Marry Me, Maddie
Marry Me, Maddie starts out similarly to the movie Hope Floats: Maddie Summers hoodwinks her procrastinating fiance onto a local talk show to give him the choice of marrying her on the spot or saying goodbye. Uptight Jeff declines the impromptu ceremony, and after recovering from the embarrassment, Maddie decides to focus on her dreams of becoming an interior decorator. She also plans to kick up her heels up with some of Savannah’s eligible bachelors.
But the men in her life aren’t having it. Maddie is blessed (or cursed) with two protective older brothers, Reid and Lance, and their friend and business partner Chase Holloway. These three guys see her as a innocent child and want to keep it that way, even trying to reunite Jeff and Maddie. Chase, who is like a honorary member of the family, agrees to keep an eye on Maddie. Unlike her brothers, Chase sees the sexy side of her and fights the proverbial angel and devil on his shoulders: the side that is loyal to the Summers family and the side that lusts for Maddie.
I liked the way Maddie was portrayed. She doesn’t whine, she’s not uptight, and she’s ambitious without being bitchy. I could identify with her realization that she had outgrown her relationship with Jeff. She is a little starry-eyed about getting together with Chase, not seeming to forsee the possible tensions that could arise. Chase, of course, more then makes up for her lack of concern. As a character, Chase is nothing we haven’t see before: a masculine, emotionally unavailable, misunderstood bad boy made good. I didn’t buy it when he thought that Maddie would find him beneath her because of his misspent youth. After all the time they’ve spent together, he should know better. All in all, though, they made a good couple, genuinely liking each other, and having acommon history, interests and goals.
There are some clever moments in the book, as when Maddie stumbles into the lair of a smooth operator who in reality is a toupee-wearing pervert. Another comes when Chase puts his back out during an ambitious sexual session with Maddie. Other authors could take a tip that imperfect sex can work in a romance novel. The book is heavily padded with various sub-plots that initially piqued my interest but quickly ran out of steam. There’s nothing wrong in general in writing a subplot involving parents’ secret pasts or secondary romances between a heroine’s brother and a heroine’s friend, but these story lines failed to hold my attention. Another thing that nagged at me were Lance and Reid. I’ve never had older brothers but I found it hard to believe they would treat Maddie’s virtue like it was a matter of life and death in this day and age.
Marry Me, Maddie has some bright spots but it never rises above mediocrity. The book may have worked better if it were shorter or if the plot were meatier. It’s not a bad choice if you’re looking for strictly light and breezy fare, but you could probably do better.