not being on duty when they were attacked and two of them died. In addition, his parents are having a crisis in their marriage, and Dan, who wants to take over the family farm so his father can retire, may have to physically remove his dad, whos now supposed to be living in a townhouse, to do so.

Even though Jos sure the cause of Dans fixation on the wedding has to do with his army-related remorse, she absolutely refuses to marry him for her own reasons and is appalled that everywhere she goes in their small town, people are talking about the upcoming wedding. She even goes so far as to print a retraction to the wedding invitations in the newspaper she owns and manages.

Dan, however, doesnt have any idea about Jos personal reasons for refusing to marry him. For one, the grandmother who raised Jo is suffering from dementia, and for another, well, you have to read the book to find out Jos real stumbling block. As the days get closer and closer to the wedding date, Bliss tightens the screws, which made me wonder if there was going to be a ceremony at all.

Karina Bliss is an excellent writer whose plots are so complex and her characters so realistic that readers are given much more than cookie cutter rehashes of classic stories. Also, her solutions to the problems are unique, which is the reason I quickly downloaded this book onto my Kindle when I saw that it had come out. Bliss has definitely become one of my auto-buys.

-- Pat Henshaw

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