GOWN WITH THE WIND is the fourth novel in the Wedding Planner Mystery Series by Stephanie Blackmoore. The first three novels in the series are ENGAGED IN DEATH (June 28th 2016 by Kensington Publishing Corporation), MURDER WEARS WHITE (January 31st 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation) and MURDERED BORROWED, MURDER BLUE (January 30th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation). GOWN WITH THE WIND is due to be published on December 18th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation).
Mallory Shepard has agreed to plan the wedding for her ex-fiancé and the woman that he cheated on Mallory with. And it is a nightmare come to life…The novel is full of bridezillas, a terrifying mother-in-law, murderers and other crimes, and Gone with the Wind aficionados. Mallory takes it upon herself to find the person responsible for the murders, attempted murders, and all of the various crimes taking place in Port Quincy before the wedding that she has worked so hard to plan is completely ruined.
I initially requested GOWN WITH THE WIND from NetGalley because the description of the novel – two soon-to-be brides fighting over a Gone with the Wind replica wedding gown – intrigued me. And, while all of the Gone with the Wind references were interesting – the bride’s grandmother has the premier collection of Gone with the Wind memorabilia and the family’s obsession with the film plays a role throughout the entire novel – it wasn’t quite enough to keep me interested in the story. The novel also couldn’t really hold my interest because I found that I didn’t care about any of the characters, including the main character. Mallory Shepard has what I would consider to be one of my Top 10 Nightmare Jobs. She’s a wedding planner…but she’s not quite sure how she feels about the whole marriage institution. That just boggled my mind. Plus, I can’t fathom why she would agree to plan her ex-fiancé’s wedding to the woman that he cheated on her with. Keith is an extremely unlikable man, and not enough of Mallory’s past relationship with him was explained for me to grasp what she initially saw in the jerk. Not to mention that his mother is so insane that she makes my ex-boyfriend’s mom look like an angel. How and why no one killed the groom’s mother amazed me. I wanted to kill her just to save myself from having to read any more scenes involving her.
Overall, there is way too much going on in this novel – an unsolved murder case, a current murder investigation, arson, assaults, robberies, weddings and other events, love lives and affairs, illegal smuggling, plus many more…I could barely keep any of it straight as the novel bounced around so much between all of the different storylines. There are multiple crimes and multiple bad guys throughout the novel, and I felt like not all of their crimes were explained well enough for the reader to understand how all of the crimes were committed and why.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.