This is the first Lauren Layne book I’ve ever read but it definitely won’t be my last. What a great start to a new series. To Have and To Hold is the first book in Layne’s The Wedding Belles series. Brooke Baldwin has just moved to New York to start a new job as a wedding planner for the Belles. She is very glad to be out of California, where she had been a rising star in the wedding planning industry. Unfortunately, her own wedding turned into a terrible fiasco when her fiance was arrested at the altar. Brooke is desperate for a fresh start and is eager to make her mark in the New York wedding scene. Her first client is hotel heiress Maya Tyler. Unfortunately, with Maya comes her older brother, Simon Tyler, one of the wealthiest men in New York. And one of the coldest and most annoying in Brooke’s mind.
BUT OF COURSE SIMON IS NOT THAT BAD! He truly is not. He is super protective of his younger sister since she is the only family he has left. And Simon has a bad feeling about Maya’s fiance, Neil. For good reason as readers find out. But truly, the best part of this story for me is Brooke and Simon’s relationship. It starts off as quite antagonistic because Simon does not come off as the greatest of guys at first. He is very reserved and seems a bit cold and stand-offish. But fear not, he is really wonderful as Brooke discovers much to her chagrin. She does not want to fall for any man right now. She is still hurting from her own failed wedding (though she wants to pretend otherwise). The chemistry between Simon and Brooke is very strong however and as most romance readers know, chemistry can’t be denied for too long.
Simon is a complicated man. He wants to protect and care for all the people in his life and unfortunately in doing that, he makes some bad mistakes. He is not always an easy character to like but, if you’re anything like me, he may just be a character you fall for very hard. I like men who are a bit reserved and taciturn and Simon definitely fits that bill. But there is a lot of heart beneath his cold front and he is just waiting for the right woman to show it to.
Brooke is fabulous too. I really liked how dedicated she was to her job. Her career is very important to her and she treats it that way. I also liked the inside look at the wedding planning industry. Lauren Layne did a great job of making it interesting and fit into the story in a natural way.
Brooke and Simon’s relationship is not a smooth ride but it fits their characters. There is depth and strength to each of them as they navigate their growing feelings for each other. I was very happy to see them get their happy-ever-after. And I cannot wait for book two in the series! It will be a lot of fun to read about Heather, another employee at Wedding Belles.
Tagged: Lauren Layne