Dell, 2002 (2002)
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Reviewed by Theresa Ichino
arnegie Kincaid is a classic example of a small business owner: she works long hours and goes to considerable efforts to keep her struggling business afloat. Her business is romance, since Carnegie is a wedding planner.
Made in Heaven
has just had a major stroke of luck, for Carnegie has been hired by Seattle's wealthy and prominent Parry family. She ignores her accountant partner's warnings that Douglas Parry's legal woes may jinx the wedding.
owever, a series of ominous events indicate that Nickie and Ray's wedding may indeed be jinxed. First a suspicious auto accident, when Nickie's cherished car is taken without her permission by a young cousin, who dies in her stead. This is followed by an attack on Carnegie (wearing Nickie's jacket) - except that the only witnesses swear that Carnegie simply fell and hit her head. A little old lady who might have seen something incriminating is killed in a hit and run.
arnegie stubbornly refuses to abandon the young couple, to whom she has taken a liking; but she is forced to retire when
Made in Heaven
is accused of fraud. Concerned for Nickie's safety, Carnegie attends the wedding at the bride's insistence, braving the disapproval of Nickie's parents. The bride is kidnapped from her own wedding - a note promises torture and death if the kidnappers' demands are not met. Carnegie's loyalty to her friend leads her into a dangerous web of deceit as she searches for the young woman and the truth behind her kidnapping.
is a well-spun tale of romance and intrigue. Author Donnelly keeps up a brisk pace, with a smart and compassionate heroine whose loyalty overrides caution. The characters are well-fleshed and interesting: Carnegie's best friend Lily, irrepressible reporter Aaron Gold, and the colleagues who help to make her weddings successful. The self-deprecating protagonist deserves to win; but in time-honoured fictional tradition, the author does not make her victory easy. Even the ending is not happily-ever-after for Carnegie - good news for readers who will look forward to another installment of her adventures.
is a nice mix of romance, suspense, and humour. It is tempting to compare it to a work by Elizabeth Peters, although Donnelly has her own voice and style. However, like Peters, Donnelly offers a solid read, lively and entertaining, with a spunky, independent heroine who refuses to be intimidated despite the forces ranged against her. Apparently this is a first novel, but the author writes with assurance and ease. She already has a sequel ready (
Died to Match
), which makes possible another visit with the engaging Carnegie and her friends.
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