Can a runaway bride stop running?
Elle Jamieson is an unusually private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But when she’s made redundant, with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to a new life in sunny Malta.
Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less from others. He’s furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.
Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal ended everything they had. But then an unexpected phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s hidden past when it finally comes to light?
Back in the early 70s, well before I acquired the taste (or means to pay for) far flung exotic places, I used to holiday in Malta and Gozo. So this book was quite perfect for me – a chance to revisit one of my favourite places, and the writing of one of my favourite authors, Sue Moorcroft. When I reviewed Is This Love? last year, I mentioned the depth and complexity she brings to her characters: they always have real issues, but they never detract from the “feel good” nature of her books. She’s done it again – and ever so well – with this lovely book.
The story’s quite excellent – Elle and Lucas (who used to be a couple) find themselves sharing a boat while working in Malta. Elle has left her well-paid IT job, and is volunteering at a drop-in centre for young people, working as hired help for Loz and Davie on their floating gin palace in the afternoons. Lucas is taking a break from the Californian wineries where he now lives, and is working as a divemaster. The main thread of the story is – of course – all about Lucas and Elle, but the supporting characters are excellent. Loz is a joy, unashamedly brash, nosy and meddlesome: and your heart will ache over young Carmelo. Oscar at the drop-in centre, with his unsavoury interests and persistent attentions, is a loathsome creep. The story is full of twists, turns and misunderstandings, with some moments of real drama that have you turning the pages even faster. I won’t tell you her role in the book as it might spoil it, but I particularly enjoyed the appearance of Fiona, everyone’s worst nightmare.
As always with Sue’s books, The Wedding Proposal was a really lovely read – pure escapism for the greater part, but not without its real life serious moments, and a joy from beginning to end. I didn’t even really miss Middledip, although I thought I might: the setting is quite perfect for summer reading, the sunshine present on every page, and the whole book is full of authentic Maltese detail (I wonder if Sainsburys stock Cisk…). Well done Sue, and well done again Choc Lit… a really enjoyable read.
Sue Moorcroft writes novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. She loves her Choc Lit novels as they have such looooovely covers. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011, Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA (Romantic Novel Award) and for the Best Romantic Read Award 2012. Darcie’s Dilemma was nominated for Best Romantic Ebook 2012. Sue herself was nominated for Innovation in Romantic Fiction.