Review: The Bride Next Door by Hope Ramsay

Posted April 10, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 27 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Bride Next Door by Hope Ramsay
The Bride Next Door

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
three-half-flames

Series: Chapel of Love #4
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Forever
Released on April 3, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Get it at: add to goodreads

The Delight

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.

Review

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.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #116 CR
New Release #53
Literary Pickers #91 small town

Recommendations

  

Preview

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • never judge a character by its past appearance? Or is it author rules? Whichever way, glad you liked this one

    • That rule certainly had its place in this story, Ailyn. Both characters were quick to judge each other. 🙂

  • I like the new look of the blog. Even if you had some points about this one it looks quite good

    • Shari does a great job making the blog look snazzy. 🙂

      Yes, it was good to read this one even if it had some iffy moments. I do enjoy the series and the author’s other books.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      Thanks Melliane. I updated the theme and it reset the whole blog, so I have been working to redo everything today.

  • I get it. Sometimes I like seeing a character a little of what they’ve been dishing out.

    • I think it helped me get over my anger with her to see her get paid back for the way she treated people and I think she really needed to feel how it felt to be on the receiving end of someone slapping a label on you and writing you off. 🙂

  • It is good that you enjoyed it, despite your antipathy towards the hero and heroine.

    • Yeah, it turned out much better than I thought after encountering them in the book before this. They were just so selfish and mean. I was glad that there was more to them (for the most part. LOL).

  • Well, I am glad you liked. Sorry Courtney was hard to get into but I can see how putting off that would be to keep throwing things back up at him. Sounds like a good book. I will put this on my TBR list but I have to start with the first, I hate not knowing. What was with his Dad too. Ughh that drives me nuts. Great review Sophia!

    Mary

    • Sometimes an author can take unlikable character and redeem them and that happened for this book, but Courtney took the whole book to do a turn around which had me frustrated with her.

      Oh yes, this is a fun series and many of the surrounding characters already got their story so you’ll definitely want to catch it from the beginning, Mary. 🙂

  • It is hard when you don’t really like the characters. The new header looks wonderful!

    • Shari Delighted Read

      Thanks! I did an update on my last theme to keep it up to date and it reset everything. So I rolled in some changes really fast. Still more to do, but I got it mostly working again.

    • Yes, so hard. They did have some good surprises for me, but the heroine didn’t change my mind about her until the very end.

      I like the header she chose, too. So cozy with her book. 🙂

  • I’ve had a few where I didn’t like the character in previous books and still wound up reading their book. It makes for an interesting read and I hope the author can win me over on the characters haha

    • Yes, I was crossing my fingers when I started reading and realized whose story it was. I thought she did a great job turning things around, but it was a tough sell for me. 🙂

  • Bookworm Brandee

    I’ll have to check out this series, Sophia, since I do appreciate more character-driven stories and I love small town settings. 🙂 I’m so happy that this one didn’t end up being a bust for you. I can get your frustration with these two but I’m happy they won you over eventually – well at least sort of in Courtney’s case. 😉

    • It’s a cute series, Brandee! She writes a good small town group of friends and family connections. Her romance lines generally work, though, yes, this one was a tough one for me to buy. LOL

  • Oh I have this one for review consideration but put it aside because ugh her. I hated her in the other books. Bummed to see she was just tolerable. I don’t even remember Matt from the other ones. Did I dislike him so much I blocked him out?!! lol I do appreciate the heads up and will probably keep it on the consideration pile for a while longer until I’m feeling real mellow. lol

    • Huh, yeah, Courtney was plain awful in the last book. I tolerated the labeling she did over total stranger men, but when she started destroying property and wasn’t even the one wronged, I was done with her. She spent much of this book acting the same way.
      I think Matt’s name was only mentioned through much of the series, but it was only in the last book that he got page time and was the jerk friend who sided with the runaway groom in the last book.
      I probably would have skipped this one if I had remembered who the people were before I took the book, but, the good news is, since you have it, that it was actually an okay story even with Courtney. She straightened out over the book so that by the end, she was a decent gal. 🙂 Don’t blame you for needing to be in the right mood, though.

      • She really had been. I took points off in that book because of her. Rare for a secondary character to make that happen. Whew! Ahhh Matt. Okay. I do remember being SO mad at everyone coming to that jerk’s defense.

        I am glad that it turned out to be a decent story even with the two of them. That really is rather impressive. lol

        • Yeah, it helped when we got to the ‘why’s behind their idiot attitudes and actions that- well, if I didn’t exactly see it as a way I would have reacted or responded- at least I understood better where they were coming from.

  • Karen

    Sounds like a rocky road lol I can handle some doubt early on but to keep going on and on with it annoys me. Like – either go for it or don’t.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    • Yes, she definitely carried it on way past the due date and it was worse b/c she’s been like this through the whole series particularly the last book. He had more patience with her than I would have. 🙂

  • yeah I don’t think me and the female lead would work together either

    • There are just some characters that I will try to overcome an early dislike and do, but this gal just made it too tough.

  • yeah I don’t think me and the female lead would work together either