It's a Guy Thing

What Phoebe Wants

 
Marriage On Her Mind
by Cindi Myers
(Harl. Amer. #1182, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-75186-9
***
Here is an enjoyable tale about a woman who finally stands up for herself and realizes that she has choices in life and that she can make them. Marriage On Her Mind is almost a throwback to the Regency world where women had no choice. Because it is set in modern times, it is a little challenging to connect with the main character at first. But once the reader does that, the tale moves nicely and is one that will please.

Casey Jernigan is embroiled in Chicago society. Her mother is seeking a rich, powerful man for her (much like Regency era mamas); her father is the assistant to the Mayor and stays pretty much in the background of her life, hoping she will not do anything to destroy his political ambitions (much like many high ranking Lords) and she is engaged to someone handpicked for her whom she does not love. Paul is an up and coming lawyer who is looking for a woman to help him advance his career.

We first meet Casey as she is moving to Crested Butte, Colorado. Just weeks before, she literally left Paul at the altar (well, in the room off the vestibule) with a church full of people, because she could not marry someone she did not love and enter into a life she did not want. Her only previous rebellion had been to pick the wedding dress she wanted. That dress is currently in the back seat of her car along with most of her worldly possessions. Her parents think she is suffering from a mental illness and Paul just thinks she is crazy.

Her high profile marketing job behind her now, Casey has agreed to work at the local Chamber of Commerce, helping to plan the local festivals and tourist gathering events this little town in the Rockies needs to keep it going. She has rented an apartment above a ski-shop, sight unseen, and is convinced that she will find herself here.

The first thing she does is meet her new landlord, gorgeous Max Overbridge, and settle into her new home. Casey makes friends, something she didnít really have in Chicago. And the attraction she feels for Max is much more than she ever had in her two years with Paul. But Max doesnít want permanency and Casey isnít sure what she wants.

Once Casey establishes herself as a person and not a robot doing whatever her mother wanted, she is a fun character to get to know. Max has his little peccadilloes, but he too is a character that engages the reader from the beginning. In fact, he and his friends are the highlight. His boyish fun-loving nature and lack of pretension are a few of the things that made me love him. There wasnít much new to the plot Ė after all, when Casey had never really done anything, everything she did seemed new. That works at times in Regencies, but this is 2007 and she is almost 30 years old. The reader really needs to work to get past this part of her character.

Beyond that, this is pure romance. Marriage On Her Mind is pleasant, but it breaks no new ground. The small town is idyllic, although everyone has things they deal with. The characters are all friendly and embrace Casey as if they have known her for years. It was this idealism and the familiarity of the town that actually kept the tale at three hearts. Max deserved more.

--Shirley Lyons


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