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‘The Wager’ is laugh out loud funny

Book Review

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The Wager

If you are looking for a sweet, yet hilarious book, The Wager by Rachel Van Dyken is the book for you.

This book, the second in the Sunnyside author’s The Bet series, grabs the reader from the beginning with the antics of sassy, brassy Grandma Nadine. This reader was laughing hysterically after the first chapter.

The Wager is a romantic comedy that centers around “Grandma;” the future groom’s brother, Jake; and the bride-elect’s maid of honor, Char, as they prepare for the impending wedding celebration.

Grandma knows Jake needs to grow up. When she meets Char, she is all the more certain of just how she is going to ruin her grandson. She strips him of his job and thrusts him into the role of helping prepare for his brother’s wedding. Oh, but he isn’t to do it all alone because Char is to help as well.

There is an unspoken rule to never argue with Grandma. The couple complies with her directions and is forced into situations that seem quite bizarre.

Grandma is one of those women who says and does some outrageous and embarrassing things that are guaranteed to make the reader laugh. She explains herself without a filter much to the dismay of her grandson, who thinks she is going crazy.

Jake, who is to be the best man in his brother’s wedding, has been a rich playboy and is learning to grow up. Grandma tells him without argument that she is going to ruin him. She has the power to do so as CEO of the family business and matriarch of the Titus family.

Jake has an interesting dynamic with Char, who is under-appreciated and has had a crush on him since they were in middle school. There is a bittersweet history between the couple, who is meant to be together.

Grandma knows this couple is destined for a future together, but they don’t know what the 86-year-old knows.

Jake and Char grow closer to one another through squabbles and tongue-lashings. They banter and dish out barbs that would offend many in their shoes. But, that banter draws out tender feelings, leaving each questioning the intent of the other.

Van Dyken throughout the book shows each character’s point of view, giving the reader a greater understanding of why they behave the way they do. Sometimes the characters draw on the heartstrings and other times they are frustrating. They aren’t simple, but seemingly complex as many people really are.

Other characters in the book include members of Jake’s family, a state senator, a pushy editor and a few crazy people willing to do Grandma’s bidding.

Just like the first book in this series, readers will be laughing and cheering this couple on. Grandma has some conniving ways and her manipulation is all for the good of the ones she loves most.

There were a few editorial mistakes in The Wager, including a scene where Jake approaches his future sister-in-law, Kacey. The author states “…he found her, standing all alone…” in one paragraph. In the next paragraph, “Char was standing next to her and they were murmuring in hushed tones.”

Otherwise, Van Dyken knows how to bring out the best and worst in her characters to keep the reader engaged.

The Wager hit the stands this past Tuesday and is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and iBooks as an e-book.

The first book in the series, The Bet, is available electronically and in paperback edition.

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