Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Importance of Being Alice - Katie MacAlister (Signet - Jan 2015)

Read December 6, 2016

Series: Matchmaker in Wonderland (Book 1)

Nothing about Alice Wood's life is normal right now. Her fiance, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it's not what she gets.... 

Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her "romantic" suite with one of Patrick's friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she's navigating the waters with a strange--yet mysteriously handsome--British aristocrat. 

A baron of dubious wealth--and not-so-dubious debt--Elliot Ainslie is just looking forsome alone time to write the books that keep his large family afloat. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life...and include him in her own happily ever after.

Fun book. Alice has been dumped by her boyfriend of two years, right before they were to go on a European river cruise. She decides to go ahead and take the trip anyway, only to find out that her ex gave his ticket to a friend. So she is stuck sharing her cabin with stuffy, slightly mysterious British aristocrat.

Elliott is just looking for some peace and quiet to finish his book. As the oldest of twelve, and the heir to a crumbling castle, he is in charge of the family finances. The  income from his spy novels provide a large part of the income that keeps everything going. He’s not pleased to be sharing a cabin with a talkative American.

From the moment they met there was a connection between Alice and Elliott. I loved their first meeting as his seriousness ran into her intent to have fun. He does a good job of making his requirements clear, but Alice convinces him to take a break from his writing for a meal. From there he is lured into going on one of the tours, and the next thing he knows he is hooked on Alice. I loved seeing how the two of them balanced each other. She is enthusiastic and spontaneous and he is cautious and methodical, and together they are just right. Within two days they have fallen in love, which both admit is ridiculously fast, but are so certain it is real they go ahead and get married.

Things don’t go smoothly, as Alice’s ex shows up, determined to win her back. He is initially oblivious to the fact that she wants nothing to do with him, and I loved seeing her make the point. There’s also a female passenger that has her sights set on Elliott, and it was fun to see them fight her off. Then Elliott gets an emergency call from home, and rather than explain what has happened, tells Alice to go on with the cruise without him. He has his reasons for not telling her, important to him, but not really good in the long run. It doesn’t take long for Alice to miss him and want to join him.

Elliott ends up in the hospital and when Alice tries to find out what’s happening she keeps running into walls. Seems Elliott hadn’t had time to tell anyone in his family he was married and no one believes her when she shows up. Her trials and tribulations of getting to him were pretty epic. I loved her reaction to his family and theirs to her. There is some strain between Elliott and Alice as he’s recovering from his injury, leading her to believe that he’s fallen out of love with her, something that would have been avoided if they had talked to each other about their feelings.

Alice has put her mind to helping Elliott find ways to make the castle profitable and one such venture brings her ex and Elliott’s sister and two fellow passengers to the castle for the “Ainslie Experience”. But things are not quite what they seem and there are several surprises in store for Alice and Elliott. I loved how they overcame them and were finally able to move forward.

The book is full of quirky characters, from Elliott’s siblings to his overly dramatic mother, and some interesting fellow passengers on the cruise. Alice and Elliott also get into some hilarious situations, including their dinner in an Amsterdam coffeehouse and their adventures in a German sex bar. There were a lot of places that had me laughing out loud. I can’t wait to read Gunner’s story.

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