Ah, the Big Misunderstanding. It’s comforting to see it’s still alive and well
in the romance genre. Ok, maybe it’s not that good at thing but that’s about
all there is to the conflict in Wedding of the Century.
Annette Trevetti is a poor, orphaned girl whose only family is her older
brother Max. So as one can imagine, her forthcoming marriage to Steven
Corbett, of the rich and powerful Corbett family, is quite the shocker.
Even more shocking is when Steve’s obviously pregnant ex-girlfriend Lily shows
up at their wedding just as Annette and Steven are about to speak their vows.
Unhappy with Steve’s lack of response to this surprise, Annette walks out and
never looks back.
Flash forward seven years. Annette is a successful businesswoman and Steve is
a single father of little Nell. Annette returns to their small Wisconsin town
of Tobias to help her brother Max who has broken his wrist in an accident.
Annette plans to stay only until Max is healed, then leave Steve and Tobias
behind once again, this time forever.
Of course that’s not how things work out. Steve has never really gotten over
Annette, and is determined to make her talk to him about what happened. Annette
is just as determined not to. This goes on for much of the book, mostly
because if they did talk, the only conflict between them would be solved and
end of story.
It’s not as if the conflict is that great a secret anyway. Anyone who carefully
reads Steve’s response to Annette’s questions at their aborted wedding will
guess what the big shocker is in an instant.
The rest of the book involves a subplot with the romance novel staple, the
lovable odd duck, in this case Miss Trudi. Miss Trudi is an eccentric shirttail
relative of Steve who is in danger of losing her home. In reality, Miss Trudi’s
job is to play matchmaker and provide a place for Annette to get to know
Steve’s little girl. The remainder of the secondary characters are pleasant
enough, with the exception of Steve’s mother Lana. She is a manipulative snob
straight from the manipulative snobbish mother pool. If she were a man she’d be
twirling her thin mustache as she plots.
The major problem with relying on a misunderstanding to create conflict is that
it hurts credibility. If Annette and Steve were so in love, why couldn’t they
work it out? Why didn’t they believe in one another? This is explained as
partially due to Annette’s wanting someone to take care of her all the time and
Steve’s "Corbett" trait of not wanting to make waves. While this explanation
makes sense, it would have been more satisfying if we’d actually seen these
traits in the characters themselves rather than being told them by the author.
I also found it difficult to believe that Annette could have become so
successful so quickly. Out of the seven years she’d been gone, she had to spend
at least two graduating from college. So that leaves five years to build a
company out of nothing and then have it be worth so much that selling it will
leave her set for life financially and never having to work again. A small nit,
I realize, but it bothered me throughout the story.
Wedding of the Century is an average romance that suffers from a
misunderstanding based conflict.