I set some pretty lofty reading goals for 2015, and I'm sad to say that I'm already a little behind if I'm going to reach it. So this little novella was a good way to get a quick read under my belt without a huge time commitment. You may know that I started out last year reading the Year of Weddings series from Zondervan publishers. I reviewed one a month until June when the publishers stopped making them available for some reason unknown to me. I wasn't too upset by it, though, since the last one I read was a real disappointment to me. Zondervan did eventually make the rest of the series available, but I decided they just weren't for me anymore.
Then came the second Year of Weddings and I decided to give it another try. The first book in the series Love at Mistletoe Inn had some high points and low points for me. I really liked the story of Hope and John. I like when authors put a twist on the basic boy meets girl story line, and this author did a great job of that. Hope and John skipped their senior prom and ran away to get married, but immediately after the ceremony, Hope got cold feet. The "minister" who performed the vows felt sorry for her and promised not to file the papers, and informed her that the marriage wouldn't be legal. John left town soon after and Hope has only seen him a few times since. It's been ten years and John has walked back into Hope's life to stay. To make matters worse, Hope has just discovered that they are legally married even without the papers being filed. She and John decide (after consummating their relationship, ah-hem) that they are going to give their marriage a try before divorcing. This is where the story got a little weird for me. Hope's Aunt Verna, who is also John's foster mother, decides to plan a secret wedding for someone at Christmas time. The two people she's planning for are named Luke and Laura--of General Hospital fame--and they are out of the country because they are both deployed. They have given Verna total freedom in all aspects of the wedding, from the dress to the invitations. So of course she needs John and Hope to help with all the details. And wouldn't you know that Luke and Laura are the exact same size and build as John and Hope? John and Hope plan a whole wedding and never suspect it might not be for some mysterious couple named after soap opera stars. I just found that a little hard to believe. My other problem came with the issue of the never-filed marriage license. I used to work at the County Clerks Office where I issued, filed and recorded marriage licenses. I'm not sure how the author concludes that a marriage is still legal if the paperwork isn't filed, since filing paperwork is what makes it legal. How can you prove a marriage is legal with no paperwork?
This was a nice book to start out the year with, even if it had some problems. I think maybe I expect too much from these novellas sometimes. It's important to remember that the author only has a few pages in which to build the plot and develop the characters. Sometimes that just isn't enough for a great story, but Cindy Kirk has written a pretty good one here. I think I'll read some more of this year's Year of Weddings series after all.
I was given an e-copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. A favorable review was not required and all opinions are my own. Love at Mistletoe Inn is on sale now.