A Bride Worth Waiting For (1999) by Cara Colter, Sil. Romance #1388 was first brought to my attention by Linda Mowery’s review of it at The Romance Reader. This is a story of second chances where you have three childhood friends –Mark, Adam and Victoria, who grew up together and were inseparable. Well, both boys fall in love with the same girl and said girl ignores her heart and decides to go with the safer choice.
Adam Reed is haunted by a letter he has received from his boyhood friend, Mark Mitchell. Mark died from cancer leaving Victoria a widow. In the letter, Mark makes a last request of Adam, asking him to make Victoria laugh again. Mark makes out a list of activities for Adam and Victoria to do together. After reading the letter numerous times, Adam finally works up the courage to deliver on the request. This is a tough decision for Adam because Tory picked Mark over him and left him broken hearted. And on top of that, Adam moved away and stayed away while Mark was sick. He didn’t even attend the funeral. Tory is angry because Adam stayed away but Mark understood why Adam kept his distance and he forgave him.
Tory loved both men but she was drawn more to Adam. He was a rebel with a wild streak while Mark was gentle, quiet and diplomatic. Adam’s lack of money was something that bothered him and it was something, he felt, that made him stand out among his friends. Overall, though, Tory’s pick had nothing to do with Adam’s lack of money. No. She picked the safe guy rather than the rebel who felt he had something to prove. In her mind, Adam was dangerous, unpredictable and wild and she thought she wasn’t good enough for him.
Adam returns to his childhood home to fulfill Mark’s request and finds that he is still strongly attracted to the girl he once knew and loved. Tory isn’t very welcoming to Adam when he graces her front porch. Eventually, she thaws a little and even begins to enjoy life again. However, she doesn’t know anything about the letter that Mark has sent to Adam until he tells her and this causes a bit of strife. Despite her anger, she is impressed that he has quietly grown into a handsome man, who is now an successful attorney. He doesn’t seem all that dangerous to her now.
The best parts of the novel are where Adam and Tory are reminiscing about their childhood days. Adam goes out of his way to make Tory “laugh again” despite the resistance she throws in his way. She’s still angry and bitter about his absence at her husband’s funeral. Meanwhile, Adam has his own insecurities in that he is somewhat upset that Victoria is not impressed with his career choice and wealth. What Adam fails to realize is that it was never about the money despite the fact that Victoria and Mark came from money. Tory was more afraid of disappointing Adam. She considers herself boring and dull.
The two have many heart to heart discussions while fighting their attraction to each other. Plus, Adam has a girlfriend back home, a beautiful woman who he thinking of proposing to soon but once he is in Victoria’s company, he wavers in his commitment to her. Adam thinks that he is going back home to fulfill his best friend’s last dying wish but he also wants answers from Tory because when he proposed to her, she turned him down flat. As for Tory, she should have went for it and picked the guy, the one her heart desired most. But as fate would have it, she picked Mark and she loved him with no regrets. It was nice, however, that with Mark’s intervention with the letter, life gives Adam and Tory a second chance at happiness. The two were clearly meant for each other.
This is a really sweet love story loaded with sentimentality and intimacy. The dialogue is great as are the characters. I was fully engaged in this story and cared a lot about the outcome of the character’s happiness. Their journey to their happily ever after was a long time coming. The conflicts between the two protagonists never felt contrived or manufactured but was a natural development within the story’s construct. The bottom line is that I love second chance at love stories and A Bride Worth Waiting For is a good one to read if enjoy such themes. My grade, B. This title is out of print.