Thursday, September 11, 2014

Runaway Groom by Virginia Nelson

Title: Runaway Groom
Author: Virginia Nelson
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Watkin's Pond #1
Main Characters: Abigail and Braxton
Release Date: January 2014
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
He’s ready and waiting. She’s wanting…but wary.

Watkin’s Pond, Book 1

The groom is back in town.

Abigail lost her best friend years ago when he ditched her at the altar like a loaf of stale bread. Now he’s back and determined to do whatever he has to—even lie, apparently—to get under her skin. Although he makes her hormones rev to life in a way that no one has since he left, she is equally determined not to fall for his boy-next-door charm.

His bride-to-be is somewhat reluctant.

Braxton Dean was too young and stupid to know better when he walked away. Years of trying to fill the Abby-shaped hole in his heart have left him empty, and now he’s going to win back his girl—or get over her. But first he needs answers. Particularly why she never responded to any of his letters.

It might take a whole town to make this wedding happen.

With the help of their friends, the two battle it out. The army? An entire town of busybodies. The prize? Happily ever after.

Warning: Contains indignant old ladies, steamy sex (but not with indignant old ladies), seduction cake, and condom bouquets. Yes, we went there.

My Review:
I read the two books in this series out of order, because I received book #2 for review. But after reading it, I had to grab the first and I really liked it too. 

This book is a heartbreaking story.  Abby and Braxton were best friends from toddlers on up. It just made sense that the two of them fell in love, too, and were planning to be married at age 20. But at the last moment, Braxton panicked and fled without a word, leaving Abby sure that he was dead or hurt somewhere. She found out two days later that that wasn't the case...he just left her standing at the altar with her heart crushed and she never heard another thing out of him for the next 10 years. So not only did she lose the love of her life, but she lost her best friend and that began the crumbling of her entire life. 

Then Braxton comes back. He wants Abby back, knowing what an awful mistake he made all those years ago. No one has ever filled the "Abby-shaped hole in his heart" and even though he's written her every day for 10 years with no response from her, he needs her back in his life. He's home to get her back. 

And that's the mystery of the book...the letters. Over 4000 of them that Abby has never received. She's sure that he's lying.

In those ten years, Braxton missed a lot about Abby's life. Mainly that his father repeatedly verbally abused her, her grandmother became an invalid (she had a stroke when Braxton didn't show up at the wedding), and her mother sunk into her bi-polar disease. She's been trapped in this town when he ran...doing it all alone. This girl is justified in her anger (and hurt) toward Braxton and that was my one real complaint with the story...that was truly never explored. The beginning of the book showed how unreasonable her mother and his father have been, but Braxton never gets to see that. In fact, by the end of the book that entire side of the story line just seemed to disappear and it really needed to be there so that the two can truly find true healing over those events...esp. for Abby. 

But even with that one complaint, the book is really good. At first Braxton seems like a class-one jerk and he was. He was right...they were too young and immature to get married and that comes through in his letters. Yes, every chapter starts with a letter so it's easy to track how he's matured over the years. There's a lot of emotion in the book and it worked for me, but some people could find the entire scenario too over the top. 

Note: As I read this book, I could have SWORN to you that I've read it before, but I can't find any record of that. And as a reviewer, I keep track of ALL the books I matter if I finish them or not. I kept thinking this had to be some sort of re-release, but couldn't find any other sign of it besides my faulty memory. So...maybe I've read this one before...maybe not. Either way, it was really good this read-through. 

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