I Take This Man

I Take This Man

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by Valerie Frankel

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Here comes the bride . . . there goes the groom.

Penny Bracket waited two years to marry dream man Bram Shiraz. Then on the morning of the Big Day, while she's trying on her veil, Penny receives the worst two-line letter of her life: "Penny, I can't go through with it. Sorry, Bram."

Penny's hurt and upset. But Esther, Penny&


Here comes the bride . . . there goes the groom.

Penny Bracket waited two years to marry dream man Bram Shiraz. Then on the morning of the Big Day, while she's trying on her veil, Penny receives the worst two-line letter of her life: "Penny, I can't go through with it. Sorry, Bram."

Penny's hurt and upset. But Esther, Penny's divorced mom, wants Bram's head on a platter. So Mom ambushes the cold-footed coward before he hot-foots it out of town, bonks him on the head with a champagne bottle, and spirits him away to a hidden room in her gargantuan mansion in Short Hares, New Jersey. Esther doesn't want much. All Bram has to do is write personal, heartfelt apologies to each of the two hundred disappointed wedding guests . . . and eat every mouthful of the very expensive gourmet wedding feast that has gone to waste. Then he'll be free to leave.

Penny doesn't want Bram tortured. She just wants answers to "why" . . . and maybe a little revenge. Will she discover her runaway groom is locked away in the attic? Will Bram's widowed father—handsome tough-guy Keith Shiraz—be able to locate his missing son . . . and maybe seduce Esther Bracket in the bargain? Will Bram be able to maintain his athletic figure after consuming two hundred entrées and thousands of baby quiches? Read on!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Veteran chick lit and YA author Frankel (Hex and the Single Girl; Fringe Girl) delivers a kooky romp about a wedding gone very awry. Penny Bracket, a spoiled new-money Jersey girl, hates her $15,000 wedding dress, but loves her fiancé, Bram Shiraz. So when she receives an "I can't go through with it" note from Bram just before she's due to march down the aisle, she's upset. Penny's mother, Esther, couldn't be happier—Bram, she thought, never was right for Penny—but maternal rage takes over, and when she finds him packing his suitcase in his hotel room, she knocks him out with a champagne bottle and whisks his unconscious body to a hidden room in her mansion. While Penny tries to mend her broken heart by shopping with best friend Vita, Bram's father, Keith, gets hot on Esther's tail—er, trail—as he searches for Bram. Esther's attraction to Keith thaws her icy heart for the first time since the long-ago mysterious death of her cheating husband, Russell. Secrets are revealed, heads are cracked, and protection orders are issued as Keith realizes Esther kidnapped his son, and Penny learns the reason Bram left her. A too-swift and confusing climax gives way to a haltingly fluffy ending. Frankel's latest is clumsily over-the-top yet insubstantial. (Apr.)

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I Take This Man

By Valerie Frankel Avon Copyright © 2007 Valerie Frankel
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-078555-0

Chapter One Penny Bracket, twenty-three, looked ghostly in white. She might as well have cut eyeholes in a sheet and thrown that over her head instead of wearing the gown.

"I'm the corpse bride," she said, staring at her ashen pallor in the vanity's mirror. "As soon as the ceremony's over, I'm stripping."

"You could take it off now," suggested Esther Bracket, forty-five, Penny's mother. "Skip the ceremony entirely."

Penny frowned at her mom's face in the mirror. Esther was seated across the jewel box bridal prep room on a damask-covered settee, wearing a smart pearl-gray suit with three-inch heels that disappeared in the carpeting. Around her wrists, neck, and fingers, Esther sparkled in diamonds, expensive and plentiful, five pieces more than she needed. But in New Jersey, excessiveness was the rule, be it big hair, loud clothes, garish decorating, large personality, violent crime, government corruption, or political scandal.

Penny was a Jersey girl. She was born a few exits up the Garden State Parkway. Sinatra was also a native. Like Frank, residents did things Their Way. The state song: "Born to Run" (which, ironically, was about escaping NJ). The state's motto: "Come see for yourself," since no one who lived here could be trusted to speak the truth. The state's role model: Tony Soprano. One of the nation's smallest states, geographically, it had the densest population. In more ways than one.

Some Jerseyites set themselves apart with decorum, dignity, and discretion. Penny just didn't happen to know any. Despite Penny's stated preference for a modest wedding, Esther insisted on a lavish Short Hares Plaza affair. Although she'd never admit it, Esther had shelled out $75,000 for her daughter to marry a man she despised just to impress the neighbors.

"Full house?" asked Penny, sweeping her cheeks with blush, doing what she could to look like a living person.

"Packed," said Vita Trivoli, twenty-three, the third person in the tight room, Penny's best friend and maiden of honor. "Two hundred of the fanciest white people I've ever seen. Why don't you go check it out, Mrs. Bracket? You probably need to talk to the wedding planner. Or greet guests. Or do something that takes you out of this room." The maiden of honor, a redhead, was not subtle. Today, she wore a magenta skintight backless, strapless gown along with every piece of jewelry she owned.

"Your makeup becomes you, Vita," returned Esther, of the razor-plucked Garbo brows and flawless nude foundation. "I've never had the courage to go garish."

"But your base coat of bitterness gives you a perfect je ne sais quoi," said Vita faux-admiringly.

"It's a very thin layer," said Esther, patting her chiseled cheekbone.

"By thin," asked Vita, "do you mean brittle?"

"I'm so glad you two have finally found something to talk about," said Penny, trying to defuse the tension between her mom and best friend.

"You realize you're the first person from college to get married," Vita said to her. "That means you win."

When Vita said the word "married," Esther flinched.

"I win?" asked Penny. "Getting married is like a game show to you?"

"You get fabulous prizes," said Vita, gesturing toward the heavily laden gift table, its carved legs trembling under the tonnage of wrapped boxes from Tiffany's. "You get a dream vacation-to Hawaii. You stand in the winner's circle and kiss your dreamy husband while everyone applauds. It's just like Wheel of Fortune."

"The wheel of fortune turns," said Esther grimly.

"You really have to shut up, Mom," said Penny.

"If you hate the gown so much, why did you buy it?" asked Esther.

"Bram wanted traditional," said Penny.

"For Bram's sake, you spend $15,000 on a dress you despise. What else will you do for his sake?" asked Esther. "What other compromises and sacrifices will you make over the years? How's your wrist today? And your jaw?"

Penny instinctively reached to touch her jaw, but she caught herself and redirected her hand to fiddle with her veil.

Esther growled and started pacing the small room. Penny watched her mom move in and out of the mirror's frame. Esther's calves were identical to her own. Long. Strong. Physically, Penny was the brunette version of blond Esther-minus the ravages of twenty years of bitterness. Penny had often wondered what her mother would look like without the black cloud over her head.

"I love Bram," said Penny serenely. "He loves me. Our relationship is based on honesty and respect. We're devoted to each other now, as we will be forever."

"Okay, even I thought that sounded canned," said Vita.

"Walk away," pleaded Esther.

"Never," said Penny, slamming down her blush brush, pink powder dusting the vanity. She swiveled to face her mom. "Leaving someone at the altar is a deplorable, cowardly, inexcusable act, punishable by death. The lowest of the low. That's the opposite of who I am."

"Does that make you the highest of the high?" asked Vita. "Wish I were."

"Sacrifice," said Esther. "Compromise."

"I'm getting married," declared Penny. "End of conversation."

She swiveled back to the mirror. The tension was getting to her. Her head swam suddenly (just a few strokes). She looked at the mirror, and the glass seemed to ripple, like a pebble dropped into a still pond.

A knock at the door. Had to be Ms. Wistlestop, the Short Hares Plaza's wedding planner, coming to tell her it was time to walk the walk. Penny's heart beat its wings. She stood up and arranged her voluminous skirts, the ten layers of tulle and crinoline.

Vita said, "That's your cue," and opened the door.

Oddly, Ms. Wistlestop was not standing on the other side of it.

Penny said, "Morris? What are you doing here? You're supposed to be waiting at the altar with Bram."

Morris Nova, twenty-five, Bram's best man, wore a rented tux. Most men looked sophisticated in the penguin suit, James Bondish. Morris could wear a king's raiment, though, and still telegraph the same rugby-on-the-weekends never-quite-clean masculinity. He could've brushed his hair on my wedding day, thought Penny. He could've shaved.


Excerpted from I Take This Man by Valerie Frankel Copyright © 2007 by Valerie Frankel. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Valerie Frankel has written over thirty books, including three New York Times bestsellers. Her articles have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; Parenting; Self; Glamour; Allure; and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

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I Take This Man 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Teaandbooks More than 1 year ago
i taught this book was great from beginning to end.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
On the day they were to exchange I do, Bram Shiraz informs Penny Bracket that he cannot marry her, leaving her a note saying he is sorry and not much more. Penny is upset especially since Bram did not have the guts to face her after all they were seeing one another for two years so he owed her that much. --- While Penny wants to know why, her mother Esther, distrustful of men, is outraged by Bram¿s cowardly negative. She confronts him with a champagne bottle to his head and takes Bram prisoner to her Short Hares, New Jersey vast estate. Esther demands Bram write a personal note apologizing to each of the more than two hundred guests and eat every piece of the massive expensive wedding food that Esther has had shipped to her estate. Bram's widowed father Keith searches for his suddenly vanished son to learn why also. All roads lead to Esther Bracket, but no evidence of his son seems anywhere so perhaps a seduction is in order to obtain the facts. --- This tale is obviously over the top but readers will enjoy this zany contemporary romantic comedy. The story line is fast-paced once Esther performs the abduction and never slows down not even for a seduction or a bite or two zillion. The CIA will want to hire Esther as her form of torture (eating quiche for 200 plus guests) make rendition obsolete. Fans will enjoy Valerie Frankel¿s fun lighthearted romp. --- Harriet Klausner