HIS BROTHER’S BRIDE-TO-BE
by Patricia Kay
Reviewed by Pat O’Dea-Rosen
The title tips the reader to the main conflict in this story, but there’s plenty more roiling within. In the novel-writing classes she teaches, Pat Kay urges students to make conflict compelling. With HIS BROTHER’S
BRIDE-TO-BE, she shows how.
When well-off widower Elliott Lawrence introduces his fiancé, Jill Emerson, and her son, Jordan, to his family and friends, he expects them to be as taken with her as he is. Instead, most count the twenty-seven years
separating Elliott’s age from Jill’s and assume she’ll take him for all he’s worth.
Stephen Wells knows different. He fell for J.J. Emerson more than a decade earlier during spring break on Padre Island. Her aunt’s sudden illness, a roommate who never explained why J.J. left the island, and Stephen’s fear that J.J. didn’t return his love kept him from searching for her. But he’s never forgotten her and doesn’t doubt her integrity.
Unfortunately, Stephen’s not in a position to vouch for Jill. On paper, he’s Elliott’s half brother. In fact, Elliott and his late wife took him in as a young boy and raised him. The groom–to-be is more than a sibling. He’s Stephen’s father figure, mentor, and best friend. Seeing Jill awakens Stephen’s dormant feelings for her. For Jill, meeting Stephen triggers both love and terror. The love part’s no surprise; she’s never forgotten Steve, her first love. The terror is due to the fact Jordan is Stephen’s son.
In Pat’s novel-writing classes, she reminds students that readers want and need an emotional connection
with a story’s characters. To that end, she shows us Jill’s sense of honor. Jill was never tempted by wealth, so why did she get engaged to a much older man? Her son desperately wants a daddy and fell in love with Elliott first.
Stephen’s sense of honor matches Jill’s. As they acknowledge long-buried feelings, their concern isn’t for themselves but for those they will hurt and confuse.
In HIS BROTHER’S-BRIDE-TO-BE, the characters struggle for their happy ending. For readers, that struggle is stressful but oh-so-satisfying.