It's been a while since my last review, so bear with me ^_^;
Marriage by Design by Lynn Michaels
published by Ballantine Books (Random House) in July 2006
There’s only so much taffeta and toile a girl can take.
Passionate, talented, and noticeably stunning, Mia Savard is the top designer at her father’s thriving bridal design company. But her life has hit a bit of a snag. Thirty, recently dumped, and suddenly single, Mia has grown weary of white lace and craves couture. But when Mia’s most spectacular creation is leaked to the competition, the silk hits the fan. Someone inside Savard Creations is trading with the enemy. In the world of fashion, that means war.
Enter private investigator Joe Kerr, the exceedingly handsome ex-cop hired to nab the clever mole. Stalking dangerous territory–where jittery brides, hysterical mothers, and deadline-challenged designers clash in clouds of gossamer and gossip–Joe is torn between suspecting Mia and seducing her. Amid the treachery, hijinks, and flirtations galore, it seems that for Mia, romance just might be tailor-made.
Genre: contemporary romance
The Story: It is pretty much as described in the blurb, so I won't go over it again :)
My Opinion: This was really an entertaining read and I enjoyed it very much :) It wasn't so much the story or the characters, but the style. I thought it was different from most contemporary romance on the market at the moment and found it refreshing. Marriage by Design is really a melange of chick-lit, contemporary romance with a dash of romantic suspense well done :)
The setting of the book is quite interesting. Basically, Mia is a designer in Savard Creations which specialized in bridal gown. The president of the company is her father, very prone to drama and with a volatile temper, and everyone in Mia's family except her mother work in Savard Creations in different positions. I enjoyed the family dynamics and antics - it was funny and made me laugh out loud a couple of times... and it wasn't too much. Sometimes, this type of families just high-jacked the storyline, but not in this case.
I liked Mia and Joe's characters. They felt real to me. Mia is 30 years old and the youngest sibling in her family. There are many over-powering characters in her family and I think that she's starting to fly. It was interesting to see her starting to stand up to her father... I don't want readers to think that she is weak, because she is not. However, I think that in the past, she agreed with her father or it was easier to follow his lead... However, now, Mia is really growing into her own woman and I have fun accompanying her. As for Joe, he's a great guy. He was engaged several years ago, but unfortunately, she died from cancer... leaving a 15 years old daughter behind whom Joe adopted. Seriously, how many man would have done so? He was also a cop, but a bad encounter with a gun made him decided to change his line of work and he now owns a successful detective office. Joe is a good guy with quiet strength. He isn't alpha or beta... LOL, perhaps I should describe him as omega? I enjoyed Mia and Joe's relationship and connection. I thought they had a lot of chemistry, although I would not have minded if the story focused on their relationship a little bit more. Although they didn't fall in bed on the first night, I do think their relationship develop a little too quickly.
There are some very interesting secondary characters; however, there were too many ^_^; Also, at times, I felt that there were some unnecessary scenes - especially the ones involving Joe's detective office. Few things could have been weeded out without affecting the storyline. Also, one of my biggest complaint is about the intrigue - who did it. I would have liked a little more justification/explanation about the motive. Who did it didn't really surprised me, but when that person said that Mia owned her. That didn't really make much sense to me. I thought that was a weakness.
Overall, I think Ms Michaels did a good job balancing the romance, the intrigue and the characters' story. It could have focused a little more on Joe and Mia, but still, it was a fun book :) I really did like Ms Michaels writing style and so, I'm going to try to get her backlist :) It seems that lately, I like what is different. I like the books to be a little more passive in the narration than having a bold voice with one event happening after one another. In the end, Marriage by Design is just a fun and relax book :)
My Grade: B