by Wendy Markham

February 2006
ISBN: 0-373-89564-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Red Dress Ink
Trade Paperback

Tracey Spadolini is surrounded by weddings. First, her boss is getting married then her good friend Buckley becomes engaged. Even her gay best friend Raphael is planning on tying the knot with his partner. This does not make for a happy Tracey. Her mind is constantly on weddings, and it doesn’t help when her may-be future mother-in-law informs her that Jack Candell, Tracey’s loving boyfriend of nearly two years, has asked for his mother’s diamond. Thrilling, right?

Unfortunately not, as Tracey is forced to wait ever so impatiently for the arrival of that diamond on her finger. The big question of this book is, when will Tracey become engaged? She is consumed by the thought of engagements, weddings, and of becoming Mrs. Jack Candell, which regrettably doesn’t leave a lot of room for other momentous plot points. There is some growth in her relationship with Jack, some edifying moments that remind her that love is truly all that matters, but at the heart of Slightly Engaged is Tracey’s obsessive need to be engaged.

Slightly Engaged is bland and slightly boring. There is plenty of action in this story, but all of it becomes so wrapped up in Tracey’s need to be engaged that it doesn’t seem like this story goes anywhere. At some points, Tracey comes off as downright selfish and manipulative, not good qualities in a heroine. What starts off as a plucky and sardonic attitude towards engagements and marriage at the beginning of the story becomes annoying and fanatical. Tracey’s big epiphanies about life and love come way too late in this story to save her character. The only thing that kept me reading was because I wanted to see how Jack would finally propose, and even that turned out to be lackluster.

All in all, I’ve read better from Wendy Markham, an author I usually consider witty and charming. Her writing is solid, funny at times, but a plodding plot and an obsessive heroine do not make for strong storytelling. If you really want to find out what happens to Tracey, the heroine from Ms. Markham’s other two novels, Slightly Single and Slightly Settled, I’d suggest checking this book out from the library.

Reviewed in January 2006 by Sarah.

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