The Marriage Merger Jennifer Probst.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I’d read and enjoyed The Marriage Trap, one of the sister books to this one so was pleased to get the chance to review this novel. Jennifer writes romance that has a thorough back story, and that’s what I enjoy. Not just a romance, but a tale that I can get lost in for a few hours.
Mama Conte is a formidable character, and I recalled her vividly from the Marriage Trap. Typical Italian Mama where family is all important, her children have been brought up with respect for their parents, and Mama uses that to try to get their lives sorted, she thinks she knows what best for them. As it happens she does, but her interference creates some heartbreak before the happy endings, and that’s not what she intended. Julietta is a great lady, tough and striving for success she feels she’s always had to prove herself in the family business she runs. Business is still considered a Mans’ World and in Italy that’s a certainty, so she’s had to fight off those who think as a woman she can’t command respect, and her long hours and hard work have left little time for a social life. The few boyfriends she’s had haven’t been a success and she’s resigned herself to concentrating on her career. Sawyer, friend of the family, wants her bakery to be exclusive in his new luxury hotel chain. Its a great move, and she considers it carefully, wanting the deal but not wanting to relinquish any control. She’s surprised by how she feels when she sees him, not expecting any man to have the effect of making her lose concentration, and feel so drawn to him. Sawyer is stunned by how attracted to her he is, but like her he isn’t in the market for a relationship either. Never the less he can’t seem to get her off his mind, and comes up with a very unusual bargain…..
There are side characters too, the wonderfully individual protégée of Sawyer, the reformed thief Wolfe. He deserves a book of his own some time! Then there’s the rest of the extended family, we meet them later in the book, but they’re always in contact by phone and email throughout the tale.
The sex scenes, wow- sizzlingly hot, erotic and steamy without and of the cringe factor some sex scenes have. Just well written, interesting and sensual interaction between the two. That Sawyer certainly knows his stuff in the bedroom, and has Julietta melting into a pile of goo much to her surprise. The scenes fitted perfectly within the story, not those sort that have just been added to create some spice, but very well written ones that belong and fit in the novel as an essential part of the story. I do love my romances to have some heat and Jennifer has created plenty of that here.
The only odd part I wondered about is that first were told that Sawyer was helped initially by Mama Conte, when he’d just been sacked from his job and was in Italy. She offered him help when she had no idea who he was, and that’s why he considers himself in her debt then later in the novel his story runs differently in that a hotel janitor was his rescuer and left him a great deal of money. Edit: I went back and read the relevant sections again and the two seem to be connected, but its not really clear the way Sawyer talks/remembers about them. My error, but this part could have been clearer to the reader to avoid the confusion.
Its a great story and a worthy addition to the collection of books about the family and friends. Its one that’s got enough story and interest to bear re reading so its going in my keepers file. Its priced at £4.41 for 320 pages so well within my VFM range and especially when the re read factor is taken into account.
Stars: a good solid four stars, very enjoyable way of losing myself in a well written romance for a couple of hours.