The Snow Bride
It’s not often that I come across a romance novel in which the hero and heroine don’t spend enough time together – alone – in the book. Regrettably, The Snow Bride is one of those books.
Jenna Campbell is a practical woman who just so happens to be in love with her boss. After six years on the job she’s carved out a very stable environment for herself, but then she meets a man in a chat room and decides to be with him in Alaska. Jenna is tired of her safe existence, and, at thirty, realizes she doesn’t have a chance with her boss, so why not live a little? She quits her job, packs up her apartment and goes off to Alaska to meet her destiny, Dalton Gray, in hopes of becoming a winter bride. Instead, she meets Reid Jamison.
Reid Jamison leads a very solitary life in Snowbound, Alaska, works for the Alaskan Pipeline, and is satisfied with his life, or so he thinks. Then he meets Jenna. Realizing he cannot in good conscience leave a woman stranded at the airport, he offers to fly her to meet her friend. When he discovers that Jenna’s friend is the infamous Dalton Grey, he tries to warn her off. When she refuses to listen, Reid kidnaps her to save her from the same mistake his sister made. He takes her to Snowbound to meet his sister, but she’s not there. A blizzard forces them to stay in his cabin until the weather improves.
Jenna is furious at Reid for getting her stranded and wants to leave more than anything. After a few days in his company, she realizes he is not so bad after all, and when the blizzard is over, she is not sure she wants to leave. She feels a connection with Reid and likes the town and its inhabitants. But before she can decide what to do next, her mother, former boss, and Dalton all come looking – and find her.
When Jenna and Reid were alone in his cabin, this book worked fine. The two had meaningful adult conversation and the connection between the two was palpable. Unfortunately, once the secondary characters arrive, Reid and Jenna no longer spent enough time together for their romance to develop. My annoyance at these interlopers grew to such an extent that I just wanted them all to go away so that Reid and Jenna could figure out what was going on between them. If they had a week or more snowed in together without these other people, they could have seen how great they were for one other. Instead, as soon as the snow stopped falling Jenna wanted to meet up with Dalton.
This brings up another major flaw in this relatively short book – too many men. It was enough to have Dalton and Reid vying for Jenna’s love, but Macomber also throws in the ex-boss, who finally discovers that after six years of having Jenna to himself as his personal assistant, he cannot run his multi-million dollar corporation without her by his side. When it rains, it pours. After years with no romance, suddenly three men are hot for her, but Reid isn’t nearly as assertive as the other two. Instead he broods and says nothing. There’s surely a time and a place for a strong but taciturn hero, but a pivotal scene on the tarmac near the end was less exciting than frustrating.
The Snow Bride features, with the exception of Dalton, nice people. The town is nice, its inhabitants are nice – even the ex-boss is nice – but the suspension of disbelief required for this book is too high, and none of these nice characters are fleshed out beyond the assigning of basic labels (over-protective mother, saccharinely sweet sister, nutty old man). Snowbound, Alaska and those who live and visit are more cardboard than real – think of the building facades you see on a Hollywood movie set and you’ve got Snowbound. I’ve come to expect far more from Macomber and was sadly disappointed by this one.