The Wedding Bait
Grade : B+

I grabbed Adele Buck’s The Wedding Bait because it features protagonists who are over forty, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Tove Nilsen’s daughter Emily is getting married, and Tove’s dreadful ex-husband Anthony, Emily’s absentee father, has shocked them both by RSVPing yes - both for him and for wife #6, a model just five years older than Emily. Tove resists her friend’s suggestion that she attend with Patrick Mercer, a retired former elite escort. But when Anthony neglects to book a room at the wedding site and condescendingly suggests Tove give him hers (obviously she won’t need a king sized bed!), Tove snaps that she is in fact attending with a date, and calls Patrick.

Patrick Mercer retired ten years earlier after a successful career as a highly-paid escort and currently works as a consultant to charities because, well, charming rich people is his thing. Now fifty-five, Patrick agrees to come out of retirement for Tove (who is fifty-two). Tove is a political image consultant, and in addition to their immediate attraction, the two find they have similar takes on the world. They laugh as much as they lust, and they openly discuss Tove’s concerns about acting on their attraction when Patrick is, to her, an employee. Patrick stands up for Tove with her ex, but also empowers Tove to stand up for herself and also for Emily and her fiancée Hayley. (I appreciated that Emily’s future in-laws are allowed to be interesting and protective figures for both of the brides - sometimes authors weight making their current protagonists look good over making the overall dynamics in a family healthy and balanced).

This is a good story for a novella, but I would have liked the book to give the protagonists a little more time together - not in word count, but in terms of the duration of their relationship in the story. Maybe Tove and Patrick could have FaceTimed or emailed in the time leading up to the wedding to get to know each other better. I also felt that Tove’s sassy South Asian coworker and bestie Parvati served a stock role. Relying on Parvati to suggest to Tove that she hire Patrick feels like a double standard. It’s okay for Patrick to live as a sex worker, but not for Tove to even think of such a thing independently?

If you’re looking for a quick, sexy and fun read featuring an older couple, I can definitely recommend this novella. I’ll certainly look for more from Adele Buck.

Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : February 5, 2023

Publication Date: 01/2022

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Caroline Russomanno

I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.

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