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With This Ring, I'm Confused (Ashley Stockingdale Series, No. 3) Paperback – November 11, 2007
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"Better than a venti mocha slathered in whipped cream, With This Ring, I'm Confused, will take you through an array of emotions and leave you with a sigh! A definite keeper!!" --Diann Hunt, author of Hearts Under Construction
"I'm addicted to Kristin Billerbeck's books. Her novels are witty and intelligent and wickedly funny. With This Ring, I'm Confused is chick lit at its finest." --Rene Gutteridge, author of Boo and Boo Who --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Kristin Billerbeck is the author of numerous Christian novels, hitting the CBA bestseller list and winning the coveted ACFW Book of the Year in 2004 for What a Girl Wants and again in 2006 for With this Ring, I’m Confused. She has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitition and been seen on the "Today Show" for her pioneering role in Christian Chick Lit. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from San Jose State University.
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From the back cover:
She's got the rock, so when does happily ever after kick in?
At long last, Ashley Stockingdale--patent attorney, fashionista, and homeowner--can finally add "fiancée" to her spirited resume. That means the next four months will be a dizzying and decadent waltz through aisles of Vera Wang, Kenneth Cole, Sheridan sheets, Kate Spade place settings and Oneida flatware. Well...maybe not.
For starters, the HR department has hired Ashley's ex-boyfriend (yet, the one who went off to India with that other woman) as the new director of software. And now her fiancé is starting to sound crazy--something about moving across country, to Philadelphia of all places. Worst of all, right before her eyes, Scarlett-I-need-some-Prozac O'Hara is hijacking her wedding plans!
Life for our heroine is spinning from out of control to downright confusing. But whether she makes it to the end of the aisle or not, she'll never be at a loss for drama!
I made my husband wait for dinner. I made my dog wait to go outside. I couldn't stop reading this book. I thought this third installment in the Ashley Stockingdale series was the funniest one.
Like in all the books, the dialogue is zippy and fun. With the occasional Ashley-commentary, the entertaining narrative flies along at NASCAR speed. Ashley is incredibly strange at times, which makes you love her despite her dream-boat fiancé. I mean, all women want a guy like that.
Actually, Kevin did border on too-perfect. His "Yes, mother" about-face mid-way through the book was a little too sudden for me--it didn't seem quite in character. But his attitude near the end was great and very in character, so it's all good.
Ashley's nemesis-squared--Emily, and later, Kevin's mother--are extremely well-drawn. Mean, nasty pieces of work, but not cardboard or cliché. They became so real that I was itching for a catfight to erupt any second. That's something, when I get so emotionally worked up over fictional characters.
I did get a bit frustrated when Ashley didn't just smack the brat's face, but since I've heard other readers complain that post-modern Ashley isn't "Christian" enough already, it's probably good she restrained herself like the mature young woman I obviously am not.
What I like about Ashley's spirituality is that she's so obviously flawed, and she's trying so hard and failing so badly. I love that because that's me. She isn't particularly successful at doing what's right. She has very good intentions and they all fly out the window as soon as she opens her mouth. She feels guilty later, she receives forgiveness and affirmation from God, and then she does it all over again. For me, that's a familiar pattern.
The point that I got out of the book is that she's really trying. Sometimes, that's all I can do. I relate to Ashley's relationship with God in that way.
Secondary characters are just as colorful and three-dimensional. I especially loved Ashley's conversations with Purvi and Kay. Sarcastic and fun and teasing.
I personally think this book cannot stand alone. I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much or gotten as many of the jokes without reading the previous books. Since WHAT A GIRL WANTS and SHE'S OUT OF CONTROL are both good reads, I don't see this as a problem.
Ashley is an older heroine--early thirties--so a high-school aged girl might not get some of the humor or appreciate some of Ashley's pain. Any urban, trendy woman (married or single) will definitely feel for Ashley, her environment, and her hang-ups.
While planning the wedding of her dreams, Ashley also has to deal with the possibility of a move to another coast, an unwanted promotion, another misunderstanding which results in a stint in the slammer, a mystery surrounding her roommate Kay, a singles group that thinks she is a traitor, and the return of former paramour, Seth Greenwood, who takes a job at her firm. Also on hand to add to the tension is ever vigilant snobby mother in law, Elaine Novak. She can quiet a room with a single laser remark.
Ashley still harbors insecurity about her and Kevin. You see, she thinks she is average while Kevin looks like Hugh Jackman. We know this because the author takes the time to mention it. Constantly. Over and over. It was bad enough in the first two books, but the constant barrage of Hugh-likenesses in this one grates on the nerves. At one point, she even writes "did I mention he looks like Hugh Jackman?" Yeah, about 30 times now and counting...
Author Billerbeck does the impossible - she just keeps upping the ante and making her character more compelling with each novel. And Hugh Jackman references aside, we are treated to a rollicking trip down the marital aisle that only Ashley can muster - and we are left hoping for a fourth installment.
Each book can stand on its own, but read them in order to get the full Ashley Experience.
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