Reading Sariah Wilson’s last two novels, “The Paid Bridesmaid” and “The Seat Filler” has opened my eyes about employment opportunities I never realized existed: seat fillers and paid bridesmaids. Who knew you could actually hire a maid of honor to help you with all those pesky details like organizing a bachelorette party or giving a heartfelt speech at the wedding reception? In her latest novel, we meet Rachel Vinson, who started her company with the brilliant thought that brides who didn’t have many friends, or friends who couldn’t be bothered to really help with the wedding, or friends who might cause drama, might want a few professional bridesmaids to do the actual bridesmaid work. And really, have you ever thought about the work involved in being a bridesmaid? I had not.
But part of her company’s promise is complete discretion. In fact, there are NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) to ensure that no one finds out a bride’s “best friend” is really a paid professional. So when Rachel is hired to be the maid of honor for Sadie, a social media influencer, the NDA is ironclad. No one can find out that Sadie really doesn’t have many friends and that she paid Rachel to be her maid of honor. What happens on this romantic wedding trip in Hawaii is twofold: Rachel and Sadie become friends, and Rachel discovers the love of her life, Camden Lewis. However any romance worth its cover price does not just allow those things to happen without plenty of drama of its own.
The groom, Dan, and his best friend Camden have a tech company that is set to go public right after the wedding. Camden is obsessed with the fear that a spy will discover their secrets and ruin the IPO. Therefore, he mistrusts anyone who is not part of his small circle of friends which includes Dan and Sadie, but does not include Rachel. So while there is a huge jolt of electricity between Rachel and Camden, she realizes that he doesn’t trust her. He’s been hurt by someone who lied to him, and as we know, she is lying to him. She really isn’t Sadie’s best friend. They really didn’t go to summer camp together as kids. But even as she realizes that he hates liars, Rachel can’t tell him the truth because of the NDA. She’s legally prohibited from not lying.
But what happens when Rachel must choose between keeping her business a secret and connecting with the love of her life? Wilson is a talented writer, and the dialogue and scenes flow effortlessly. She is able to combine humor and romance, funny scenes and sexual tension, and create a novel that is easy to read and, best of all, fun to read. It’s not all sugary icing and lace, though. There are also some thoughtful themes about what we do for family and how sometimes, family isn’t always there for us. In spite of some hard truths, as in every romance novel — Happy ending guaranteed. Those who enjoy light romance with a twist of unique situations will really enjoy “The Paid Bridesmaid.” Also consider reading her previous novel, “The Seat Filler,” which features a lovely four-legged character as well. You can find that review on Bookreporter.com as well.
Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by Montlake, the publisher, for review purposes.