Bedspell has kind of wacky premise, so it could have wound up being either unbearably silly or enjoyably fun. Fortunately it’s the latter. Make no mistake, it is a little silly, but it’s also sweet and thoroughly likable.
Signe Sargent’s dream is to work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Despite her college degree, though, the closest she’s gotten is a job as a waitress in the Met’s coffee shop. The upside is that she spends each day talking to George “Gorgeous” Garrity, a notorious New York playboy who stops by every day on his lunch hour. Gorgeous seems like the man of her dreams, so when she travels with a group of friends to a Wiccan retreat, she decides to cast a spell for one hot night with him.
She doesn’t really believe the spell will work. But it does – sort of. After drinking a little too much, Signe stumbles back to her cabin to find the man of her dreams waiting for her. Except, the next morning, she awakes to discover that she wandered into the wrong cabin, and instead of Gorgeous, she found a park ranger named James.
James had been expecting the blonde Wiccan he’d flirted with that morning, but the discovery that this is the wrong woman doesn’t faze him. After the night they shared, he figures Signe might be worth getting to know on a deeper level. Mortified, Signe gives him a friend’s name when he asks for hers and tries to leave as soon as possible. She doesn’t expect him to come to New York and manage to track her down. She soon learns that James would be all too easy to fall in love with. But is what he’s feeling genuine, or caused by the spell?
The book is part of The Wrong Bed miniseries, so naturally it has to go so through some convoluted steps to get the main characters between the sheets early on. Fortunately, the author’s writing is engaging enough to make the convolutions bearable. No doubt it sounds very silly in the description above, though in the author’s hands it goes by agreeably enough. I also wasn’t all that impressed with the opening few pages, where Signe and her friends come across as stereotypical New York wannabe hipsters. Characters comparing themselves to the women from Sex and the City is never a good sign and merely says they’re trying way too hard to be modern and cool. Luckily, that doesn’t last too long either, and the characters prove to be good friends for Signe.
The first few chapters go down easily, but after those initial sections the story really starts to click. This is the kind of book that snuck up on me and I was surprised to realize just how much I was liking it. The best part is the middle, which focuses solely on James and Signe spending time together. They’re both very likable people and nicely quirky too. James is a park ranger/aspiring mystery writer. Signe could have come across as a dingbat, but the longer the book goes on, the more relatable and sympathetic she becomes. Their relationship has a great deal of charm and effortless chemistry. It’s a sweet romance, and some of the love scenes verge on a Hot rating.
Even once other characters begin to enter the story and the plot kicks in again, it’s still a good read. There are good moments all the way up to the end. Signe sticks up for herself in a dinner scene that is nicely done and shows she has a backbone, then finds herself in an embarrassing comic moment later on. A possible misunderstanding crops up, only to thankfully be averted very quickly. Finally, the book ends with an effectively romantic scene that brings the love story to a good close.
On another note, there’s a secret regarding James’s identity that isn’t revealed until more than halfway into the book, though some helpful Harlequin copywriter decided to splash it all over the back cover to kill the surprise. Wasn’t that considerate? Who needs surprises anyway?
Bedspell is still a strong romance with charming characters and a good dose of steam. Jule McBride casts an effective spell, making for a good read.