Book Review

Category Romance Review: Never a Bride by JoAnn Ross

Never a Bride, JoAnn Ross, Harlequin, 1995, cover artist unknown

Harlequin Temptation #537

MILD SPOILERS 😉

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

This review is for Never a Bride, book #4 in the “Bachelor Arms” series published in May 1995 by Harlequin Temptation and written by JoAnn Ross

Series Overview

In the first 3 books in the series, Kate Hoffmann wrote about three male friends who find love. In the following 3 books in the series, written by JoAnn Ross, three female friends come together for one of the ladies’ weddings.

It’s Always a Mystery

The book begins on December 31, 1933. A party is taking place at the home of William Randolph Hearst. The night will end in tragedy, however, as femme fatale actress Alexandra Romanov is killed. Her husband, screenwriter Patrick Reardon, is arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for her murder. 

Hey Angel

Fast forward 62 years to 1995 Los Angeles. We meet Caitlin Carrigan, 25, the heroine of the book, and an L.A. police officer. We also meet Sloan Wyndham, 31, the hero of the book and a Hollywood screenwriter. Caitlin and Sloan’s first meeting is memorable, and not in a good way. However, as they spend more time together, Caitlin and Sloan become attracted to each other and become lovers.

Don’t Talk to Strangers

Sloan is concerned, however, as Caitlin has agreed to trap a dangerous perpetrator. (The perp was previously captured in an earlier book by Ms. Ross, Star-Crossed Lovers. The criminal escaped, however, and now Caitlin is working to put him away for good).

Sacred Heart

In the end, Caitlin deals with the criminal. Sloan shares his past with Caitlin-which is quite different than hers. Caitlin’s college friend, Lily Padgett Van Cortlandt, shows up in L.A. very pregnant, and an earthquake halts a wedding. Caitlin and Sloan acknowledge their love for each other and begin their Happily Ever After. 

Upside

Caitlin and Sloan are both developed, likable characters who have to overcome their respective discomfort with each other’s occupations (the reasons for which are explained and germaine to the plot, so I won’t reveal them here). Ms. Ross also sets up her other two stories by introducing characters and storylines that will feature prominently in those books.

Downside

While Never a Bride is a good book, it lacks the, for lack of a better word, juice to be a great one. The chemistry between Caitlin and Sloan is on the warm rather than hot side, and I don’t like the name Sloan for males. 

Sex

A handful of love scenes, the best of which occurs at the very end of the book involving Caitlin and Sloan. 

Violence

While trying to catch the perp, Caitlin is beaten severely and nearly raped. Two deaths occur in the book. 

Bottom Line

JoAnn Ross is one of my favorite romance novel authors, and with Never a Bride, Ms. Ross shows why I love her work.

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