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Book Review The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst

Updated on December 31, 2013

A brand new beginning... or not...

Synopsis sourced from Amazon.com:

Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her.

Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off-limits. But hotblooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand—and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable—and Carina is furious. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed. . . .

"The Marriage Mistake" is the third in the "Marriage to a Billionaire" romantic series written by Jennifer Probst. It follows Carina, the self-professed ugly duckling of the Conte family, as she travels to New York following the completion of her MBA degree. She hoped a new country would mark the beginning of a fresh start, where she could finally escape from the shadows of her successful siblings and the stifling traditions back home, only to find herself under the supervision of the man she had been pining after since she was young - Max Gray.

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Normally, I'd say "Warning: Spoilers" but...

Although common courtesy (and internet etiquette) dictates that reviews begin with a warning regarding potential spoilers, there is little need for it with this book. With the book synopsis on the back cover, the reader already knows 80 to 90% of the entire plot. They know exactly who is going to end up with who, how they are going to get together, what is going to happen along the way and that the couple will have their happily-ever-after. The only surprises are how long it's going to take (surprisingly long, in this case) and how many "other women" are going to crop up in this novel.

While detractors of the romance genre may say that almost all romance novels have the exact same problem, this is completely not true. The leading authors in this genre, such as Nora Roberts and Linda Howard, have all written brilliant novels whose plots held plenty of surprises. While it may be a bit unfair to compare Probst to other authors, I'm of the firm opinion that in a good romance novel, although the eventual pairing should be obvious from the beginning, everything else should be revealed as the story unfolds rather than foretold prior to the read.

What's more, "The Marriage Mistake" lacks the quick pace that is present in Probst's other works, including the first two books in the "Marriage to a Billionaire" series: "The Marriage Bargain" and "The Marriage Trap." The relationship between Carina and Max rumbles along at a very slow pace, and that may have detracted some spark in their eventual culmination.

But it's not all doom and gloom

Despite all the misgivings listed above, this book is still quite a fun read for the romance novel enthusiasts. The bantering between Carina and Max are quite sharp and the sexual tensions between the pair quite palpable on every page. Perhaps it is a bit over done in some places but romance die-hards would probably love it and still get a kick out of it. The romance scenes are hot and the heart-to-heart scenes sweet so overall, the book does have a good balance of chemistry.

Another positive aspect of this novel is that the characters from the previous two books appear as minor secondary characters. The reader gets to see the previous couple live out their happily-ever-afters. What's more, their support and/or interference in Carina and Max's relationship gives the novel that true Italian big family atmosphere.

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Overall, the experience...

The problem with this novel is that simply by reading the book synopsis on the back cover, the reader already knows the entire plot. The pacing of the plot also detracts some of the spark from this work. However, for romance enthusiasts, especially fans of the previous two books in this series, this is still a fun book to read.

For those looking for a stereotypical romance read: 4/5

For others: 2/5

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