Stevie’s Duckies Do Series review of The Weekday Brides Series by Catherine Bybee
Contemporary Romance published by Montlake Romance
I really shouldn’t have enjoyed this series as much as I did. The first book in particular made some glaringly wrong assumptions about the British aristocracy and inheritance laws, most of which could have been quickly fixed by Googling (My review copies of the first two books were the self-published versions and I noticed that the errors had been fixed in the third and fourth books, so maybe the republished first two have had the same fixes applied). On the other hand, I do like the central premise of the series as a whole: a matchmaking service that places couples together on entirely non-romantic criteria. This being Romancelandia, some of those carefully matched couples can’t help falling in love in spite of the rules, of course, and that’s part of the fun of the series.
Wife by Wednesday, Book 1 – 12 Feb 13
The shortest and the most problematic book in the series, Wife by Wednesday introduces us to Sam and Blake, whose friends and families will make up the central characters for pretty much the whole series. Sam runs Alliance, a matchmaking service dedicated to bringing people together, whose life plans match rather than with any romantic aims. Her father was jailed for major financial crimes, after which her mother committed suicide and her sister took an overdose leaving her requiring 24-hour care, all of which have left Sam very cynical. Meanwhile, Blake has inherited a dukedom, but his father’s will stipulates that he must marry before his upcoming birthday in order to inherit a fortune even larger than the one Blake has amassed by himself (and therein lies my main problem with the series: old, landed aristocratic families don’t tend to work that way for more reasons than I have space to list). As I said, I really shouldn’t like this series as much as I do, and I got through the issues around Blake’s money and family situation largely by ignoring the problems and forcing myself not to wonder about who was taking care of the ancestral home and farms while Blake was dealing primarily with his other business interests in the US.
Blake and Samantha marry for the money: once he inherits, they can divorce and she’ll walk away with sufficient funds to take care of her sister for life. Of course, the will has further surprises, and various people stand to benefit if they can prove Blake and Sam’s marriage to be a lie. However, the pair can’t seem to stop themselves falling madly in lust and then in love. The happy ending sets up one theme for the rest of the series: Blake and Samantha’s plan to renew their vows annually in a different location, but didn’t (at least in the edition I read) really set up the pairing we are to spend time with in the second book.
A wife by Wednesday…a love for a lifetime
Rich, titled, and charming…and in need of a wife by Wednesday. Blake turns to Sam Elliot, who isn’t the businessman he expected. Instead, Blake is faced with Samantha Elliot, beautiful and feisty with a voice men call 1-900 numbers to hear.
Owner of matchmaking firm Alliance and not on the marital menu…that is, until Blake offers her ten million dollars for a one-year contract. And there’s nothing indecent about this proposal. The money will really help with her family’s medical bills. All Samantha will need to do is keep her attraction to her new husband to herself and avoid his bed.
But Blake’s toe-curling kisses and sexy charm prove too difficult for Sam to resist. It was a marriage contract that planned for everything…except falling in love.
Read an excerpt.
Married by Monday, Book 2 – 9 Mar 13
Now that Sam is married with a family, the day-to-day running of her business has been passed on to her former assistant, Eliza, who just happens to have a major (and, unknown to her, fully reciprocated) crush on Blake’s best friend, Carter. The thing between them has been going on for a while, which I wish I’d seen evidence of in the previous book, but neither seems aware of the other’s feelings. Then, while preparing for the celebration surrounding Blake and Sam’s renewal of their wedding vows, Eliza goes to a rather dodgy club with Blake’s younger sister, Gwen, and the pair have to be rescued by Carter, backed up by Blake’s bodyguard, Neil (whom Gwen has a crush on). The resulting fisticuffs make headline news, potentially scuppering Carter’s political career, unless he can pass himself off as a family man in time for the upcoming election. So he proposes to Eliza.
Eliza agrees to Carter’s scheme, but fails to tell him that she’s spent her life since the age of eight in the Witness Protection Scheme. Cue much digging by political rivals who sense that Carter’s new wife isn’t the person she claims to be and much danger from associates of the man Eliza’s parents’ testimony sent to jail. I find the suspense plot a little too unbelievable and its wrap-up a little too neat and tidy, but these books are one big metaphorical sugar rush, so I moved straight on to the next one.
Sequel to Wife by Wednesday—The New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling novel that launched Bybee’s Weekday Brides series
Sandy blond hair and Hollywood good looks, Carter could have any woman he wants. When he makes his bid for governor of California, he knows he must settle down and become a family man. His choice for a running mate between the sheets: matchmaker Eliza Havens.
Eliza’s happy that her best friend has a wealthy, adoring husband. It’s the husband’s best friend—sexy, dashing Carter Billings—that drives her crazy. No man has ever squabbled with Eliza this much…or made her heart race this fast. Matching couples is how she earns a living, but long-held secrets mean getting married isn’t an option. Until now.
Read an excerpt.
Fiancé by Friday, Book 3 – 13 Aug 13
As we learned in the previous book, Gwen, the English rose, is in love with Neil, the bodyguard and ex-marine. Now that Eliza, as well as Sam, has settled down into married bliss, Gwen is running Alliance with the help of Karen, a friend they all met through her work with Sam’s severely disabled sister. Gwen and Karen share an apartment and have acquired new neighbours, just as Karen is setting up her own fake marriage to a closeted gay movie star. When the neighbours are killed and weird stuff starts happening around the apartment, it’s difficult to see who the real target is, until enemies crop up from Neil’s past. I actually find the plot easier to swallow than the two previous books and some of the errors relating to Gwen, Blake, and Sam’s titles and forms of address have been fixed: which also make me happy. Equally cheering is a villain whose motives mostly make sense, rather than the stereotypical maniac that pops up in far too many romantic suspense stories. My main gripe is two characters having very similar names, which for a while made me think one was the other in disguise.
All the plot threads get resolved, and I do like Gwen throughout this series, even if I don’t completely believe in her background or in the discrepancy between her stated age and the age people assume her to be, based on looks and behaviour.
From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee comes the newest installment in her popular Weekday Brides series.
The beautiful, high-born daughter of an English duke came to America to take over her sister-in-law’s matchmaking business. But just because she’s the boss doesn’t mean she can’t fantasize about making her own perfect match with bodyguard Neil MacBain. Will the enigmatic man who haunts her dreams cost her more than she bargained for?
The retired Marine can’t deny the effect blue-blooded Gwen has on his troubled soul or his battle-hardened body. But as a client, Gwen is off-limits—until a threat from Neil’s past returns…and Gwen is caught in the crossfire. Now to keep her safe he will risk it all: his career, his life…and his heart.
Read an excerpt.
Single by Saturday, Book 4 – 7 Jan 14
This is my favourite of the series so far, even if the set-up for the fifth (and final?) book is a little too obvious (I know, I’m just difficult to please). Karen has been carrying on her fake marriage to Michael for a year, and the two are good friends, even though there’s no chance of anything more developing on either side. They’re already planning how they’ll announce their divorce to the media (carefully timed to fit in with Michael’s production and PR schedule), when big brother Zach turns up unannounced. It seems Michael’s small-town family isn’t happy about the whole getting-married-without-inviting-them thing and want him to bring his bride home in order to make amends. Zach and Karen are instantly attracted to each other and spend much of the visit trying not to act on their attraction. Then Karen gets involved with some of the town’s troubled teens. Karen’s no ordinary gold-digger, you see: she wants Michael’s money so she can set up a home for runaways, and she can’t stop herself helping out the two she encounters during her visit.
Just about everyone in town gets involved, there’s a big media frenzy when the parents of one teen try to drag her home against her will, and only Blake swooping in with money and security guys seems likely to save the day. One of said security guys then becoming part of the set up for Book 5, of course… But it all ends happily for everyone and Michael’s secret is mostly safe for the time being, allowing Karen and Zach to ride off into the sunset together. Bless!
She enjoyed her fake marriage…until she fell in love with her brother-in-law.
Catherine Bybee serves up excitement and dizzying romance in Single by Saturday, the sequel to Fiancé by Friday and the latest entry in her bestselling Weekday Brides series.
Karen Jones: The petite blonde married a Hollywood star, yet she’s the one who spends every day playing a part: the part of a happy wife. A year ago, she agreed to wed a famous actor to diffuse rumors about his personal life. Now, her divorce sits just around the corner, along with a five million dollar payout. However, as she prepares to exit her fake marriage gracefully, her drop-dead-gorgeous brother-in-law walks through the door…and into her heart.
Zach Gardner: Dark-haired, blue-eyed hunk Zach crashes Michael and Karen’s fancy one-year anniversary party, determined to meet the wife his brother hid from their family. But sparks fly the moment he and Karen see each other. When the famous couple decides to visit the whole Gardner clan, Karen must keep Michael’s secret under wraps in front of his questioning relatives…including Zach, the man who could be the real love of her life.
Read an excerpt.
This series has some serious flaws, but it’s the romance novel equivalent of being turned loose in an old fashioned sweet shop. You know pear drops and pixy stix and sherbet dips are bad if you eat too many of them, and they have no nutritional value at all, but you’re going to devour the lot anyway. Guilty pleasures and all that. Like eating too many sweets, this series will result in a sugar rush but hey, sometimes it’s fun to go for the unhealthy option. I’m a little uncertain about the pair who’ve been set for the next book, neither being part of the series from the start, but I’m going to give that one a go when it comes out later this year.
Overall Grade: B