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Mating Season, Part Two

"Howard... I need that wedding.  I need some beauty and some music and some placecards before I die. It's like heroin." - Mrs. Brackett, "In & Out"

Many of you may have satisfied your veil-and-cake imperatives on a certain modest little British ceremony back in April.  For those who haven't, don't panic-- June is just over the holiday weekend horizon!  For some, June is the time to focus on dads and grads, but it's also the traditional month for another kind of happy ending: weddings.

Anyone who's read romance for awhile knows to expect a "happily ever after" (HEA) ending.  Many would say it's part of what defines the genre.  There are exceptions to the HEA "rule," of course, but they're pretty rare; Bertrice Small's infamous Skye O'Malley series and Jude Devereaux's A Knight in Shining Armor are the two most often-cited examples, and both date back to the '80s.  In fact, the lack of an HEA is why Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is often described as a "love story" instead of a romance.  (When I stopped to think about it, I could recall only one romance title out of several years' worth of my own reading that didn't end happily.)

With happy endings all over the place, you'd think nice, big weddings would be a given, but that's not necessarily so.   One of my personal favorites, Lisa Kleypas' Devil in Winter, begins with a business agreement and hasty "anvil marriage" in Gretna Green (the Regency equivalent of Vegas), and develops the romance out of that unblissfully wedded beginning.  Many contemporaries end with the couple together but not necessarily wed.  Even Jane Austen, that queen of matchmakers, often "draws the veil" and summarizes the happy ending rather than indulging in a big wedding scene.

This month's list, though, is for people like Mrs. Brackett, the ones longing for beauty and a fancy gown and a big "I do" to-do.  I know, I know-- some of you feel guilty about the idea of a fancy wedding.  The expense, the trouble, the bridezillas... for you, I've included a light seasoning of jilts, runaway brides, and weddings gone hilariously wrong.  But frankly, it doesn't matter how young or old, rich or poor you are, if you're divorced or happily married or determinedly single-- there's nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of wedding whimsy.  (On the other hand, if you're on your eighth husband because of how good you think you look in white, maybe it's time to admit you have a problem.)  And really, what better place to find your perfect wedding than between the pages of a romance?  The budget can't be beat, and if you're worried about how quickly the Big Day is approaching... renew the book! 

So here they are-- all the pomp and circumstance, fairy-tale weddings, and radiant wear-once dresses you could desire (and a few of those false starts-- because in romance, you know that even the bad beginnings will end well).  Whether you want to reminisce about your own glorious day, fantasize about how that dress in the boutique window would look on you, or give another thought to the one that got away... get ready to indulge, ladies, because here come the brides!

A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh (Fiction Balogh)
Hazard by Jo Beverley (LP Beverley)
Desperately Seeking a Duke by Celeste Bradley (LP Bradley)
The Bridal Season by Connie Brockway (LP Brockway)
Sunny Chandler's Return by Sandra Brown (Fiction Brown)
Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot (Fiction Cabot)
Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel by Lisa Cach (Pbk-Romance Cach)
Accidentally Engaged by Mary Carter (Fiction Carter)
Agnes & the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (Fiction Crusie)
Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl (Pbk-Romance Dahl)
For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani (Fiction Daswani)
Undead and Uneasy by Mary Janice Davidson (Horror Davidson)
Scarlet Nights by Jude Deveraux (Fiction Deveraux)
The Prince Kidnaps a Bride by Christina Dodd (LP Dodd)
Once upon a Wedding by Kathleen Eagle (Fiction Eagle)
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding by P. N. Elrod, ed. (Pbk-Romance My)
Veil of Night by Linda Howard (New Fiction Howard)
Everything but a Groom by Holly Jacobs (Fiction Jacobs)
Exes and Ohs by Beth Kendrick (Fiction Kendrick)
When Strangers Marry by Lisa Kleypas (LP Kleypas)
The Pursuit by Johanna Lindsey (Fiction Lindsey)
The Man You'll Marry by Debbie Macomber (LP Macomber)
The Sparkling One by Susan Mallery (LP Mallery)
Springwater Wedding by Linda Lael Miller (Fiction Miller)
Dress Rehersal by Jennifer O'Connell (Fiction O'Connell)
Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Fiction Phillips)
Then He Kissed Me by Christie Ridgway (Pbk-Romance Ridgway)
Shameless by Karen Robards (BCD Robards)
Vision in White by Nora Roberts (LP Roberts)
Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis (Pbk-Romance Shalvis)
Coming Home by Mariah Stewart (Pbk-Romance Stewart)
Three Weddings and a Kiss by Kathleen Woodiwiss, et al. (LP Three)
Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson (Pbk-Romance Whitson)
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham (Fiction Wickham)
There Goes the Bride by Lori Wilde (Pbk-Romance Wilde)

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