cover image Happy Is the Bride

Happy Is the Bride

Lori Wilde, Janet Dailey, Cat Johnson, and Kate Pearce. Zebra, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4201-4262-4

Set against the backdrop of Ellie and Brady’s cowboy wedding, this contemporary romance anthology is chock-full of clichés, starting with four couples who meet at the wedding. There are some nice twists, such as Air Force pilot Shane serving as Ellie’s man of honor and wealthy rancher Meg as Brady’s best woman. Shane and Meg are both skeptical about how quickly Ellie and Brady fell in love, but all it takes for them to believe is a tornado. City girl falling for country boy is standard romance fare, but it feels fresh when Austin wedding planner Erin and ranch hand Tanner grouse to each other about how they don’t understand millennials. California sheriff Nate is lightning-struck by love when he meets photographer Della, but to make their romance work they need the help of a fairy godmother disguised as a country western singer. And horse breeder Lincoln gets a chance to win back his ex-wife, Tracy, but only if he gives up a three-year supply of tangy barbecued ribs and an excellent bottle of Kentucky bourbon. He doesn’t hesitate, but Tracy doubts that Lincoln has truly changed and could be the husband she needs. The lovers’ smart repartee is enjoyable, and each couple sizzles with chemistry. There’s not a lot of emotional depth, but there are plenty of heartwarming moments for fans of lighthearted fare. (June)