TWO ! TWO BOOK REVIEWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!
So, I think you all remember I bought a 3-1 Brides of Bonneterre set at a Christian bookstore about a month ago and I read Stand-in Groom right away.
Well, I just finished Menu for Romance and A Case for Love: featuring friends and family to the Guidry family: a prominent aspect of the mythical town of Bonneterre, Louisiana. Indeed, Bonneterre becomes a character of its own: a Cajun-laced spicy sphere of historic buildings, Southern charm, delectable dishes, sticky heat, sprawling plantations and a plentitude of events and weddings to be planned, by Anne Laurence nee Hawthorne (of Stand-in Groom) and Meredith Guidry and Major O’Hara, planner and chef alike.
I really enjoyed spending time in the world of these characters. The plots of each novel in the trilogy were easily usurped by the friendly nature of the characters. At more than one point in each tale, I was surprised not to look up and find myself sitting across from one of them over a glass of sweet tea.
A Menu for Romance softly etches the slow-blooming love story between Chef Major O’Hara and event planner Meredith Guidry. Unbeknownst to both of them, they have each harboured a mutual flame for 8 years; however Major’s complicated family life and Meredith’s certainty that Major is attracted to the beautiful news reporter, Alaine Delacroix, keep their paths from crossing until much, much later in the story. Like all good romances, you know before the characters do what will bring their eventual happiness and you wait, on baited hook, for them to catch up. Elements I appreciated about this story include the amount of knowledge Dacus displays about culinary arts and cooking shows. I found all of these scenes in Major’s world to be authentic. Further, Major’s mother suffers from Schizophrenia and the compassionate scenes involving her care at a supervised facility, Major’s terms with his mother and their mutual love of John Wayne movies was a treat to read.
A Case for Love finds beautiful Alaine Delacroix at odds with charming lawyer Forbes Guidry when she understands that the Guidry enterprise might be over-taking her family business, she tries desperately to quell her developing interest in the charming lawyer in order to secure her family business and name. Several misguided turns, misunderstandings and a few ballroom dancing lessons help pave the way to eventual happiness. The strongest element of this novel is the characterization of Forbes. I must confess when I first “met” him in Stand-in Groom, he rubbed me the wrong way. I think this was intentional on Dacus’ part and she carefully fleshed him out into a fully-realized sympathetic character in the third novel. While he didn’t capture my heart to the extent Major O’Hara and George Laurence did (perhaps, like his romantic counterpart Alaine, because they both seem to physically represent the “traditional” movie-star couple), I did enjoy reading his ups and downs in the dating world. In fact, the dating world is explored more closely here than in the previous two novels due to one of Forbes’ successful enterprises: an online dating site called Let’s Do Coffee.
I really enjoyed the ballroom dancing sequences and the careful way Dacus coupled dance skills with the talkative and sometimes clashing relationship of Forbes and Alaine.
I am now working through the last two novels in the Ransomeseries: so Dacus will pop up on this blog again soon!
Happy reading all!
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