Ten years ago, Quinn Barton was on her way to the altar to marry Burke Morrison, her high school sweetheart, when something derailed her. Rather, someone derailed her—the Best Man who at the last minute begged her to reconsider the marriage. He told her that Burke had been cheating on her. For a long time. Quinn, stunned, hurt, and confused, struggled with the obligation of fulfilling her guests’ expectations—providing a wedding—and running for her life.
She chose running. With the Best Man. Who happened to be Burke’s brother, Frank.
That relationship didn’t work either. How could it, when Quinn had been engaged to, in love with, Frank’s brother? Quinn opted for neither, and, instead, spends the next seventeen years working in her family’s Middleburg, Virginia, bridal shop, Talk of the Gown, where she subconsciously does penance for the disservice she did to marriage.
But when the two men return to town for another wedding, old anger, hurt, and passion resurface. Just because you’ve traded the good guy for the bad guy for no guy doesn’t mean you have to stay away from love for the rest of your life, does it?
Source: eARC through Netgalley/St. Martin’s Press for review purposes
Quinn is confronted on her wedding day by her fiance’s brother, Frank, telling her that Burke has been cheating on her. She is initially unsure what to believe but calls off the wedding after confronting Burke. Burke admits to some indiscretions and Quinn leaves for Las Vegas…with Frank.
Fast forward ten years and Quinn is essentially stuck. She’s in the same small town she’s grown up in but not much has changed in the ensuing years, except she hasn’t seen either of the brothers since the wedding imploded and she returned home from Vegas with Frank and ended that, too. She thinks she’s over Burke, but feels no closure because she doesn’t know the entire truth, but again, she’s stuck in a kind of purgatory of her own making, unable to truly move on.
Both Burke and Frank are back in town when their grandmother, Dottie, decides to remarry after years of being a widow. Quinn is making the wedding dress and gets caught up in Dottie’s scheme to fix Quinn & Burke’s relationship. For Quinn, she feels anger and restentment towards Burke, but she’s still insanely attracted to him and it would be so easy for her to fall back into his arms, his bed, hoping that things would end differently this time. But is it only the familiarity of her old love that is calling to her? Is she really still in love with him? What about what’s happened in life since they broke up? How have they both changed? And what about Frank, who Quinn also feels a pull toward?
This was a very cute book. I liked Quinn a lot. It’s not often that I connect with a character in the way that I did with Quinn. Mostly, I understand their point of view and appreciate their way of thinking, but there is never an actual click between me and the character, despite how much I may like them. I really understood Quinn’s thoughts and actions and they felt authentic and real. Quinn felt like me, her actions and reactions felt just like what I would do or say. It was kind of strange. I empathized with all of her dumb decisions and I was right there with her as she was beating herself up about them, but I also felt that there was an organic process to her. In most contemporary women’s literature today, a lot of the time, the female MC does and says the perfect things and I love this about them because I feel like I can learn from them how to handle situations correctly, but it’s not real. We’re all flawed and we don’t always know the exact thing to say or do that ends in a happily ever after. Quinn was not perfect. She was stagnant at the beginning of the book, closed off to new experiences and living in the past. But through the course of the book, with the guys coming back and her relationship with her best friend, Glenn (and his pushing her to try new things), she finally started to live up to the potential she had as a young woman about to get married, before it all fell apart.
Having said all that, I want to say that maybe I’m just used to the other contemporary books I’m used to reading because I wish there was more romance in it. I think that is my biggest disappointment about the book; there was romance, but not what I was used to. I want more grand declarations, more passion, people who cannot keep their hands off of each other. But what we got was a woman torn, wanting and hating the same man, pushing him away, pulling him close. And the relationship was not healthy because they were both in a place (and had a past) that wouldn’t have/shouldn’t have allowed for a happy ending.
I do recommend this book and I want to read more by this author. We need more characters like Quinn, someone who doesn’t have it all together but still manages to finally figure it out. Because she does figure it out, eventually, and she does grow as a person. Her choices are the same as always, but she chose the wrong guy the last time. What choices will she make when she finally figures herself out? You’ll have to read it and see.