The Bridal Season
My Dearest Enemy and All Through the Night are two of my keeper books, both by Connie Brockway but very different from each other in style. The Bridal Season is Ms. Brockway’s latest, and although not a keeper for me, it did have characters that I just couldn’t stop reading about.
Letty Potts is escaping her life. She’s tired of aiding her partner, Nick Sparkle, in cheating people in con after con, and now that he’s managed to have her blacklisted so she can’t get honest work as a singer, she finds that her only way out is to take another woman’s train ticket. Lady Agatha Whyte, wedding planner extraordinaire, has the assignment of going to Little Bidewell to make a soon-to-be-bride acceptable to her soon-to-be-in-laws. But Lady Agatha is in love herself, and her last minute departure leaves Letty with the opportunity to pose as Agatha, take what she can to rebuild her life, and leave before anyone is the wiser.
Of course, it doesn’t go as easily as that. Letty, try as she might, can’t help but fall in love, not only with Sir Elliot March, local man of law and much beloved by the townspeople, but with the people of Little Bidewell themselves, particularly the bride’s family, the Bigglesworths. In her desire to present Angela Bigglesworth as a suitable bride to the haughty society family she’s about to join, Eglantyne Bigglesworth is putting her hopes in Lady Agatha’s considerable expertise, and as Letty puts off her departure, she gets more and more involved in Eglantyne’s life, and in Angela’s romantic entanglements. Letty, confident, stylish, and used to the drama of theater sets and good at reading people, could not be a more suitable event planner for the insecure, but kind-hearted, Bigglesworths.
Elliot is a war hero who has never truly loved before, although he does have a romantic past in the form of Catherine Bunting, the woman who ended up marrying his friend Paul, and whose jealousy of Agatha/Letty surfaces here and there. For all his familiarity, however, Elliot is a charming character, and it is his goodness itself and the rewards that are coming to him for leading a decent life that lead Letty to think that an association with her would be his downfall. His coolness and seriousness are a fine contrast to the vivacious, witty Letty, and it’s nice to see how people in the town want to see him happy.
There are priceless scenes in The Bridal Season, including a game of croquet, where Letty faces off not only with Catherine Bunting, but with Elliot as well, albeit in a different way. There are aspects of the plot that seemed a little predictable, such as Letty’s luck in not being found out, the appearance of a certain character, and some of the final scenes. But it’s all in keeping with the tone of the book, which is fairytale-ish. When all is said and done, Elliot and Letty were characters that had me, like the people of Little Bidewell, wanting to see them happy together. This is a charming and sweet book.