"A wedding planner and political speechwriter try to find true love behind the farce of an engagement"
Reviewed by Patricia Woodside
Posted July 28, 2011
Wedding planner Jorie Burke and political speechwriter
Cooper Murphy have been seeing each other for a year. When
Jorie's dying mother suggests they get married, Cooper, the
romantic is happy to oblige. Jorie takes a little
convincing, but agrees. Eventually, they'll be in love.
Except when it's time to write his vows, Cooper decides
their wedding is all wrong and breaks up with Jorie at the
cake tasting, leaving her just like her mother was. Alone.
But then Cooper needs Jorie to marry him after all. Will
Jorie say yes to yet another wedding farce?
Ellen Hartman has written a fun story about a strong,
political family and a woman whose whole life has revolved
around the search for family. Still, Jorie and Cooper can't
quite seem to get their hopes and dreams on to the same page.
I love the unique characters Hartman created for this story.
With all the Washington intrigue in the news, it's not hard
to imagine a family like the Murphy family. At first
glance, what seems to be the end of Jorie and Cooper's story
actually launches them on to the path to true love. The
only thing that was a bit off was the title, in that it
comes from a single line in the story and not one that for
me, encapsulates the tale. Still, the story is fun and
touching and a very pleasant read.
Wedding planner Jorie Burke—aka "the wedding
whisperer"—knows all about staging the perfect event. So
when it comes to her own wedding, she has every detail
worked out: the perfect venue, the perfect flowers, even the
most brilliant gift registry idea. Not to mention a perfect
fiancé…the brilliant, gorgeous senator's son, Cooper Murphy.
It's going to be the Washington wedding of the century.
All that's missing is the perfect love.
But halfway through their cake-tasting is a terrible time
for Cooper to point that out to her! Can it get any more
humiliating for a wedding planner than having her groom call
it off? Well, yes, it can. Because it turns out her ex has
yet another proposition….
"MY MOM LOOKED A little better tonight, didn't she?"
Jorie asked. It was a clear night but the D.C. streets were
practically empty. Cooper had suggested that he walk her
home after their hospital visit, and Jorie was glad he was
with her. Her mom was dying. Probably before the year was
over, although her doctor had hopes that his latest
treatment cocktail would buy a few extra months. It was
almost impossible to accept that her mom would soon be gone.
Cooper and his family had met her mom, Chelsea, only a
few months ago, but they'd taken her into their hearts. For
the first time, Jorie was sharing her mom with other people
who loved Chelsea. It felt like a luxury.
Cooper took her hand. "She got some news today that
perked her up," he said.
"What news? Why didn't she tell me?"
"She wanted it to be a surprise."
The spotlights on the front of the Capitol building
glinted in his brown eyes, making them sparkle as he looked
down at her. Suddenly he swung in front of her and dropped
to one knee. "Jorie, will you marry me?"
"What? No!" she said. The guard halfway up the steps
straightened. He held his gun casually in front of his
chest, but the Capitol was no place for messing around.
"You've got to be—"
"The Wish Team granted your mom's wish," Cooper said,
never looking away from her.
"What wish?" Jorie could feel her world starting to spin.
"She wants to give you a princess wedding. The one she's
always dreamed of. The Wish Team is picking up the tab—"
"Wait— My wedding? To whom?"
He stood up. She'd hurt him. Well, obviously. She was
acting as if he was the last man she’d ever consider
marrying when he'd been the one keeping her afloat these
past few months. "Oh, God, Coop. I'm sorry. I'm
just—this is all..."
Suddenly he took her by the waist and swung her up onto
the third step. The stairs made her slightly taller than
him, but the difference in perspective didn't do much to
calm her. She put her hands on his shoulders to steady
"Jorie, she made this wish for us. I know it sounds nuts,
but as soon as she told me, I knew she was right—the idea is
inspired. Marry me."
She couldn't think with him looking up at her, proposing
to her. How many times had her mom described this scene to
her when she was a little girl? Someday, Jorie, your
prince will ask you to marry him. Cooper was sweet and
smart and funny and gorgeous—everything she'd ever wanted in
a guy. She thought she loved him, why wouldn't she love him?
"We met six months ago, Cooper," she said, trying to
remind herself why she had to say no. "You can't let my
mom's schemes get in the way of your good sense. She's
obsessed with romance—weddings—and always has
The guard had moved down a few steps, his stance alert.
Cooper noticed him for the first time and waved one hand.
"Good luck to you," the guard called back, but he now
stood close enough to hear what they said. Cooper put his
arm around her shoulders and escorted her across the
sidewalk, out of view. He stopped under a streetlight and
reached into the breast pocket of his suit. She expected him
to come out with a ring box, and when he didn't, she wasn't
sure if she should be relieved or disappointed. He handed
her a packet of papers.
"Okay, yes. I want to make your mom happy. If we get
married now, she can be there to see it. But I wouldn't be
asking you if it wasn't right. I knew you'd say we haven't
been together long enough, but if we wait...your mom..."
He couldn't finish, and she realized she wasn’t the only
one who loved her mom. "I wrote this for you," he said.
She took the little booklet and saw that he'd drawn a
picture on the cover. The people in the picture were quick
sketches in the spidery black ink she recognized from his
fountain pen. The man was about twice as tall as the woman,
who had a binder under one arm and a slice of cake in her
other hand. She and Cooper, no doubt. He'd drawn a heart
around the couple and underneath had written, "To be
She turned the page and started reading. It was a fairy
tale—the worst kind of romantic nonsense.
Her hands shook as she read each page.
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