Rachelle J. Christensen has started a new series she’s calling A Wedding Planner Mystery. It begins with Diamond Rings are Deadly Things.
Adrielle Pyper, known as Adri, begins a wedding planning business in Sun Valley, Idaho, following the murder of her best friend just three days before her friend’s wedding. Adri had been employed by a prestigious wedding planner in California and had particularly loved planning her friend’s wedding. Crushed by her friend’s death, she left California and returned to her home in Idaho to set up her own wedding planning and craft business.
In an effort to expand her business and help a friend and employee, she branches out into selling imported wedding dresses. When the first shipment arrives, they discover a cut in the hem of the most extravagant and expensive gown which was ordered for their most difficult bride. The same night she takes one of the dresses home with her to carefully undo the hem so it can be lengthened for the bride who picked it, someone breaks into her shop and steals three of the dresses and she discovers a cache of uncut diamonds hidden in the hem of the dress at her home. What should she do? If she calls the police, they’ll confiscate the dress. Without the dress, she stands to lose thousands of dollars and possibly her business. Keeping the diamonds hidden until after the wedding could make her the target of the diamond thieves.
Her patience is stretched to the limit by a wealthy customer who demands the most expensive of everything, but seems more interested in her ex-boyfriend’s upcoming wedding than in her own. Her frequent tantrums, unexpected arrivals at the shop, and flaunting of the bit part she once played in a daytime soap opera stretch both Adri’s and her assistant’s ability to work with her.
With the demands of her business, she doesn’t have time for romance, but two men think otherwise. One is a little shy, thoughtful, and is moving faster than Adri feels comfortable about. The other is a divorce lawyer with a negative attitude toward marriage and her business. Both are extremely good looking and make her heart race.
Each chapter begins with instructions for a craft project that could be used for shower favors, invitations, centerpieces, etc., then that item is incorporated into the story. The Sun Valley location is portrayed well and provides a varied background. Some of the secondary characters’ situations are left incomplete, but they may be used in future stories in the series. I didn’t dislike any of the major characters, but I never felt an attachment or identified with them either. The plot felt like I was jumping into the story mid tale and I kept checking to see if there was a prior book, but didn’t find one. Eventually the back story was brought in.
This series will, I suspect, appeal to a limited group of readers, those dreaming of or planning a wedding and their mothers. Those who are into crafts will find it appealing too. Romance readers will find it a fast, fun read. Others may want to skip all the italicized craft instructions, dress descriptions, and menu suggestions.
I love the clever title and great cover on this book. Rachelle J. Christensen grew up not far from where her book is set. She graduated from Utah State University. She and her husband now live in Utah and are the parents of five children. She is the author of two other successful novels and her work appears in other publications.
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DIAMOND RINGS ARE DEADLY THINGS by Rachelle J. Christensen, published by Shadow Mountain an imprint of Deseret Book, 341 pages, soft cover $16.99 also available for e-readers.