REVIEW: Always a Bridesmaid by Elaine Hopper
Dear Ms. Hopper:
Thank you for sending this book for review. I wanted to like this more but in the end, I couldn’t really sympathize with the hero’s dilemma.
This had a tough setup. Breanna was engaged to be married to her long time sweetheart, Troy Youngwolf, when she finds out she is pregnant with his child. Before she can spill the exciting news, Troy informs her that he has eloped with her best friend who is pregnant with his child. Breanna subsequently loses the baby. She moves away and doesn’t come home, not even at the death of her former best friend, until her sister decides to get married.
When she returns home, she is confronted by Troy who doesn’t understand why she can’t forgive him when he’s apologized repeatedly. It is even more painful when Breanna has to see Troy with Troy and Meg’s daughter, the child who lived, even though Troy and Meg have separated.
Breanna blames Troy for the loss of her child, a loss she had to suffer alone. Perhaps it wasn’t reasonable for Breanna to cling to her pain and continue to look to Troy as the cause, but it was easy to sympathize with her. Troy didn’t provide much excuse for his betrayal of Breanna, only that he was sorry it happened.
In an effort to make the reader more sympathetic to Troy, you set up parallel circumstances. For example, why did Breanna have such an easy relationship with her former boyfriend Tim who was married to another woman. Troy didn’t understand. But given that Tim didn’t cheat on Breanna with her best friend, I didn’t see the comparison as having much weight.
Even beyond my difficulty in buying into the emotional arc of the characters, I had some problems with the execution. Some of the emotion was forced and the segues from point to point were awkward at times.
"Okay, so Troy will think you've still got the hots for him." Sierra clicked her tongue. "True or not, you don't want him believing that, do you?"
"No." Pouting, Breanna reminded herself and her sister, "But he wouldn't care anyway." It wasn't as if she'd been in deep hiding. She was a member of the high school's Facebook group. Easy enough to send a message through that if he'd been concerned or even just curious about her.
"You might be surprised." A dreamy, romantic look crept into Sierra's amber eyes.
Why would Sierra be dreamy eyed at this point? Was envisioning Breanna and Troy, the guy who cheated on her sister and had a baby with someone else whilst said sister suffered a miscarriage, romantic and special? These types of descriptors that were interspersed throughout the book seemed misplaced and confusing.
Other areas seem to lack authenticity. Troy is the town sheriff and apparently needs Bree’s help for two weeks because he is short staffed. I found this very odd that they would allow their staffing to be so depleted that someone from out of town would serve in his office for a period of time.
The first kiss between the two of them seemed to come out of nowhere. Troy was in Bree’s home and suddenly grabbed her and kissed her out of nowhere. If the story had been told primarily in Bree’s point of view, maybe Troy’s actions wouldn’t have been so surprising. However, there were several scenes from Troy’s point of view and none of them signaled that he was going to take this action, try to win her back, try to bed her. It was sudden and strange.
Troy’s bewilderment at Bree’s abandonment of their hometown was also strange. He questioned why she left so suddenly, why she didn’t stick around as if his impregnating her best friend while Bree and he were engaged should have no impact.
The ploys to make me feel sympathy for Troy didn’t work. He seemed more resentful than regretful. He was mad she wouldn’t forgive him. I never saw him evince understanding for what happened when they were younger.
Everyone seemed to diminished Bree’s feelings, made her feel guilty for her absence from her family, and just wanted her to get over it. I’m no fan of the martyr, but I really felt sorry for Bree. Sorry she had a family that wasn’t more understanding and sorry that she was stuck with Troy. C-
| Wild Rose Press |