Title: Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin
Magnolia Brides Series Book Three
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Third in the heartfelt and charming Magnolia Brides series from Lynnette Austin
One mistake can change everything…forever
Beck Elliot and Tansy Calhoun were inseparable-until Tansy left Misty Bottoms, Georgia, promising to come back after she finished school. Beck stayed behind to save the family business, dreaming of the day when Tansy would return. Instead, his trust and his heart were broken when she inexplicably married another man and bore his child.
Five years later, Tansy comes home, a sadder and wiser woman. Despite his anger, Beck finds it hard to avoid her and her adorable little daughter-especially with all the busybodies of Misty Bottoms going out of their way to throw him and Tansy together, hoping a lingering spark will reignite their enduring flame…
Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin is a delightfully heartwarming second chance at love romance. Although this latest release is the third installment in the marvelous Magnolia Brides series, it can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the previous novels as well.
Following her divorce, Tansy Calhoun Forbes moves back to her small hometown of Misty Bottoms, GA with her four year old daughter, Gracie. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she reconnects with old friends and tries to avoid her former fiancé, Beck Elliot, whose heart she broke when she suddenly married her now ex-husband. A little battered by her unhappy marriage but relieved to put this chapter of her life behind her, Tansy is looking forward to opening a bakery but the only building that suits her needs is chock full of memories of her teenage romance with Beck. Knowing this is her chance to make a better life for herself and Gracie, she goes forward with her plans to purchase Beck’s grandparents’ house despite his unhappiness with her decision. Tansy’s plans to keep her distance from Beck are thwarted by some well-meaning matchmaking and the renovations she needs for her new business and home. Will spending time with Beck heal the wounds from their past? Or will Tansy find herself heartbroken by his inability to forgive her for her mistakes?
Beck is a genuinely kind-hearted and helpful man but he is still quite hurt and angry over Tansy’s marriage to another man. While he has dated plenty of women since their painful break up, none of his relationship lasted beyond a few dates. Tansy’s return stirs up painful memories of their past and Beck’s lingering resentment spills over every time their paths cross. After his beloved grandfather gives him some helpful advice after sharing a surprising memory from his past, Beck begins wondering if he should give Tansy a second chance. Before he can seriously entertain the idea, he knows he will have to come to terms with her betrayal, but will rehashing the past help or harm their fragile truce?
Tansy and Beck’s interactions are fraught with tension after her return to Misty Bottoms. While it was easy for them to avoid each other during her visits over the years, they are constantly thrown together as she settles into her new life. It soon becomes apparent there is some well-meaning matchmaking going on, but neither of them are receptive to these efforts. Beck’s hurt and anger are understandable but his animosity soon wears thins as he resists Tansy’s efforts to smooth things over. Initially she does not help the situation between them since she does not want the truth about her marriage or divorce to come out. When Tansy sees how attached Gracie is becoming to Beck, she is rightfully concerned that her daughter might get hurt if she gives him a second chance and things do not work out between them. But as Tansy and Beck spend more time together, their simmering attraction becomes too powerful to resist. However, if they have any chance at lasting happiness, Beck will have to make peace with their past. Will Beck set aside his bitterness long enough to learn the truth about why Tansy married another man?
With plenty of small-town charm, an adorable little girl and a passionate romance, Picture Perfect Wedding is a splendid addition to Lynnette Austin’s wonderful Magnolia Brides series. Tansy and Beck are vibrantly developed characters whose pain and regret over their painful past is palpable. Both are quite cautious about resuming their relationship which results in a delicate push/pull of emotions as they try to avoid tempestuous topics that could destroy their fledgling romance. This sweet second chance at love romance has a meaningful storyline and a fantastic cast of alluring characters that will appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary romances.