cover image The Best Laid Wedding Plans

The Best Laid Wedding Plans

Lynnette Austin. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-1-4926-1797-6

In the intriguing premiere of Austin's Magnolia Brides contemporary series, spunky Jenni Beth Beaumont, an event planner in Savannah, moves to small Misty Bottoms, Ga. Her plan is to help her parents, still grieving the death of their soldier son, and save her family home by starting her own wedding-venue business. But Jenni Beth needs a loan to fix up the place, and her only option is the shady town banker. Cole Bryson, an architectural salvager and her dead brother's best friend, has a complicated history with Jenni Beth, who's had a crush on him since she was 16. He wants to buy Magnolia House, but he agrees to help Jenni Beth restore the antebellum mansion to grandeur and attempts to restore their relationship as well. In an unnecessary subplot, someone tries to sabotage their work on the house. Well-developed characters and sensual romantic tension save the book, but it's about 100 pages too long. Agent: Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency. (Nov.)