I have been anticipating this book since I encountered Joe Bagshaw in Vow Maker, where he acted as the wedding planner to Gabe and Dylan. It was a hilarious and memorable introduction. And made all the readers want more, especially his painful romantic history.
Morton reveals Joe’s love life and tale of marriage woe between scenes of weddings that Joe’s firm is handling, past and present. This format works in some respects to help the story and not in others.
By breaking down the story into different timelines, a wedding here that begins the relationship, a wedding that sees the men meet up again, and so on to weddings three and four, the reader gets a wonderful feel for the strong amazing personality that is Joe Bagshaw. Quick witted, kind, thoughtful, well organized, and extremely intelligent. He’s exactly who you’d want to plan your wedding. Or anything else for that matter. We connect with Joe immediately.
The other man in this unusual relationship that they aren’t calling a relationship? That would be forensic accountant Lachlan Moore. Older, self possessed, and assured of himself and his status quo, personally and professionally , he’s not the immediate choice we’d expect for Joe. He’s not a bad person but from the early stages, Morton doesn’t give the reader (or Joe) enough reason to believe he is the best person for that amazing being we love.
In my opinion, this is where the issues with the format overlap into character and relationship development. And not for the first time in a Lily Morton story.
Lachlan falls into that category of main protagonists that are emotionally unavailable to the other more engaging and lovable men in their lives. For the majority of the story, it’s Joe who’s the narrator. Through Joe’s thoughts and feelings, we watch as Lachlan creates a “on my terms only “ scenario for them where not even the term date can be used. When they marry, he then leaves Joe to be abused by a housekeeper, his friends, and his PA. Even a house. We, Joe’s audience , along with Joe’s friends , find this situation naturally appalling.
Morton has created a one-sided emotional connection with the couple through Joe with her readers. Only later does Lachlan get his perspective voiced. By then it’s almost too late.
The author’s plan to right this one sidedness starts at a wedding in Scotland. There it’s a strictly 2 person POV. So Lachlan becomes the fully fleshed out character he should have been all along. However, I’m not sure he’s still a great person.
Communication, or it’s lack of, is key here between the two people. Neither was able to talk to the other person about their feelings or the fact they were upset until now. That’s not addressed either. A secret from Lachlan’s end doesn’t help on the open communication front.
There’s another smaller issue for me. I don’t know why but it’s stuck with me because it held such promise for being such a tiny narrative gem.
Frances is the mother of Erica, the bride whose wedding is being held in Scotland. Frances is a veritable harridan. Nasty, demanding, arrogant, Frances has made Joe’s job difficult and her name is synonymous with the worst that bridezilla mothers can deliver. But just when she’s fallen into a stereotype, Morton elevates this controlling one dimensional woman into someone human. It happens during a snowed in game night.
“ I’d thought Frances would steer the ship, but unexpectedly she defers to her husband, and there’s even a smile on her lips as they look at each other. I narrow my eyes.”
It goes further with Frances emerging as a defender of another member of her family. And Frances goes from harridan to family matriarch with a inner life of her own. What a transformation in a few sentences!
But such a subtle , and appreciated detail wasn’t to last. Morton throws away this lovely narrative gem by reducing Frances once more to a comic flat horror of a woman because Joe needed a one-liner towards the end of the romance.
It’s choices like those, where the easy narrative path was taken, rather than the one where the author must build up the storyline further with heft and a sense of fullness, that leaves this lacking.
Morton’s booklist has so many novels where such care was taken. It pains me to say that Joe Bagshaw – Moore’s isn’t one of them. I so hoped it was.
So read this because we fell in love with Joe and want to know what happened to him. Because Lily Morton is a must read for you. For all the others, you decide if it’s the age gap, second chance at love story next on your TBR pile.
First in a new series.
Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com › Confetti…Confetti Hearts – Kindle edition by Morton, Lily. Romance Kindle eBooks …
Joe Bagshaw doesn’t believe in love or marriage anymore, which is rather a hindrance for a wedding planner.
His own marriage was a whirlwind affair that ended before the ink could dry on the wedding certificate. Nevertheless, even with his divorce pending, he’s getting by. Or at least he was until he finds himself snowed in at a remote Scottish hotel with the wedding party from hell, a terrible ABBA tribute band, and his soon-to-be ex-husband.
Lachlan has missed Joe from the second his husband walked away. He wants Joe back and is prepared to do anything to get him. Being snowed in together seems to offer the chance Lachlan needs, but does he have what it takes to get Joe to trust in love and their marriage again?
From bestselling author Lily Morton, comes a romantic comedy about love, matrimony, and the best of second chances.
This is the first book in the Confetti Hitched series.