Title: The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynnette Austin
Magnolia Brides Series Book One
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
With love in their hearts and crafting the perfect wedding on their minds, the possibilities are endless for the ladies of Lynnette Austin’s new Magnolia Brides series.
SOME DREAMS ARE WORTH WHATEVER IT TAKES
Jenni Beth Beaumont left her broken heart behind when she took her dream job in Savannah. But after her brother’s death, Jenni Beth returns home to help mend her parents’ hearts as well as restore their beautiful but crumbling antebellum mansion. New dreams take shape as Jenni Beth sets to work replacing floors and fixing pipes to convert the family homestead into the perfect wedding destination. However, some folks in their small Southern town are determined to see her fail.
Cole Bryson was once the love of Jenni Beth’s life, but the charming architectural salvager has plans of his own for the Beaumont family home. As the two butt heads, old turmoil is brought to the surface and Cole and Jenni Beth will have to work through some painful memories and tough realities before they can set their pasts aside and have a second chance at their own happily ever after.
The Best Laid Wedding Plans is the first installment in Lynnette Austin’s Magnolia Brides series. Set in a small southern town in Georgia, this delightfully charming novel features a very sweet romance and a somewhat poignant storyline.
Jenni Beth Beaumont gives up a lucrative career in Savannah to return home to Misty Bottoms with big plans to turn her family’s plantation home into a destination wedding location. The house has fallen in disrepair due to her parents’ grief over her older brother’s wartime death eighteen months earlier and a financial setback after her father invested in a risky venture. Finally obtaining a loan from a local banker who wants a valuable piece of real estate that she owns, Jenni Beth sets out to achieve her dream with the help of her brother’s best friend (and her longtime crush) Cole Bryson.
Jenni Beth is surprised by how much her hometown has changed since she moved away and once she realizes the town is slowly dying, she is more determined than ever to make a go of her business. Her budget for the renovations and upstart for the business is bare bones and she warily (and reluctantly) accepts Cole’s offer to help. She is still very attracted to Cole but she has decided to keep things casual between them. Their relationship remains fraught with tension since Jenni Beth is unsure what Cole’s motives are for helping her but she mainly keeps him at arms’ length due to their very complicated romantic history.
Cole deeply regrets hurting Jenni Beth in the past and although he would like to finally clear the air between them, she is not ready to discuss it with him. Reluctantly agreeing to table the issue for now, he convinces her to accept his help with her renovation project. Although he is aware of Jenni Beth’s suspicions, Cole remains reluctant to open up about his reasons for helping her and their interactions are sometimes rather acrimonious. Deciding to keep their relationship platonic is easier said than done and Cole becomes a bit introspective as he tries to understand why he finds it impossible to resist his deepening attraction to her.
Lynnette Austin’s Magnolia Brides series is off to a strong beginning with The Best Laid Wedding Plans. The storyline is engaging and well-written with appealing, multi-faceted characters. The small town setting is warm and inviting and adds to the novel’s overall appeal. An all around enjoyable story of love and healing that is sure to be a hit with fans of contemporary romance novels.