From the blurb:
When JaceJardine is asked to return to his family’s island resort after years spent in the city, he knows Wedding Belles Resort must be struggling, but when he arrives he finds the business on the brink of financial ruin.
The solution? A big wedding and happy marriage to show the media, and potential couples, that love and romance continue to bloom at the resort. But no couples are available at such short notice – certainly none that can be trusted to stay together until the business is back on its feet. So the responsibility falls to determinedly single Jace, who suddenly finds himself in the market for a bride.
But who could he possibly ask to be his better half in this marriage of convenience? Who better than the resort’s wedding planner, Brooke Martin. Brooke has a vested interest in keeping the business afloat, and over the years has become attached to the Jardine family.
But Brooke and Jace were once lovers, and Brooke is hiding a painful secret from their time together. Will they be able to keep up the façade and help bring the business back from the brink? Or will their sizzling chemistry and troubled past threaten their carefully constructed plan?
I requested this book on NetGalley because the cover is beautiful and the blurb intrigued me. I confess I’ve a soft spot for ‘forced to marry for convenience, not love’ storylines; you just know somewhere along the line business will dissolve into pleasure!
The book did not disappoint: so much emotion shines through in the storyline, and I found myself so gripped that I read the story in two sittings. I love the island setting (I found myself rather wistful and wishing I could live somewhere so idyllic and away from the hustle and bustle), and I love the idea of a wedding-destination hotel. What a wonderful establishment to set up and run – the very epitome of romantic; but of course how credible it is that a run of divorces could be bad for business!
For me, this book is character led, and both Jace and Brooke are the kind of characters that make you just have to read on to discover their pasts, presents and futures. I love the fact that both characters have a good deal of honour and loyalty to family and the local community – both will enter into a sham marriage just to protect those they love and ensure the hotel, the main source of income for the people, is secure.
There’s such an honesty to writing that it is impossible not to believe in these characters. For example, Jace and Brooke were together years ago, but Jace left Brooke without much of a thought, focusing instead on his own future, which is saddening but realistic. The realism extends into the character’s chemistry – such passion between them!
But above all the element of the book that really affected me was Brooke’s secret (I won’t spoil the plot by explaining that here). It’s heart-rending and terrible and so powerfully affects who she is and how she relates to Jace – poor, oblivious Jace. When a storm strikes and the characters are plunged into danger, will the truth out – and when it does, will Jace stand by Brooke? You see why I stayed up late to read to the end: I just had to find out!
Compelling, moving, passionate – I heartily recommend this book.
His Island Bride is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.