Rating: 3.5 stars
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Between the stress of running their bakery and preparing for a wedding, Rory Kincaid is one episode short of a major meltdown. To make matters worse, while he would never question Jack’s love, he certainly feels the pressure of being a once homeless man now set to marry into a well-to-do family with a historical legacy. Still, Jack’s parents seem to love him and if his mother, Diana, is anything to go by, this wedding will be fantastic—if she ever stops springing surprises on them they specifically asked she not do. Jack and Rory want to keep it simple but Diana, their wedding coordinator and Rory’s future mother-in-law, has different ideas in mind.
A Christmas Wedding by A.E. Ryecart is actually the third story in her Rory & Jack series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Having said that, I can also say that I think a reader will get more of an understanding of all of Rory’s insecurities and worries if they know his backstory more completely. Still, this novel gives just enough history to help you realize all his worry over fitting in and measuring up to the DeLacey legacy is understandable given his poor and unsettled past.
I rarely find myself in this position, but this is one time where I definitely feel that this novel could have actually delivered the same emotional impact without affecting the storyline in a much shorter format. I felt that the pace of the book dragged often, and that the same fretting and distraught internal conversation Rory had with himself was repeated too frequently. Honestly, since there was very little external drama save the brief appearance of someone from Rory’s past, the constant worry from Rory over whether he was good enough and Jacks’ repeated reassurances that he was got a little bit old after a while.
This was a sweet romantic interlude in Rory and Jack’s life. To that end, these boys could not have fit the bill of deeply in love romantics better. That was the strength in this story—their love for each other and their desire to move forward together. At times, the insidious doubts that Rory grappled with seemed to do nothing more than slow down the happy ever after this author had decided to showcase in this story. With just a little less internal angst and more focus on the happiness they both did feel about their upcoming life together as husbands, I think this story would have had a far greater impact. I do think fans of this couple will love seeing them finally marry. Perhaps it’s just my frustration with what seemed to be too much doubt and worry on Rory’s part that dragged this romantic novel down, but either way, the ending was a lovely reminder that we can find true love and live happily ever after.