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Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus

Reviewed by Lori Fox

"...absolutely gripping if you're a fan of romance, and Dacus' characters are endearing."

Wedding planner Anne Hawthorne has had a stormy past. She's suffered rejection and loss and is more than happy to live in the safe walls of family and work. Out of her dreams and into her office walks a man with everything she wants; strong faith, a great physique, and a British accent. The only problem is, he's engaged.

George Laurence was brought up to be professional at all times, a quality that is appreciated by his employer. Locked into a persona by promises, contracts, and even the threat of loosing his work visa, he's unable to be completely honest when he meets the woman of his dreams. He's certainly got enough reasons to hide his true identity from her, but how is he supposed to win Anne's heart when she thinks he's the groom-to-be?

Stand-in Groom is Kaye Dacus' first novel. The story is absolutely gripping if you're a fan of romance, and Dacus' characters are endearing. Although I can't say that George reminds me of any Englishman that I know, he is the stereotypical British butler when performing his duties. And perhaps that was the point, but he's very real, and fairly adorable when he's alone with Anne and her family.

Anne is as much counselor, mother, and sister to the brides-to-be as she is an event coordinator. She has serious issues, and yet those issues are part of what make her so caring and such a control freak (which is actually a good thing as a wedding planner).

Since the writing is so professional, I hate to nit-pick. But I feel that I have to point out the one aggravating thing about Stand-in Groom. Dacus avoids the dreaded info-dump by scattering information throughout the book. The problem is that even though it's handled well, the information doesn't flow with either the dialogue or the narrative. Most of the mini-info-dump information was completely unnecessary to the story. I'm not saying that it wasn't important to the characters, but it wasn't essential to someone from the outside looking in. She still handled it better than many beginning writers, and it won't keep me from buying the second book in the series, Menu for Romance, but it is a bit jarring when you're in the flow of a good story.

Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.