Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 18, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
R.S.V.P. to the most riotous wedding of the year . . .
Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former president of the United States.
Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.
One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.
But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend’s wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say “I don’t,” Meg becomes the most hated woman in town—a town she’s stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom. Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What’s the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all.
I’m not sure where I got the idea (Cait), but I think reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips is some sort of rite of passage in Romancelandia. Like Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts and Lisa Kleypas, she’s a member of that group of authors that you have to try, just once, just because. So I crossed another item off of my bucket list this week and read not one but two of SEP’s books.
I can’t consider myself an expert on what SEP usually writes, so I’m just going by my general observations from Glitter Baby and Call Me Irresistible. At least with these two books, the plot followed an uncomfortably similar arc. Rich girl with self-awareness issues, hot guy everyone wants with self-awareness issues, wacko mothers/cast, trouble from jealous something or other, drama, drama.
Meg is the daughter of Fleur and Jake from Glitter Baby. She’s the square peg that’s been running away from the round hole for years and her family finally cuts her off financially, inconveniently while she’s in the middle of nowhere at her best friend’s wedding. The groom is the town’s golden child; to meet Ted Beaudine is to love him and he doesn’t even have to work at it. He’s absolutely perfect in every way. He’s also completely wrong for her best friend, and when Lucy leaves Ted at the altar after a heart to heart with Meg, the entire town is up in arms. Nobody would choose to leave Mr. Irresistible so it had to have been Meg’s doing. The wedding party long gone, her family not taking her calls and her credit cards cut off, she’s stuck in a very unfriendly Wynette until she can earn enough money to leave.
If there’s ever a kind of character that can only exist in books, it would have to be someone like Meg. It isn’t that she’s tall, striking and of course thinks she’s plain; that’s not uncommon. She has to be one of the most stubborn creatures invented. At first she has to stay in Wynette because her options are to work off her hotel bill or go to jail. After that? She stays because she’s going to prove to her parents that she can be responsible. But she’s being “responsible” in a town full of people who hate her, essentially squatting in someone’s empty house and taking baths in a creek. That’s crazy. The only thing that really redeemed her character for me was that she had the smartest mouth on her. Her arguments with Ted and the little skirmishes she got into with the residents of the town were funny, snarky and sparkling.
I loved the weird, gossipy people of Wynette. They were rude, snooty and outright hostile but in a way that made it seem like the smackdown had been delivered at a semi-formal garden luncheon that Meg crashed in a pair of Daisy Dukes and a tube top. It could have come across as just mean, but Meg gave as good as she got and generally just annoyed them with her presence. It all was the best part of the book for me – the initial fury over the jilting, the scapegoating and the slow realization that Meg was as odd as they were.
Against the vivid people in the town and Meg’s general ridiculousness, Ted just got lost for me. He didn’t annoy me but I didn’t care much about him outside of his sparring with Meg either. He was all about getting funding for a golf course that would save the town and he was a genius environmentalist, but I wasn’t drawn into either storyline. Maybe if I were more familiar with the town and what the problems were, I’d have gone for the investor plot a little more, but I wasn’t and I didn’t. I had a couple of problems with Meg and Ted’s relationship too. Since I already said I thought Meg was crazy and Ted was boring, their romance was equally bi-polar. When they were fighting it was kind of fun and snappy but the softer moments didn’t do anything for me. They both were faking and avoiding things, making the ending way over the top dramatic.
My Summary: You can pretty much take the above review, change out townspeople for parents, triple the drama and deduct the humor and you’d have my review for Glitter Baby. I can’t say this is something SEP is known for and I’m not someone who’ll argue about using a formula that works – I’ve been addicted to Lisa Marie Rice’s books for ages and she writes the same story over and over, just with different terrorists. Neither Glitter Baby nor Call Me Irresistible worked for me as well as I hoped, mostly because I didn’t enjoy the romance and I thought the heroines were frustrating. I won’t rule out any more SEP because I have a feeling Cait will let me know if a good one comes along, but I won’t be seeking any out.