To Have And To Hold by Lauren Layne

laurenlayne

To Have And To Hold by Lauren Layne

Discovering her fiancé is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

So I have a confession. I hate weddings. I’m actually supposed to go to a wedding in October and I’m dreading it. I didn’t even want to go to my own wedding. When I look back at my own wedding, I’m always wishing I had just eloped and called it a day. With all that said, you’re probably wondering why I chose this book to read. Well, Rachel VanDyken had posted the synopsis several times (she and Lauren Layne are friends), and as a book hoarder, how could I resist?

I actually read the paperback of this. It was only a few dollars over the kindle cost, so if you enjoy a true paperback, you can snag this baby for a great price.

All that aside…I loved this book. I thought Lauren Layne did a really great job at balancing the characters. Initially, we meet a fair amount of characters. Obviously, Brooke and Seth. But we meet the other women working at The Wedding Belles, along with employees and friends of Seth, and also his sister, Maya and her fiancé, Neil.

In a lot of books, there are just too many characters swirling around and I can’t keep track of them all. I admired how Lauren was able to walk that fine line of having many characters, but you never lost the core story of Brooke and Seth. So even though we see issues with Maya and Neil, Brooke and Seth are still very present. We see Brooke with her co-workers but again, we never lose the story of Seth and Brooke in everything else that is happening.

One major facet that I really appreciated is that we see Seth and Brooke both grow past issues they have from old relationships. But its done very subtly. Its not like either one needs to have some huge epiphany to realize what went wrong in the past. No one has some major “ah ha” moment. But you can see as they spend more time together, they realize what was lacking for them before and it was like I could see the gears in their minds working; learning, realizations, moving beyond the past.

Obviously, from the synopsis, we know that Brooke was utterly humiliated on her wedding day. In the book, her co-workers, and even Seth, ask her if she ever plans on talking to Clay (her ex) again, to gain closure. Brooke always declines. But there is a point where she finally breaks down and its to Seth. For me, that was one of my favorite moments. Not because I wanted to see Brooke hurt, but the fact that she turned to Seth was the real turning point in their relationship for me. That is when you knew Brooke trusted him with her heart and her true feelings on the matter.

Lauren also inserts some “Sex and the City” references which I loved. I have always been a huge fan of SATC and I don’t know how you can be a woman of a certain age and be in New York City and NOT be mentally making SATC references in your own mind. We see that when Brooke sees Seth with his car and driver. She immediately thinks of Mr. Big. It was funny because even though its been a long time, I immediately thought of when Mr. Big first takes Carrie home in his car and she asks if he’s ever been in love and he says “Abso-fuckin-lutely”. Ah, fond memories of SATC.

I would abso-fucking-lutely recommend this book. Lauren balances this book so perfectly and I was about a third of the way through this book and the second book came out, and I snagged it quickly. So for someone who is NOT a wedding person to love a series about wedding planning should tell you its a well done book (and I assume the rest of the series will be fantastic too).

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