This book is set prior to “Bridal Favors“, which I reviewed recently and even though they are tied by the same wedding planning company there is no mention of the characters in that book. Here we meet Letty Potts, a music hall performer and sometimes con artist, who has escaped her ex-boyfriend/partner Nick Sparkle after he burnt down the rooming house she was staying at. Arriving at the train station in her only gown, and clutching her faithful little dog Fagin, she witnesses the elopement of Lady Agatha Whyte, owner of Whyte Wedding Celebrations. In her excitement to elope, Lady Agatha abandons her train ticket to Little Bidewell, the location of her next wedding assignment and Letty jumps at the chance to escape London with the ticket. Her only thought is to get away, but as soon as she steps off the train, she is met by the Bigglesworth family and they assume she really is Lady Agatha.
Letty promptly decides that she may as well play along with the deception for awhile, thinking that it wasn’t hurting anyone and after all, Lady Agatha had left the Bigglesworth family in the lurch. Drawing on her skills as a performer, she immerses herself into the role to plan the wedding of the season. It doesn’t take long before everyone in the family is charmed by Letty, and she is surprised at how easily they accept her and how much she enjoys helping them. Eglantyne Bigglesworth is determined that her niece Angela will fit in with the high society family she is marrying into and expects Letty to guide them in that regard and the longer Letty stays on, the more embroiled she becomes in the family’s entanglements.
Elliot March is the local magistrate, and he’s everything a romance hero should be – he’s charming, handsome, intelligent, honorable and very eligible. He is a war hero in line to be given a barony by the queen, and has never found the right woman to give his heart to. He did have a brief romance with Catherine Bunting, but she married his friend Paul instead. Letty is unlike any other woman he’s known, and he’s captivated by her, though of course thinking she’s Agatha. The Bigglesworths, along with the Elliot’s father, and rest of their servants, sense the growing attraction between the pair and does their best to encourage the romance.
Much like “Bridal Favors”, this book is quite light and fairytale-ish. There’s a croquet match that is highly entertaining, and it reminded me of the Bridgerton Pall Mall games, throwing Elliot and Letty together against Catherine, who has some residual ardor for Elliot. In fact, she is downright jealous of Letty and does her best to mean girl Letty at every turn. The charade begins to fall apart, of course, and Letty is determined that she’s not the lady that Elliot needs in his life. Someone from her past makes an unexpected appearance and the whole thing implodes just before the big wedding.
Overall, it was a quick read and I enjoyed Ms. Brockway’s comedic touch, though I think “Bridal Favors” was a better book. I was a little curious at the end how the wedding agency ended up with Evelyn in the next book, but that wasn’t really explained. I think an epilogue might have been a good idea to tie up some of the loose ends. Still, if you’re looking for something light either one of these is a good choice.