Friday, January 21, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

Save the Date
Jenny B. Jones

Page Count: 320
Release Date: 1 February, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Complimentary copy provided by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year with the most unlikely bride and groom.

Save the date... and say your prayers.

When the funding for Lucy's non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir to Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy's non-profit organization.

Both Lucy and Alex have something the other desperately wants.

Alex has it all... except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancée in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart—and her future—on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams... and maybe even a date.
What Stephanie Thought: Who said Christian fiction had to be boring? Certainly not Jenny B. Jones. Her acclaimed novels may not contain the spice most romance novels nowadays do, and yet Save the Date is probably now one of my favorite books ever.

The initial plot is a little stale: handsome rich man, beautiful lower-class girl. The two make a contract to "marry", only to fall in love with each other en route. Basically the storyline for any Harlequin Presents book.

But what separates Jones's writing from trashy romance novels (aside from the obvious—the sex) is how she unbinds the cliché, making Save the Date nothing like I expected it to be.

Growing up and going to high school with Charleston's toniest elite doesn't sound too bad. That is, if you aren't Lucy, whose mother cleaned the houses of her classmates. Taunted and scarred from the memories of not fitting in, not being one of them in high school, Lucy Wiltshire is an independent woman. She doesn't need a husband (because fittingly, her boyfriend dumped her on the day she thought he would propose), and she doesn't need rich friends—her true friends stick with her and love her no matter what her socioeconomic status. What she does need, is for her charity organization, Saving Grace, which helps house and assist homeless girls and young women by giving them shelter and a second chance, to keep its head above the water. But without enough funding, that doesn't seem very likely. For the first time ever, Lucy is forced to admit her weakness, finding refuge within none other than the son of her (former) biggest benefactor: Alex Sinclair.

It all makes sense for Alex. When he is seen with Lucy one platonic night, the paparazzi goes crazy, and the polls top the charts. If he creates a little relationship, nothing harmless, just a make-believe story that he and Lucy are to wed soon, wouldn't that help his numbers drastically? Of course.

And it does. Until news bearing the tragedy of his missing twin brother Will, the good one, the kind one, the one everyone loved, strikes. Along with the struggle Lucy is going through to keep Saving Grace alive, both she and Alex realize that maybe life can't be so perfectly planned—at least not by deceit

I loved Lucy and Alex's journey to find their true selves because of how real, how heartwarming, and how giggle-out-loud-on-the-bus (note to self: do NOT read on the bus or else fellow passengers will stare at you bizarrely) funny it was.

What I love most though, is the characters. Lucy is delightfully charming and self-sufficient. She's the kind of woman I want grow up to be, with the snappy comebacks and headstrong ambitions, and all. Alex... don't get me started. If there was such thing as Mr. Perfect, it would be him. Sure, he's a little confident, but that's so entirely sexy. No one wants to date a wimp. Julian is the adorable gay guy friend every girl needs. And Clare, the presumed antagonist aka snooty rich woman who I started off hating for the aloofness and malice she presented towards Lucy, is just the funniest character ever. A 70-something year old woman SPOILER (who is Lucy's grandma!!) who gets fussy about losing a round of Guitar Hero and who has only just discovered the magic of Mac&Cheese; too cute. Too funny.

My final verdict? You MUST get to reading this book as soon as you can. Jones has such a brilliant way of crafting words to make them interesting, but not over-the-top flowery.

You'll certainly enjoy Alex and Lucy's hilarious banter throughout the novel, as well as the moving values Jones emphasizes, including family, love, and friendship. You won't want to put this one down, and you'll read it cover to cover within a matter of hours, making you wish in the end, you yourself, were in Lucy's shoes.

Stephanie Loves: "Closing her eyes, Lucy cursed her stupidity. She adored a man who would never love her back. One who had an agenda that didn't include a wife and family. 'Is something wrong?' Yes, she thought miserably as Alex pulled her close. Something was wrong. She had gone and fallen in love with her fiancé."
Radical Rating:
 10 hearts: I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥