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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Book Review: Bolted by Meg Benjamin

Title: Bolted
Author: Meg Benjamin
Series: Book #2 in the Promise Harbor Wedding series
Release Date: 2 April 2013
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Number of pages: 272 pages
Source: ebook copy provided by the author for review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, , Samhain, Read an excerpt

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: Sometimes you have to get lost before you can find yourself.

The Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 2

Greta Brewster McBain in a bind. Two, if she’s really counting. First there’s the can-barely-breathe, bridesmaid’s dress from hell. Second, the stranger who just carried her “perfect” brother’s fiancée out the church door has made it impossible to tell her own mother about her own divorce.

Rather than confirm her reputation as the family screw-up, Greta takes a drive to clear her head.

Trapped in a hole and unable to reach his cell phone, Hank Mitchell is resigned to becoming a permanent part of his own archeological dig when help arrives—in the form of a woman who looks like a Gone With The Wind refugee. Behind the ruffles and lace, though, is something he appreciates: a woman who isn’t afraid of a little dirt.

Their instant connection draws Greta into the eccentric world of the Hotel Grand, where she impulsively trades her hoopskirts for an apron. Soon things are getting hot, not only in the hotel kitchen, but in Hank’s arms...

Warning: Contains hot moonlit sex, a melancholy turtle, two wisecracking seniors, and the world’s ugliest bridesmaid dress.

My Thoughts: I love wedding romances and have enjoyed Jilted by Kelly Jamieson, the introductory story to the Promise Harbor Wedding series, so of course I was very much looking forward to reading the next books. Bolted, which is the second novel in the series and features the maid of honour who vanishes after The Wedding That Wasn't, was a wonderful and unexpected surprise.

Greta, the heroine and focal character of Bolted was also introduced in Jilted: she is the groom's sister and the chief maid of honour, who disappears after the wedding disaster to hide away from her family so as she doesn't have to share that she got divorced and has failed in her marriage as in most of the things in her life. I will honestly admit that I didn't care much for Greta in Jilted, so it came as a surprise how much I enjoyed reading her story and getting to know her better. And the reason for that was Meg Benjamin's witty and entertaining writing style.

Despite my feelings being rather lukewarm toward Greta in Jilted, I came to like her quite quickly in Bolted. I especially loved her snarky and sarcastic inner voice.

“You called Gavin the night before our wedding and told him you’d always love him?” Josh was staring at her as if he’d never seen her before. Allie licked her lips.

“Not exactly,” she said. “I didn’t tell him to come or anything. I didn’t say that I loved him.”

“Allie. We’re getting married,” Josh said flatly. “You don’t just change your mind at the last second about something like this.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Right. Greta wasn’t a lawyer, but she had a feeling that defense wasn’t going to fly.

Despite being the black sheep of the family and having lived a somewhat irresponsible life or rather a life full of failures as Greta feels, it was surprising to see that there was much more to Greta than met the eye: she had doubts and fears and an inner vulnerability that made her a character the reader could understand, sympathize with and grow to care for.

She was a fascinating combination, Greta Brewster. Practical and fantastic. Sneakers and Gone With the Wind dresses. He wasn’t sure he’d ever run into anyone quite like her before.
Hank rolled to his side, taking her with him, one hand tangled in her hair. “You can cook. You can rock a hoopskirt. And you’re sexy as hell. Maybe you should tell me about your flaws now before I decide you’re the ideal woman.”

And besides Greta being a nuanced and well fleshed out character another detail that made me bond with her was her love and talent for cooking and baking. ;-) The scenes where she created the meals for the family were wonderfully written and besides making my mouth water made me picture her creations with ease.

“This is one of the most fantastic cakes I’ve ever tasted. You’re an artist, babe. The Chagall of cake pans.”

Bolted  was full of a cast of secondary characters that not only made the reader chuckle out loud but grow very fond of them. It wasn't only Greta who made new friends but I also felt like part of the small makeshift Dubrovnik family, and the events (=the simple meals) felt like scenes from a Tennenbaum movie ;-)

Hank was an endearing hero, he was kind and nice, the kind of man whose embrace gives you comfort and makes you smile. He was a hunk but completely unaware of his own handsomeness and his absent-minded professor thing just made you love him more. Although he was great, I felt that the story was mainly about Greta and her path to rediscovering and redefining herself and Hank was merely a standby alongside the other secondary characters like the Dubrovniks.

My personal "complaint" was that I would have preferred if the whole story was told through Greta's POV and not switching between hers and her mother's, but I understanding that this way we could see how Greta is perceived by her family and friends.

Verdict: Bolted was an unexpected and delightful surprise, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would at the end of Jilted, and it is all thanks to Meg Benjamin's funny and witty writing that I grew to like Greta so quickly. She was a great heroine, her dry sarcastic narrative won me over in no time and with a set of wonderfully quirky secondary characters Bolted will sure remain a memorable story. I am grateful for having discovered a great new author and will definitely check out more of Meg Benjamin's books, and until then I can't wait to read the next Promise Harbor Wedding books!

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

Order of the series:

Book #1 - Jilted by Kelly Jamieson
Book #2 - Bolted by Meg Benjamin
Book #3 - Busted by Syndey Somers
Book #4 - Hitched by Erin Nicholas

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