The next season in the year of weddings was not quite as enjoyable as the first (Winter Brides), but still had two good stories – the third I really didn’t care for at all. However, I can’t necessarily expect to like all twelve stories, written by twelve different authors, so I wasn’t too fussed about one bum.
March Bride by Rachel Hauck – 3.5/5 – I know that Hauck has written a ‘Royal Weddings’ series because it has actually been on my TBR for a while. This story is set in that world, and is actually listed as Book 1.5 in the series. However, even though my guess is that I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if I had read Once Upon a Prince, it still held up well as a standalone. Hauck did a good job of (re)introducing characters from the earlier story in a way that helped me, a new reader, understand their relationships, but also in a way that I don’t think would have bored someone who had already read the first book.
I really liked the characters in this story, and felt that their development was done well. I also liked the way that the Christian themes were handled – it didn’t feel heavy-handed at all, yet was still a crucial part of the tale. A very enjoyable little story, and one that has me quite intrigued to read the actual series.
April Bride by Lenora Worth – 3/5 – this was probably my favorite premise so far from these novellas. The main characters have been engaged to be married for a while, and have known each other all their lives. However, Mitchell wanted to completely his tour in the Middle East before their wedding, something that Stella fully supported. When Mitchell comes back, he’s suffered a major head injury after an explosion that killed several of his mates.
I felt like Worth handled Mitchell’s PTSD really sensitively, but I wish that he had shared more with Stella of what was going on. In the end, this dropped from 3.5 to a 3 because it got just a little too angsty/there were some issues that could have been resolved with one decent conversation, but it was still an engaging story.
May Bride by Meg Moseley – 2/5 – mostly, I didn’t like the main dude for this story, Gray. I felt like he was really pushy and overbearing. Ellie definitely had some issues she needed to work through with her mom, but it really seemed like Gray assumed way too quickly that his demands on Ellie’s time should take precedence. The scene where I was basically over this story was when Gray wants Ellie to come with him horseback riding in two days, and she says that she already has plans to take her mom somewhere. Gray somehow manages to turn the fact that Ellie is being a kind and responsible daughter into this being another situation where Ellie’s mom is manipulating her. Later, he kind of apologizes, but it’s this big ‘turning point’ of their relationship, with Ellie realizing how she needs to ‘stand up’ to her mom, etc., that left me honestly a bit livid. If it Ellie’s mom is taking up too much of Ellie’s time, she needs to start with not agreeing to do stuff to begin with, not cancelling on plans where her mom is dependent on her help. Gray’s character throughout was just so unreasonable, and it really felt like Ellie was just trading one annoying, overbearing, bossy person in her life for another.
Ellie’s mom was such a caricature anyway that it didn’t really matter. Despite the fact that these are supposedly Christian fiction, Moseley managed to make Ellie’s mom the most annoying, hypocritical, ridiculous person, and that was quite frustrating. To top it off, one of the supposed big ‘character flaws’ was that Ellie’s mom doesn’t drive in Atlanta, where Ellie lives, so Ellie always has to go visit her. Gray continually acted like this was just completely ridiculous, but as someone whose mom doesn’t drive in our big city (and it’s no where as big or confusing as Atlanta), I never could agree with Gray’s opinion, especially since he grew up in Atlanta and has been driving there his whole life. Complicated city driving isn’t for everyone, and I would personally prefer someone who is terrified and confused to not attempt it!
Anyway, all that to say I really just skimmed through the last half of this story as it continued to get more and more ridiculous and melodramatic. 2/5 for the story and 0/5 chance of Ellie’s future happiness.