Release Date: Dec 18, 2018
Series: A Wedding Planner Mystery
Mallory Shepard is a one-in-a-million wedding planner. She agrees to plan the wedding of her ex-fiancé Keith Pierce and his new bride-to-be Becca Cunningham, the woman he was having an affair with while engaged to Mallory! The theme and menu for the wedding keeps changing, and Mallory and her sister Rachel try to keep up and also fulfill their commitments to other clients. Becca has her heart set on a “Gone With the Wind” inspired wedding dress and has a public fight with her longtime rival, Felicity Fournier, over the dress. Becca wins but then Felicity is found dead in Becca’s pool, wearing the dress. Becca isn’t Mallory’s favorite person, but she doesn’t think Becca is a murderer and sets out to find the true killer.
This book is the fourth in Blackmoore’s Wedding Planner mystery series. I read the second book in this series and really enjoyed it. I liked this installment, but not as much as the prior book I had read. The main characters are still likable, including Mallory, Rachel, and Mallory’s boyfriend, Garrett. Garrett has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship and I like how the author goes against the stereotype and Mallory and Summer actually get along great. Mallory and her sister are friends, and although they sometimes have different ideas about the business, their partnership works well. It’s nice to see main characters getting along, even though there are plenty of feuds and out and out assaults between some of the supporting characters.
I also like reading about Mallory planning and running the various events, from weddings and baby showers to theater openings. The events are entertaining and those settings give Mallory plenty of opportunities to interact with witnesses and potential suspects. The downside to this book is it has the same problem as Mallory and Rachel’s fast-growing business – too many things going on at one time. Mallory and Rachel’s business has some growing pains as they struggle to manage the bed and breakfast, back-to-back weddings, along with all the other events, before realizing they need to hire some full-time help. Similarly, the book has too many distractions from the main plot of Felicity’s wedding. There is vandalism, arson, theft, assaults, smuggling, various affairs, and more. There is such a large assortment of sly, devious people, after a while it’s confusing to differentiate between all of the characters and their motives for all of the various crimes. Characters who seemingly have nothing to do with each other have surprising connections, which moves the plot along but is sometimes hard to keep track of. As hinted in the title, Gown with the Wind comes into play as well, so there is a lot going on in such as short novel.
Although the story goes on too many tangents, most of the loose ends are wrapped up nicely by the end. Mallory is able to mix sleuthing with running her events and is able to piece things together to help resolve the case. I like the epilogue which does a good job of providing updates on what happened with the various characters. I think fans of Laura Bradford’s Emergency Dessert Squad series will appreciate the culinary aspect, the light humor, and the down-to-earth main characters in this book.