REVIEW: Smooth as Silk by Alicia Hunter Pace
Hyacinth Dawson’s life runs like clockwork—and she likes it that way. Spreadsheets, lists and plans have never failed her, and now they’re going to help her get her bridal shop on the popular reality TV show All Dressed in White. But it won’t happen unless she can land a celebrity client…maybe one of those new NHL players in town.
Enter Robbie McTavish, a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants Scottish defenseman who can’t help but meddle when he spies a bride in Hyacinth’s shop wearing a completely wrong dress for her figure. Robbie’s family just happens to own the Scottish Highlands’ premier wedding venue, and he knows his way around bustled trains and buttercream frosting—even if his help seems to be less than welcome.
When a video of his infuriating interference goes viral, the TV producers decide to film at Hyacinth’s shop—as long as her “associate” Robbie is part of the package. Opposites might attract, but as far as Hyacinth’s concerned, no amount of chemistry is worth the way this particular plus-one threatens to blow up her carefully laid plans…
The blurb got me here. Honestly though it wasn’t the wedding shop setting, though, as I’ve seen enough of those and cooking contests to last me for a good long while. Instead it’s Robbie, the Scottish hockey player who knows his way around what looks good on a bride even if he’s sometimes iffy on the exact term, who made me want to read this. Well, gotta be honest that I liked it but not nearly as much as I’d hoped I would.
Hyacinth Dawson and Robbie McTavish are chalk and cheese, oil and water, up and down. Hyacinth has never thought of a list she didn’t make. She (usually) has not only plan A but also B, C, and probably D already mapped out. She’s got short term plans and long term plans and is laser focused. Robbie is easy going and charm personified. His agent does a lot of things for him and thank goodness for automatic bill paying. He also wears a kilt almost all the time (really, do Scottish men actually do that?) when his professional hockey team doesn’t tell him not to. But their chemistry is, according to the viewers who watch the phone video shot by a bridesmaid during a wedding dress appointment, is smoking hot.
Robbie quickly decides he likes what he sees and is all in for slow, languorous wooing. That is when Hyacinth isn’t making him frustrated by her insistence on plans, plans, and more plans. He’s also taken aback when she outlines her hopes that she can snag a spot on “Dressed in White,” the wedding dress reality show that has told Hyacinth she needs a strong pitch to be considered. It’s not the fact that she wants to be on the show – he watches it faithfully and knows it’s a big thing – but that she hopes to dress one of her best friends who is dating one of Robbie’s teammates. Hyacinth thinks this is smart while Robbie thinks it’s calculated and cold.
Things Happen and they part angrily only for Hyacinth to need to talk Robbie into doing a guest bit when DiW comes calling after the video goes viral. The getting to know each other section is fun and perhaps setting up future books but the characters (and there are a lot of them, some detailed and some mere background noise) don’t overshadow these MCs. Of course some conflict remains as Hyacinth is still wound as tight as an eight day clock while Robbie still has his easy going “let it all hang out” style of living.
There are times, frankly a lot of times, when I wanted to shake Hyacinth. She does have Reasons why she’s so set on having her way and unable to just let loose. At times she appears to be relaxing a bit but she’s also a “glass half full” “prepare for the worst” personality. I can live with that as I like to plan ahead, too. But Hyacinth can be so focused on her plans that she can say some tactless, not to mention hurtful, things. For a woman who makes her living soothing frazzled bridal nerves as The Dress is chosen, this is strange. She’s all focused until the time when she finally tries to make up for something and that one time felt forced to me.
Meanwhile Robbie is perhaps just a little too good to be true. Handsome, charming, kind, attentive (I did like how both he and Hyacinth not only notice things about each other but remember those things), fairly well off, has manners that Emily Post would approve of, bakes, and smoking hot kisses. So his home is a little messy and he doesn’t always pack well for a road trip. Otherwise, the guy is a dreamy, beta, smooshy hero. Until the one time when he isn’t and that didn’t feel realistic for him – not the way he’d been written.
The two of them ended up working things out but it seemed too quick for how much they had let things fracture in the final stretch. The epilogue details some more efforts they’ve put into sorting their differences which is good because honestly, they needed to. C+