Elly Jordan's has a lot of things going right in her life. She has recently started dating an amazing man, she has just found out that she has a younger brother and she has been selected to be the florist for a celebrity wedding on a reality show, which will give her business a huge amount of exposure. Naturally, when things seem to be going right, everything starts to fall apart.
I experienced a book first with Colleen Oakes' novel, Elly in Love. I read the second book in the series, without having read the first. Actually, I had no idea that this book was part of a series, until I hit the end and found out that the next adventure for Elly was coming soon. I'm really particular about reading things in order, however, this being an accident, I can honestly say that it didn't matter that I hadn't read the first Elly book, Elly in Bloom. Elly in Love stands on its own.
There is a lot to like about this romantic comedy. Elly is an every-woman type of character, much like the appeal of Bridget Jones. She's a bit goofy and clueless, but she has a good heart and it's easy to root for her. I liked that she was a little star-struck with being chosen to participate in a reality show and then even a little more in awe when the celebrity turns out to be a Lindsay Lohan type of train wreck. The story went directions that I wasn't quite anticipating and had good resolutions. I was entertained. I can easily see this story being turned into a Hallmark Channel movie. It's sweet and endearing.
There were a few things that didn't work for me. Occasionally, Ellie was very cutting in her dialogue and it felt out of character. I get that she isn't perfect, but she had moments where she was mean and I didn't like it. I didn't quite get the character of Keith, her boyfriend, until the very last chapter. I didn't understand why she liked him so much, I didn't see it in the story. There was one style choice that Oakes used that could have worked, but fell flat. All of the characters had names, except for a teenage assistant in the flower shop, who was referred to as "Snarky Teenager." This character and her relationship to Elly undergo a major transformation and I felt that by the end of the story, we deserved to have her real name. She was a rounded character and she needed a name. The device of "Snarky Teenager" may have worked at the start of the story, but it overstayed its welcome.
Would I read the other Elly novels?
Oakes is a solid writer and I really liked that character of Elly. I might buy the other stories for a vacation read or a chick-lit pick-me-up. I enjoyed this book, but not enough to immediately rush out and read more Elly stories. I would recommend it for someone in search of a sentimental, romantic comedy.