Wedding planner Avery Crosslin may be a rising star in Houston society, but she doesn’t believe in love-at least not for herself. When she meets wealthy bachelor Joe Travis and mistakes him for a wedding photographer, she has no intention of letting him sweep her off her feet. But Joe is a man who goes after what he wants, and Avery can’t resist the temptation of a sexy southern charmer and a hot summer evening.
After a one night stand, however, Avery is determined to keep it from happening again. A man like Joe can only mean trouble for a woman like her, and she can’t afford distractions. She’s been hired to plan the wedding of the year-a make-or-break event.
But complications start piling up fast, putting the wedding in jeopardy, especially when shocking secrets of the bride come to light. And as Joe makes it clear that he’s not going to give up easily, Avery is forced to confront the insecurities and beliefs that stem from a past she would do anything to forget.
The situation reaches a breaking point, and Avery faces the toughest choice of her life. Only by putting her career on the line and risking everything-including her well-guarded heart-will she find out what matters most.
Source: ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
Okay, confession time. Despite having been a huge Lisa Kleypas fan for many years, I’ve never actually read any of her Travis novels. When they were first released I was in a historical haze and had already devoured all Kleypas’ historical books that I wasn’t interested in any contemporaries. I always intended to go back (and I’ve even read the first of the Friday Harbor series), but there are so many books being released all the time that I never quite got around to it.
I’ll be making time soon, though, because although this fourth installment of the Travis family is the last (for now – though I’m hoping Ryan will get his own tale) I really enjoyed it, and followed along without any trouble at all. For one good reason: Joe.
He’s gorgeous and wonderful and funny and thoughtful, and I loved him from his first appearance right up to the cheesy-cute epilogue. Since this book is written entirely in first-person from Avery’s perspective, I have to admit I never quite got what he saw in Avery, but the patient way he pursues her and gives her all the chances in the world to trust and believe in him, without ever being a complete push over… be still my sighing, swooning heart.
However, when it comes to Avery, I’m a little torn. I liked her mostly, sometimes I really liked her. The way she’d built her business, connected with her sister, made such a success of her life were great. True, she’s a little too controlling at times when it comes to details, but it made her good at what she did so I liked her for it. I loved how she was with her sister and her employees, not to mention cute little Coco, but when it came to Joe I almost hated her at times.
She treats him so badly! Here’s this wonderful, genuine guy who is willing to do so much for her, and she treats him like dirt. If she’s not ignoring him or dodging his texts, she’s making outrageous demands that no sane person would agree to. I know she has trust issues and quite rightly is cautious about relationships, but it’s like she’s a completely different character when she’s with him. Which made the romantic moments less fun for me, because if she wasn’t already being horrible to Joe I was waiting for the moment when she would be. Then there was the whole New York trip, involving a job that didn’t fit the Avery I thought I knew at all and a completely expected revelation (considering all involved), that left me confused not only about what Avery really wanted from life but at times made me question her ethics and basic decency.
However, thankfully, this book has plenty of other shiny things to distract me. Not least Avery’s sister, Sofia, or Joe’s Travis siblings. I loved the different families in this book and how on one side blood had bonded them into a tight but fun and welcoming clan, and on the other Avery had built her own family from work and shared experiences (not that she seemed to recognise it) that was equally close and fun. There are so many excellent side characters in this book, but I never once felt overwhelmed or lost, even though I’d never met any of the Travises before.
So, if you’re already a fan of this series you’ll find plenty of Travis moments to enjoy. If you’re new, don’t worry about all of that and instead prepare to fall in love with Joe. Avery definitely won’t appeal to all – or at least certain aspects of her behaviour won’t – but her friends and family more than make up for her bad points. And did I mention Joe? In fact, ignore everything I’ve just written.
Read this for Joe. He’s the only incentive to read this book that anyone should need.
Brown-Eyed Girl is out August 11th!
Visit Lisa Kleypas for more details.
[This review was brought to you today courtesy of Van Morrison’s Brown Eye Girl:
#Do you remember when we used to sing
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah…
And if you weren’t singing it before, you will be now.
You’re welcome! :D]