ONCE UPON A BRIDE

Jean Stone, Author
Jean Stone, Author . Bantam $6.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-553-58685-5
Hardcover - 294 pages - 978-0-7394-5079-6
Open Ebook - 978-0-553-90119-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-12619-0
Hardcover - 978-1-58547-655-8
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Unconvincing plot twists and unnecessary deception sabotage what starts as a promising tale of romance. When they gather in the Berkshires to help plan their friend Elaine's wedding, old pals Jo, Sarah and Lily—savvy middle-aged women all—are inspired to start Second Chances, a wedding planning business specializing in second marriages. Meanwhile, writer and single dad Andrew Kennedy is having trouble finding material for his magazine column about women. He answers Second Chances' ad for a receptionist under an assumed name, passing himself off as gay to encourage the women to confide honestly in him. Not surprisingly, his deception has problematic consequences: he's attracted to Jo, and the business's media forays threaten to expose his real identity. Many of the women have secrets as well; when the business hits a snag and the stakes, both personal and professional, rise, each is forced to decide how—and whether—to come clean. Though Stone (Beach Roses ) plays both to a national obsession and a baby-boomer audience, everyone in the book is either a blatant liar or a dupe or both. The lack of real development in Andrew and Jo's relationship is also likely to leave readers feeling unsatisfied. Agent, Merilee Heifetz. (Feb.)

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