Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in San Miguel de Allende. But just as the priest is about to pronounce the couple husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids collapses into a floral arrangement. Worst of all, Kelsey discovers that she hasn't just fainted - she's dead. Mrs. Abernathy demands that Kelsey fix the matter, and although she's pretty sure investigating a murder isn't in her contract, crossing the well-connected mother of the bride could be a career killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, another dead body, and a rekindled romance in this smart, funny, and cozy debut.
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Kelsey McKenna works as a destination wedding planner in Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper, and she puts on a wedding in Mexico for a nice couple, Nicole and Vince, with a crazy, obsessive woman, Mrs. Abernathy, for the bride's mother. The morning of the wedding, the bridesmaids all have major hangovers from the bachelorette party they held the night before against the strong urging of Kelsey, who knows from prior experience that this is no way to spend the night before a wedding. Then, as the wedding is about to begin, Dana, a last minute addition bridesmaid who is not very popular with the other members of the wedding party, rushes off to vomit, delaying the start of the ceremony. But things get going smoothly, and Kelsey is happy to take a brief break before the reception. That is, until at the end of the ceremony, she hears a collective gasp and jumps up to see Dana fall over. Covering up the distress, Kelsey gets the guests out of the chapel before calling the paramedics, who declare Dana dead. But Mrs. Abernathy refuses to let Kelsey tell Nicole that her bridesmaid is dead because it would ruin the couple's special day.
As Kelsey and her best friend, photographer Brody, go to pack up Dana's room, they realize someone has searched through and trashed her room. Calling in the police, Kelsey is disturbed to learn that no one who hasn't already left Mexico will be allowed to go home because it now appears that Dana has been murdered. And then Zoe, the sister of the bride, gets arrested. Mrs. Abernathy orders Kelsey to take care of the situation, pointing out that her contract says she'll deal with any unforeseen situations that arise related to the wedding. Not happy to be relegated to dealing with these things, Kelsey still gets to work, all while fending off phone calls from the bride of the next wedding in two weeks.
This book is a great read, and I really enjoyed listening to it. Cooper creates a clever mystery in a unique setting with strong characters. I enjoyed getting to visit San Miguel de Allende with the wedding party. I enjoyed getting to experience the local spots with Evan, who once started a budding romance with Kelsey before quitting his job to move to Mexico to start a charter plane business. And the characters have strong details, especially the love-to-hate Mrs. Abernathy.
I really appreciate the audio narration of Romy Nordlinger. Her performance especially makes the book seem more realistic. I suspect that reading the book would not be nearly as fun to read as listening to it. Her job truly delights and adds life to the book.
I loved Terror in Taffeta and ran through it quickly because i did not want to put it down. I listened to the sequel first and had to hurry out to get the first. It did not disappoint. I give this book five stars!
1 star review on YELP for Kelsey McKenna's destination wedding planning business:
From Mrs. Abernathy
My daughter got married, and we had plans for a nice, elegant ceremony in nearby Napa, something formal in wine country. But this woman practically twisted the arm of my daughter and her fiance so that they moved the whole wedding to Mexico! What a mistake!
First, Ms. McKenna encouraged the bridesmaids to have a bachelorette party the night before the wedding, leaving all with hangovers, not a great way to start off a wedding, even one in Mexico!
Second, I had to spend significant time, even pulling out my contract with Ms. McKenna, to keep this woman to take care of her responsibilities. She was 7 minutes late getting the cake cut, for example. And when there were further unfortunate occurrences, Ms. McKenna showed significant hesitancy to perform her duties.
Third, Ms. McKenna informed us that we were not allowed to go home because of the unfortunate occurrences. She did not do her job and unable us to leave.
Fourth, while we were dealing with the awkward situation, Ms. McKenna actually spent her time trying to get new business instead of doing her contracted business with us.
Fifth, this woman had the ineptitude not to check out the priest doing the ceremony before the wedding, and she allowed an imposter to weasle his way into the position of priest.
Sixth, this hussy had the nerve to come home in the very early morning after having spent the night out with a man. Then, she dropped a roll of condoms on the ground at breakfast that day!
So if I ever get out of this place, I will most definitely not allow this woman to plan the wedding for Zoe someday . . . uh, assuming she gets past our, ahem, troubles.