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REVIEW: Always the Bridesmaid by Nina Harrington

Dear Ms. Harrington,

This is the second charming book I’ve read of yours I’ve read. The CEO hero isn’t a cad or bounder, the baker heroine is dedicated to what she does – and I’d love to try her strudel, the action is short, sweet and to the point and I had a good time reading it, thank you very much.

Always the Bridesmaid Nina HarringtonAmy Edler is a busy woman, running her own bakery and doing most of the work herself. But when her best friend’s wedding planner does a runner a week before the big day, she finds herself picking up the pieces and in charge of not only making the wedding cake but also making sure everything comes off without a hitch.

Okay so she’s not totally in charge as Jared Shaw, the entrepreneur brother of the bride, is pitching in too. As these two tick off the important details they find themselves together – a lot. And with love and wedding mania in the air, they start to look at each other – also a lot. Will romance strike and lead to another trip by a Shaw sibling down the aisle?

Amy is a strong woman who – though with PTSD from her life changing injury – has remade her career into her childhood dream. She’s working hard, living the dream, proud of what she does and also has a fun, spritely sense of humor. I love how she zings Jared at times and can also make a joke at her own expense as well as laugh with anyone. She thinks about others, cares about her friends and can roll a mean piece of bread dough. Never mess with a woman who kneads her own dough cause she can probably deck ya. She does seem to have trouble saying “no” though I admire her willingness to pitch in where needed.

Jared is driven by his past and how hard he had to work to show those who thought he’d amount to nothing more than his con man father. He also had to be the man of the house at 14 which is a tough road to hoe. He remembers the bad times and won’t let them happen again. His sister’s wedding will go off on schedule even if Amy has to be pregnant with 2 pillows to get them to the front of the line of frantic brides to get the info from the Runaway Bride planner’s office. I like how Jared keeps his past in mind but still doesn’t let it rule his life or get bogged down in angst over it.

Jared never looked to find the love of his life but when he realizes the wonderful woman in front of him – and you have made her a wonderful woman – he steps right up and decisively goes after her. But nicely. Nicely is nice. Lucy the Bride makes a lot of demands on her peeps but at least she doesn’t turn Bridezilla.

There’s lots o’ stuff crammed into the week before the wedding – it makes me almost tired just to read it -and I have to say that by the end, when thing after thing was being piled on top of things already there, I did wonder – what else could go wrong? The last event is something I’ve not seen used to finally bring a hero and his heroine to their romantic senses about how much they love each other and to stop being foolish. Who’d have thought I’d read a HEA through plumbing?

I love how Jared asks Amy to let him in her life by helping realize her dream. Aaaaahhhh. How many men can say they really know what their sweetheart’s dream is and be ready to make that happen? The final bit of last chapter + the epilogue wind things up with our two lovebirds planning to stay in one country on one side of the Atlantic with Amy’s dream in progress and the chance for Jared to pull his hair out making kids happy. Another big aaaahhh but without getting sappy.

This is a funny, happy book which doesn’t solve world hunger but does entertain delightfully. I breezed through it, enjoyed the two leads and am glad that through eharlequin, I can catch up on not only what you’re writing now but your backlist as well. B


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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Julie
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 14:18:52

    I love Nina Harrington! I’ve read everything she’s written. This was actually her debut book and it was great. She’s got a new RIVA out next month which looks great. The heroine grows orchids, I think!

  2. Becca
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 15:40:03

    [pedant] it’s “row to hoe” not “a tough road to hoe” [/pedant]

    still, this sounds like a charming book – I’ll have to pick it up.

  3. Statch
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 16:37:09

    I was just thinking the other day that I’d like find a Harlequin with a heroine who has a sense of humor, so thanks for this review. And Fictionwise’s 60% discount is still working….cool.

  4. Chelsea
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 16:43:09

    Oh this sounds lovely! I’ve been compulsively buying harlequins lately, I think I’ll have to add this to the list.

  5. Jayne
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 19:57:55

    @Becca: LOL, my bad. For my next review I’ll mention if anyone has a “hard row to travel.”

  6. Jayne
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 20:00:46

    @Julie: That heroine does sound interesting. I’m always on the lookout for the unusual and will check into it.

  7. Jayne
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 20:04:15

    @Statch: I used to buy a lot at Fictionwise but when they jerked everyone around by ending their member discount plan and making me use all the store credits I had, I stopped even going there. Now I see the membership program is back. Are they also having a special sale now?

  8. SHZ
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 21:17:24

    Why is every Harlequin heroine these days either a wedding planner or a baker?!

    It’s really annoying, but this book sounds good. I’m been splurging on Harlequins recently. Off to The Book Depository…

  9. Julie
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 02:40:12

    @Jayne She also had a fashion designer heroine in her last Harlequin Romance Her Moment in the Spotlight.The hero was an extreme sports fanatic and a photographer.

  10. Statch
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 12:47:55

    @Jayne, Fictionwise has been having a rolling series of great coupons over the last couple of months. I no longer get their emails for some reason (and I’ve read other people saying the same), so I follow’s Discounts forum to find out when they have one. It usually comes out around Saturday, and lasts until Thursday.

    I was also upset when FW stopped being able to carry the Agency-priced books, and pretty much the only books I buy there now are Harlequins, but it’s my main source for Harlequins now because they seem to always have a discount going on, usually anywhere from 35% to 60%. The last couple of weeks, I’ve bought about 20 Harlequin Treasury titles for under $1.50 each. (I don’t think the membership program ever went away. I had a 5-year membership and left it in place, so I still get the Club discounts. They just don’t have store credits any more.)

    I’m reading Always a Bridesmaid and it’s delightful — everything the review said it would be. Last night I went back to FW and bought the rest of her backlist.

  11. Weekly Wanderings - Adventures in Life, Love and Librarianship
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 08:47:34

    […] Review: Always the Bridesmaid by Nina Harrington – I just had to mention this because, I think, on some level, the author MUST have been thinking about me. (I mean I’ve been a bridesmaid a bunch of times and I love to bake…┬ácoincidence? I think not.) ┬áSo now the question is, where’s my CEO hero? […]

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