To Have and to Hold

  • Author Lauren Layne
  • Release Date July 26, 2016
  • Publisher Pocket Books
  • ISBN/ASIN 9781501135132
  • Our Rating
  • Reviewed by Jo

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Our Review

After having read the prequel novella, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD (THE WEDDING BELLES #0.5) I was looking forward to reading the first book in the series, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD.  The Wedding Belles, wedding planning business, brings in Brooke as a new wedding planner, after she got jilted at the altar by a con man, lost her wedding planner business and felt she had to leave the LA area.  She went all the way to the east coast – New York City to be exact.  As Brooke is introduced to us and we get to know the others – Alexis, the owner, Heather, her assistant  and Jessie the receptionist, we get immersed in the business of wedding planning and learn the personalities of the four women who are so different from each other but get each other and work well together.

We are introduced to Maya, her fiance, Neil and Maya’s brother, Seth, as Brooke’s first clients.  There’s definitely an attraction between Brooke and Seth but Seth and Neil who are meeting for the first time don’t fare as well especially since Seth didn’t even know his sister was engaged.  If Seth has any say in the wedding, there won’t be one!  Seth and Maya are hotel heir and heiress and Seth is very protective of his sister, their wealth and the business since their parents are deceased – their father dying only eight months before and Seth took over the business.

Watching overprotective big brother, Seth, upset his sister at every turn especially when he is rude to Neil annoys Brooke no end.  She knows he’s a control freak but feels he should take Maya’s feelings into account and back off.  Meanwhile, every time Brooke and Seth are in the same room sparks are flying.  Both have been unlucky at love and don’t know what to do about their feelings but also don’t know if it’s just sex or something more. At times they are willing to see where it goes until they have argument after argument and all communication breaks down.  One of them always seems to be apologizing to the other. Seth’s best friend, Grant, who works with him also has a lot to say where Maya and Brooke are concerned especially since he grew up around Maya and her family and was like a surrogate brother.

There are family and friends, coworkers, people that aren’t as they seem, wedding information galore, dinners, drinks, chocolate, fear, anger, hurt, sadness, secrets, lies, deceit, tears, laughter, happiness, romance, loving and love.  There is nice closure and most of the loose ends tied up with a few unexpected twists and turns to the story.

This is only the second book of Layne’s that I have read.  I look forward to reading the next two books in the series, FOR BETTER OR WORSE and TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH.  There was an excerpt from book two FOR BETTER OR WORSE, at the back of the book that just whet my appetite for more.  I look forward to seeing what the Wedding Belles will be up to next!

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