Review – Runaway Groom (Watkins Pond #1) by Virginia Nelson

Runaway Groom cover image
Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Jan 21
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

The groom is back in town.

Abigail lost her best friend years ago when he ditched her at the altar like a loaf of stale bread. Now he’s back and determined to do whatever he has to—even lie, apparently—to get under her skin. Although he makes her hormones rev to life in a way that no one has since he left, she is equally determined not to fall for his boy-next-door charm.

His bride-to-be is somewhat reluctant.

Braxton Dean was too young and stupid to know better when he walked away. Years of trying to fill the Abby-shaped hole in his heart have left him empty, and now he’s going to win back his girl—or get over her. But first he needs answers. Particularly why she never responded to any of his letters.

It might take a whole town to make this wedding happen.

With the help of their friends, the two battle it out. The army? An entire town of busybodies. The prize? Happily ever after.

Warning: Contains indignant old ladies, steamy sex (but not with indignant old ladies), condom bouquets, seduction cake, and condom bouquets. Yes, we went there.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I requested this because I thought the blurb looked cute and I was in the mood to watch a man try to get the woman he loved back after making her the talk of the town in a negative sense. While I did find aspects of this story cute and humorous, unfortunately the entire package didn’t work as well as I had hoped.

Brax left Abby standing at the altar. They were best friends and childhood sweethearts until that moment. Not only did he leave Abby at the altar, he also left town and she did not hear from him until he showed back up years later. Abby was in their small town facing all of the talk and rumor while dealing with her ailing grandmother, crazy mother, and very self-centered sister. So when Brax returned, most of Abby did not want to have anything to do with him but the part that loved Brax her entire life still harbored a thread of hope.

Brax knew after he’d left that what he did was wrong. So for years he wrote to Abby each day. His letters told her his thoughts, feelings, tried to explain his reasoning, and as years passed without a single response; the tone changed to include his anger and frustration, along with events in his life. I loved the letters but I really had to wonder about a person who had the dedication to write daily but was missing whatever it took to return and face the music. When he did return he seemed to think that his return meant everything was perfect again, people would like him, Abby would gracefully fall into his arms, and life would go on as planned. He really wasn’t willing to take anyone else’s thoughts and feelings into account. As a result of this and some of his other reactions, I never got the sense he had grown up beyond the boy who left Abby at the alter.

Abby was another interesting character. She was devastated when Brax left her at the alter; she had to face the not so nice town gossips, and deal with her dysfunctional family. I completely understood why she reacted the way she did when Brax returned. I also liked that she didn’t go straight back to him. However, I wasn’t as impressed towards the end of the story when it seemed as if Abby lost some of what made her into a strong character.

There really was a third character involved in this story and that would be the town and its inhabitants. It was amusing to watch the town’s opinion change and shift like the tide based on who was publicly doing what. The lengths that Abby and Brax’s friends went through to sway the town’s opinion were certainly based on an intimate knowledge of how the town worked unofficially. It was easy to see which direction the town was leaning and their antics brought a certain amount of levity to the emotion between Brax and Abby.

Runaway Groom had some great parts that I enjoyed separately but unfortunately the sum wasn’t as good for me. I had difficulty believing that Brax’s character had actually matured over time and as a result, I couldn’t quite understand Abby’s actions towards the end. This was certainly an example of how small towns can work and how knowing the right individuals can sway public opinion. I loved reading the letters and catching a glimpse of Brax’s feelings over time. I just wish I had seen evidence of his maturation when he returned home. I am intrigued enough by the town and setting that I will take a look at the next installment in the Watkins Pond series.

I give Runaway Groom a C+

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2 thoughts on “Review – Runaway Groom (Watkins Pond #1) by Virginia Nelson”

  1. It could be fun, but it does not appeal to me. He never even called, did you get my letters? Why don’t you answer me?
    Let me guess: the family kept the letters a secret from Abby?

  2. @xaurianx: Well..I was trying to avoid spoilers so I will say you are a pretty good guesser. That was the only thing I had a problem with unfortunately :(.

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