A Groom of One's Own - Maya Rodale Trying out a new romance author is very similar to trying a new hair style. Sometimes the cut works and sometimes it makes the world seem like it will come to an end. Fortunately for me, Maya Rodale ended up being a good decision.

A Groom of One's Own tells the story of once-jilted at the altar Miss Sophie Harlow. Humiliated, Sophie flees to London, where she somehow gets a respectable job writing a column about weddings for a newspaper. But Sophie hates weddings. Hers was such a disaster, and every time she attends one for her job, she ends up having a panic attack. If Sophie were alive today, there would be drugs for that. Unfortunately, this is a story and a Regency one at that, so Sophie has to suck up her distress and keep cranking out wedding articles. Poor dear. The hero of the story is the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, who gave me constant flashbacks of 90210 episodes by insisting on being called Brandon. He's a respectable guy with a respectable family and a respectable fiancee who has an equally respectable aversion to romance. Hmmm ... I wonder what will happen when the lively Miss Harlow ends up covering the duke's wedding?

Rodale trods on dangerous territory with this book. I personally can't enjoy a book about unfaithful people. It makes it so difficult to cheer for their happiness. Fortunately, the characters are all very open about their feelings. It's a bit creepy how open they are, actually. Brandon's fiancee is very aware of his feelings for Sophie. He, in turn, is very open about his feelings for Sophie with Sophie. At times, I felt like these kids were stuck in some sort of Masochism Tango: Cravats and Pelisse Edition. Brandon is too honorable to ditch his prospective bride before the wedding day, but his relationship with Sophie is at times heart-wrenching in its sweetness. He's such a good guy that even when I wanted to smack his figurative head through the book for being a nimwit, I couldn't. Kudos to Rodale for creating an indecisive character who I didn't hate.

YE OLDE GOOD STUFF:
Sophie is a very fun character to read. She has a good sense of humor and tries to do the right thing. Granted, I felt like she was maybe a little too eager to hook up with a man she couldn't have. In that time, Sophie wouldn't have been accepted in the vaunted circles she frequented, and she likely wouldn't have had a chance to break up the wedding of the year. Fortunately, this was a romance novel, so happy ending trumps realism. (Thank God!)

Brandon, even though he suffers from Chronic Can't Love 'Cause It Makes Me FEEL Syndrome, is a refreshing take on a Regency hero. He isn't a rake (so overdone these days) and doesn't want to play fast-and-loose with the feelings of the women in his life. It takes a long time for him to even kiss Sophie, creating a generous heaping of sexual tension.

YE OLDE BAD STUFF:
Sophie writes for a newspaper. In eighteen-hundred-and-something-early. Female writes did exist back then (thank you, Jane Austen), but I really don't think that they enjoyed the measure of freedom that Sophie did. Single young women from good families (even seemingly invisible families stowed away in the country) simply didn't walk about London alone or work in an office with countless males. I'm not much of a stickler for historical accuracy in fiction, but it did bother me that Sophie's family kind of disappeared when she moved to London. Wouldn't they have been concerned about her? Why did she have to work to live? Was Sophie just too annoying for them to care?

Brandon's Chronic Can't Love 'Cause It Makes Me FEEL Syndrome gets annoying at times. It's because his dad died, which is a really lame excuse. Other romance heroes have come up with much more creative reasons for their stunted emotional behavior. Try harder, Brandon.

THE SEX:
Not too graphic. Rodale focuses more on the emotional connections between the characters than the physical. Don't get me wrong. There was definitely some sexin'. It just packed more of an emotional punch than an erotic one.