Title: The Wedding Planner
Author: G.A. Hauser
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M romance
Length: Novel (217 pages); also ebook
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Leslie
Though he was engaged to be married, handsome, thirty-year old stockbroker Jordon Buck never believed in the fairy tale romances or being ‘head over heels’ in love. Gorgeous, gay, twenty-eight year old Tyler Holliday wasn’t keen on his current career as a wedding planner. Tyler aspired for something greater, but a ghost from his youth haunted him. The day he met Jordon Buck and Fawn Lea to help them plan the big event, fate met up with Tyler Holliday.
In the middle of a Manhattan summer, the two men become friends, and then something happens between them to change them forever. A four letter word called ‘Love’.
Having read Calling Dr. Love by G.A. Hauser and enjoyed it (you can read my review here), I decided to give another book of hers a go. I searched through her backlist and discovered The Wedding Planner, which was published in the summer of 2009. While the book was not perfect, overall I found it an entertaining, enjoyable read.
Jordon Buck is a handsome, successful stockbroker with a fabulous Wall Street condo and a gorgeous flight attendant fiancée, Fawn. Life would seem to be perfect but he feels unsettled and things are niggling at him. In particular, he has a group of gay men that he encounters on a regular basis (his brother, a co-worker, a friend at the gym) and he has become curious about their lives, especially their sex lives. He’s not sure why—is he gay, bi-curious, or just unhappy with Fawn?
His confusion intensifies when he meets Tyler Holliday, the wedding planner that Fawn has hired to arrange their nuptials—who also happens to be gay. Jordon has an immediate and strong attraction to the man but is completely at a loss to understand his feelings. Tyler also reacts to Jordon but he realizes they have no future together: Jordon is straight, engaged to be married, and also a client.
Because Jordon is a client, he and Tyler have to interact, especially since Fawn is out of town for a week because of her job. They talk regularly about the wedding and in doing so become friends, then start spending more time together, all the while trying to understand what’s happening between them.
The developing relationship between Jordon and Tyler was the strongest part of the book. I really appreciated the way Hauser kept it at a measured pace and very restrained. Even though Jordon and Tyler were lusting after each other, they didn’t tumble into bed at the first opportunity; in fact, they didn’t even kiss. This nicely highlighted Jordon’s confusion and Tyler’s integrity.
I also liked the character of Jordon’s mother, Maureen, who was sympathetic and understanding. One of the reasons that Jordon thought he couldn’t be gay was because he was supposed to be the son who would get married and produce grandchildren. Sensing his confusion, at one point Maureen said to him, “It would be okay if I had two gay sons.” I thought she was very perceptive and loving.
Unfortunately, the rest of the characters were a bunch of two dimensional cutouts. Fawn was a horrid witch. Everyone wondered why on earth Jordon was engaged to her and I did too. Worse, the gay characters were ridiculously stereotypical. Jordon’s brother Bryan was a slut; his co-worker Adrian was always propositioning him and offering him a blowjob; and the guy at the gym, Alejandro—well, he had his tongue hanging out every time Jordon was on the treadmill. Tyler was the only “good gay” although Bryan and Adrian seemed to have some sort of conversion at the end, which only reinforced the earlier stereotypes.
Apparently, sex, sex, and more sex are a hallmark of Hauser’s books, but that was not the case with this one. There wasn’t much sex at all and what there was came very late in the story—of course, then, it was smoking hot and went on for quite a few pages. But if reading too much sex and not enough story has turned you off Hauser’s books, this one is definitely a change of pace.
The ending was absolutely a HEA, to the point of being almost a little too pat and slotting all the pieces together. It was also incredibly schmoopy at the end, especially in the Epilogue, but I found I could forgive Jordon and Tyler for that. After all the restrained lusting that they went through, I think they could be a little over-the-top when they finally got to express their feelings for each other.
All in all, this was an entertaining story that I enjoyed. Hauser is not the most gifted writer that I have ever read, but she knows how to tell a story that will keep my attention for 60K words.
NB: Jordon is engaged to Fawn, who is a woman. He tries to have sex with her twice—both times unsuccessfully—and the scenes are very brief. I don’t think this de-classifies the book from being m/m, but I wanted to mention it in the interest of full disclosure.