The third book in the Emma Rae Creation series, Always the Designer Never the Bride, provides a well-written, refreshing romance that manages to skip some of the over-used clichés found in Christian romance. It also includes cute advice for brides and recipes for sweets between each chapter. While it remains a romance in its truest form, Sandra D. Bricker’s book is fresh in that it isn’t overly Christian and in that its character chemistry is realistic and doesn’t unravel too quickly. While the concept may remind readers of movies like The Wedding Planner, the plot of Always the Designer Never the Bride finds its own unique road to take readers down.
Audrey Regan’s wedding dress design career seems to be going down the drain. She doesn’t like the city she lives in, and the only clients she can seem to hold onto are her friends. But when she goes home to Atlanta to help with her best friend Carly’s wedding dress and the stress begins to build, a new line of opportunities come her way, including the opportunity to fall in love with a fun-loving man with a tattoo and a motorcycle. What starts off as a much-needed, random night on the town turns into a developing, complicated romance between the two. But Audrey isn’t sure if she’s ready for a relationship, and J.R. lives most of his life on the road. How can their two lifestyles become compatible enough for a lasting relationship? Especially when everyone around them seems to be coupling up?
Readers of the modern economy will relate to Audrey’s struggle to pay bills and stay in business, and Christians will find comfort in the Lord’s providence for this lovable character. This story lacks true moral conviction, however. It focuses on making character believable, rather than making them strong Christians who recall Scripture every time trouble comes along. While Audrey’s friends are made out as genuine Christians a few times throughout the book (using instances of prayer and such), Bricker does not make it clear whether or not Audrey is a Christian. Audrey refers to the Bible in her hotel room at one point, reading Isaiah 44:11, which says, “O, you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted. Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Audrey says a quick prayer based on the verse and its encouragement, but is later embarrassed to mention it to her friends, and when things start to look up for her, she doesn’t credit her happiness to God.
The lack of preaching does not inhibit the story, though. Bricker gives the reader a great, relatable, well-paced story that any fiction reader is bound to enjoy. – Harmony Wheeler, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
It’s taken Audrey Regan years to establish herself as a wedding dress designer, and to date she’s been roped into creating dresses for nine of her girlfriends. Request #10 follows her vow to “Just say no!” and comes from her very best friend. She can hardly turn Carly down!
Audrey arrives in Atlanta early to perform all of her maid-of-honor duties along with final fittings for a one-of-a-kind dress. But Carly’s wedding is nothing short of an event, complete with Prince Charming, and the festivities make Audrey question whether there’s a prince of her own anywhere in her future.
Enter the groom’s brother and best man. Shaggy-haired, tattooed bad boy J.R. Hunt couldn’t be any more different from Prince Charming if he rode in on a Harley Davidson. Oh, wait. He actually did ride in on a Harley!