To Have and To Hold (The Wedding Belles #1)

To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles, #1)To Have and To Hold Summary:
Discovering her fiance 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 fiance 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?

To Have and To Hold Review: 

This book captivated me from the beginning. With Seth’s sarcastic internal thoughts, how could it not!

"Seth blink. It wasn't? Six months seemed like a hell of along time to him, but then he wasn't the one who'd been marrying off the family dog when he was. What did he know?"

Lauren Layne is an author I have been wishing to read because of her Stilettos and Oxford series. Looking at titles, I was ecstatic to see To Have and To Hold in Netgalley and thought it was a great way to see how Layne writes. I also looked at the reviews of others and was a little disheartened because there were a lot of review lower than three stars. I still read the book with an open mind and it turned out to be an amazing read. It wasn’t an instant success as there were small problems, but I didn’t agree with popular opinion that it wasn’t a good first book. Another good thing to note is that this is the first book in a series which means that it is going to be a bit rough as the offer discovers how to write the series.

Both main characters were interesting and drew you into their story. Seth and Brooke each had their own demons to face, yet the had some common ground. This made the story that much more captivating and fascinating to read as the two characters were almost a foil of each other. This was due to them having incredibly different ways of dealing with their issues. The two of them brought just enough angst and emotion to make the story real. And don’t get dissuaded by the cover or title. This story does not end in some sappy wedding but in a realistic conclusion for two people who have been hurt.

"'All the way, Mr. Tyler. I'm thinking I love you all the way.'"
Seth pushed her back onto the bed with a wicked, happy grin. "'Prove it.'"
And Brooke did. She definitely did."

Their love/hate relationship was nice to read about. I keep comparing it to the relationships from the Wallflowers or the Hathaways by Lisa Kleypas, and this kind of falls short. I understand that each couple will banter in different ways but some of their fights had a little too much angst. Yet most of their interactions were humour filled, sometimes showing very vulnerable side. That was done very well because it didn’t come as over the top.

Seth linked his fingers in hers. “Take me home, Baldwin.”
She laughed. “You know, for such a rich, savvy guy, you can be a total dork.”
“I like to think it reveals my vulnerable side.”
She glanced up at him suspiciously. “Do you have a vulnerable side?”
“I do. Her name is Brooke.”

Seth was a lonely, distant sweetheart. He won me over in an instant because of the love he had for his sister. It shone through in everything that she did and explained some of his not so good choices. I didn’t agree with his methods, but I understand why he did it. Also, it showed that he was willing to change to strengthen any connections.

“Anyways, I know I’m being controlling. I know that’s a problem of mind, and it will problem of mine, and it will probably always be a problem of mine, but I’m working on it. I swear that I am.”

Brooke was easier to connect with at first but her constant emotional issues dimmed my view of her. She went from being really tough to over the top or whiny (at times). She created so many problems over and over again, it took away from their development. Though, closer to the end she pulled through to fit for her love and to own her life. It was a great way to end of this book.

Maya and Grant were great to read about. They were a really cute couple and from the beginning you rooted for their success. And even after discovering what Seth did, Maya didn’t turn her back on him. She let him know how she felt but stayed open to his side. It was weird to see her react less than Brooke when the secret came out.

“She shook her head and stood. 'I know you love me, Seth. I know it’s why you did that. I know that. I’m not going to say I’m not a tiny bit pissed, but honestly...I want to say thank you. For caring, even if you do in a horribly invasive way.’”

I’m slowly liking the Just Romance genre. It has no action, and a very simplistic formula, the allure of a happy and every-day ending is a great read. Overall this is a four star read! I added another star for the excerpt because it was hilarious! So technically, this entire book is a five star read.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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