4 stars

Category Romance Review: A Happily Unmarried Man by Kate Hoffmann

A Happily Unmarried Man, Kate Hoffmann, Harlequin, 1995, cover artist unknown

Harlequin Temptation #533

MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This review is of A Happily Unmarried Man, #3 in the Bachelor Arms series published in April 1995 by Kate Hoffmann.

Bachelor Arms Series Book #3

The story begins at a mall in Los Angeles. Tru Hallihan and Josh Banks have come to the mall to shop for gifts for their respective wives. Tagging along is their friend Garrett McCabe, the hero of the book and a columnist for The L.A. Post newspaper. When Tru and Josh discover that domestic diva Emily Taylor is having a book signing in the mall, Tru and Josh decide to get autographed copies of her books for their spouses. Garrett, meanwhile, decides to write a vituperative column about Emily, ripping her up one side and down the other. He thinks the column is funny.

Others, however, don’t see it that way. Female readers call to cancel their newspaper subscriptions, and Richard Parker, Garrett’s boss, orders him to apologize to Emily, the heroine of the book. (There are other reasons Parker wants Garrett to apologize; he’s trying to buy “At Home,” the magazine Emily owns with her business partner, Nora Griswold).  At first, Garrett refuses to apologize, proffers a “sorry/not sorry” apology, then he and Emily meet face-to-face. Parker then orders Garrett to be Emily’s L.A. chaperone.

As they spend more time together, Emily and Garrett start to realize they have feelings for each other, later becoming lovers. 

In the end, Emily refuses Parker’s offer for At Home, Garrett quits his job at The Post to take a job with The Boston Globe to be with Emily (she lives in Rhode Island). Emily and Garrett marry and have their Happily Ever After.

Upside

Emily is a really easy heroine to root for, a woman who has had self-esteem issues all her life (exacerbated by her mother and bastard ex-husband) who took the skills she has–domestic arts–and turned them into an empire. She’s a very sweet, likable heroine.

At first, Garrett is a bit of a jerk, but as the book goes on, he shows a more caring side, which works well with Emily’s soft, low-key style. 

Downside

Somewhat nitpicking, but A Happily Unmarried Man lacks some of the, for lack of a better word, juice, that Ms. Hoffmann’s first two books in the series had. The book starts on a low boil and remains there for the entire book. 

Sex

One love scene between Emily and Garrett, which is more romantic than erotic.

Violence

None.

Bottom Line

Kate Hoffman gets the “Bachelor Arms series off to a great start with her three contributions to the series. 

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

2 replies »

  1. Thanks, Blue Falcon. Fine review. When I read it, I got to thinking: Is Emily Taylor based on Martha Stewart? The similarities are pretty obvious.

    I haven’t read this book, but it sounds like a good read. And I go for a “sweet, likeable heroine”. Especially now that they’re an endangered species!

  2. HI, Mary Anne.

    Emily Taylor does sound a lot like she was inspired by Martha Stewart, mixed with a lot of Rachael Ray for good measure. She’s a very nice, sweet character, which can make her vulnerable to those-like Richard Parker-who try to prey on her. Luckily, she had people on her side looking out for her.

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