This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Forever
Released on April 3, 2018
Here comes the… player and the man-hater! Sparks fly and a battle wages as the two least likely to walk down the aisle get their story.
The Bride Next Door is the fifth book in the Chapel of Love series. The stories wouldn’t be impossible to read out of order, but this series really does work best when the reader takes it from the beginning. Both main characters have been around since the beginning and really got some page time in the last book, Here Comes the Bride.
Now, that said, maybe newbies who jump in with The Bride Next Door might do better with this one since they won’t have all the previous scenes to develop antipathy toward both the hero and the heroine. Yep, this one was going to be a doozy for me any way I approached it.
See, I couldn’t stand either Matt or Courtney in the last book. Matt earned his rep as a player with me when he sided with the thoughtless, selfish run-a-way groom in the last book and encouraged him to play the field before settling down. And Courtney? Well, this dear lady is one of the most cynical women there is having a label for everyone male and being more destructive of property and aggressive about revenge than the jilted bride. I’ll be honest, I might have skipped this book if I’d been paying closer attention to who the protagonists were instead of just auto clicking because I love this author.
But, in the way of things, I’m glad I didn’t realize and that I did click because I ended up enjoying much about this book. Both Matt and Courtney had a reason for their issues. I actually knew this because, hey, people don’t get that jaded or cynical without a reason- at least I hope not.
I ended up falling for Matt long before I… let’s say I learned to tolerate Courtney- never did fall for her. He turned out to have a lot more to him than just a player. And, in this story, he wasn’t a player at all, but a wonderful hero who worked hard to batter away at Courtney’s titanium wall and prove himself on the job as he worked to help a bunch of people to keep their homes and proving himself to his dad (I couldn’t stand his dad who was always disappointed in Matt no matter what and always comparing him to others in the family including his brothers). He was more open to believing in chances and trying something than Courtney, well, until the end where he had to have his prerequisite huge mistake that fortunately, didn’t last long.
With Courtney, I got sick of her man categories and constant suspicions (he’s being the Player, oh wait, no more of a hybrid with the Perfect Man, but, or wait no make that Manwhore…and so on). Just when I think she’s softening after the half-way point… nope, she hauls that tender feeling and trust stuff back in and dramas stuff up more than once. I hated seeing Matt make his mistake with her, but there was a fed up part of me that was happy to see her getting a taste of her own bitter medicine of what it’s like to have someone label you and toss your truth and true feelings back as a slimy lie. I’m thinking that’s not a good reaction to have in a romance book.
So, despite appearances here, I was actually rooting for this pair and enjoyed a few of the side plots like Matt’s father, Matt’s work with Arwem on the homes, and Courtney and her work. I think that’s why I got frustrated with them. I got into seeing Courtney and Matt going from hostile to interested, learning about each other, and seeing there was so much more than other people even realized including me.
In summary, it was a surprise and better than I imagined. It had its iffy times so I liked it rather than loved it, but still adore this series and want more. Those who enjoy the more people-driven stories set against a small town should take a gander at the Chapel of Love series.
Romance Roundabout #116 CR
New Release #53
Literary Pickers #91 small town