The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding (Millworth Manor) by Victoria Alexander
Overview by Amazon:
The bride and groom cordially request your presence for a wedding at Millworth Manor. . .
Guests will include Jackson Quincy Graham Channing, New York City banker, and Lady Theodosia “Teddy” Winslow, wedding planner to the finest families in England.
Introductions shall be followed by light conversation, dancing, flirtation, arguing, reconciliation, and an impulsive kiss that both parties are quite certain they will never repeat.
Until they do.
A mutually beneficial fake engagement will be accompanied by all manner of very real complications, scandalous revelations, nefarious schemes, and one inescapable conclusion:
That true love–unlike the perfect wedding–is impossible to plan. . .
This book took me a while to get through. I enjoyed the story as there were so many twists and turns to the story that every time I thought it would follow a predictable path it introduced another character or twists.
What I really liked about this book was the evolution of Jack. From staid and stodgy banker to a man who doesn’t know what he wants in life to an adventurer. He was a fun character. He always seemed to have a gleam in his eye and it was great to watch him grow as a person. As he discovers his father’s legacy and England, he feels like a fish out of water. Eventually he becomes more confident in his new life and much of that is thanks to his relationship with Theodosia. She is the catalyst for his change. She helps to make England and all that it offers much more appealing. He starts to take chances and wants to become a hero, and he gets his opportunity with Teddy.
I really liked a lot of the secondary characters. Jack’s long lost father, Basil is a treasure. He is so excited to reconnect with his long lost son. He’s led such an adventurous life and he is a dashing character. I also really liked Lucy Merriweather; Jack’s at one time almost fiancé. She shows such spunk and I truly loved her outlook on life. I’d love to read a book about her and what life has in store for her. I have not read the other books in the Millworth series, so the widowed sisters were interesting. They all married older men and then once widowed seemed to live the life they always wanted. It didn’t detract from the story since I didn’t read their stories, but it was intriguing to know what happened in their lives previously.
Theodosia was a solid character. She has been left with her father’s crushing debts and found a unique way to solve the problem by being a social events planner. Through the book she comes to realize that this is something she wants to do even when the debts are paid off. Business is unbecoming in a female at this point in history, but she has the fortitude to be honest and open about what her goals are.
The relationship between Jack and Teddy starts as a simple, flirty dance. It develops into a friendship, with many challenging moments in between. The ‘I like him, I hate him’ element of the beginning of the relationship was a bit tedious. Like, just make up your mind woman!! He isn’t there to do you harm, so what is the problem with being a proper lady and not making tart comments to him. I’ve lost track at how many times she had to apologize to him. They end up faking an engagement, which is Jack’s first attempt at being a hero. She resents this and yet is grateful. There was a long segment in the book where they do typical things that engaged couples do, but it just seemed tedious. The long winded conversations that seemed to go round and round wore on me. They never seemed to say very much or went over the same point repeatedly. They share two kisses pretty early in the book and then nothing forever. It would have made the relationship more believable if they had been getting hot and heavy with each other. That would have made a fake engagement into a reality quicker and realistic rather than conversations that were contradicted repeatedly.
Don’t get me wrong. I liked both Jack and Teddy. It was just a very slow moving romance. In fact I was shocked at how the book ended. The epilogue saved the day.
The title of this book is the Shocking Secret of a Guest at a Wedding, yet there were so many guest and so many shocks that it was astounding! Although all the puzzle pieces fit together, you kept expecting the wedding to happen and not another secret coming out. Lots of elements to weave together and it was done well. My only disappointment was the slow development of the relationship between Jack and Teddy. If I had a hot, smart, titled and wealthy man dogging my steps, I’d be thrilled and racing my way to the priest.