I checked out this kindle book via WILBOR after a friend described reading it as “entering a bliss-coma.” Perfect for a vacation book, I expected. And if you want an unapologetically romantic, milquetoast, white bread – er, white cake – wish fulfillment fantasy with little and less conflict, Savor the Moment is perfect for you! Laurel McBane is the co-founder and executive pastry chef at Vows, an all-inclusive wedding planning service. Her best friends Mac (photographer), Parker (wedding coordinator), and Emma (florist and decorator) are her co-founders, and the four of them live together in the country mansion where they also host (and cook for) dozens of weddings every summer. Also living and working in their enclave are the soon-to-be husbands of Mac and Emma (see books one and two for their Happily Ever Afters) and Parker’s brother Delaney – the suitably handsome, rich, and dashing hero that Laurel has been in love with half her life.
Among a blur of other people’s weddings, and entirely too closely surrounded by friends and a woman called Mrs. G. who acts as nanny and short-order cook for reasons not made totally clear (is she an employee? a relative? a servant? does she owe them a debt!?), Laurel and Del begin dating. You know the rest. Since they’re already friends, there’s no getting-to-know-you phase. Their whole journey is about negotiating the way their friends and relatives will see them once they’ve transitioned from buddies to bedfellows. This thin love story isn’t a very sturdy backbone for the novel, but it doesn’t really need to be, surrounded as it is by love stories big and small, glorious descriptions of gowns and cakes and desserts and wedding ceremonies, and a lot of meaningful female friendships.
The business side of Vows is pretty interesting; I like reading about women who are smart and talented, and making this business run smoothly – coordinating dozens of vendors and hundreds of guests for almost daily events – requires the characters to be brainy and focused. It’s a tough job, and Roberts’ characters are good at it. It’s great to see an author really understand and illustrate the way weddings work instead of glossing over the details, but reading about those details – the stressed out brides, the last-minute changes, the groomsmen who show up late – can walk the line between boring (if you’re not interested in weddings) and stressful (if you remember these things too clearly from your own wedding). If you adore weddings, brides, cakes, and comforting, easy love stories, this series is the right choice for you.
Simple writing and complex, yet realistic, characters make Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses a great choice for a leisurely summer read. The book follows a group of recent college graduates, Isabella, Mary and Lauren (plus a host of their mutual friends) as they maneuver new lives in New York with its ever-present trials and tribulations. They each have their share of new boyfriends, new jobs and more than an abundant supply of engagement parties and weddings to attend.
Throughout the book, Close presents a funny and vivid portrayal of the complex relationship between friends. Her accurate representation of the misunderstandings, the fights and the ultimate close bond between these young women rings true and I would imagine many readers of this book will see either themselves or their friends in the pages of Girls in White Dresses!
Only a couple more months until my wedding (GAH!) so I picked up Madeleine Wickham’s The Wedding Girl, hoping that the funny, whimsical hijinks of Milly Havill, the main character, would distract me from stressing out. Unfortunately, those hijinks turned out to be kind which cause more panic than giggles.
The story begins when eighteen year old Milly travels to Oxford on her first summer away from home and gets swept up in an intimate friendship with two gay men, Allan and Rupert. Soon the men approach Milly with an elaborate favor–Would she agree to marry American-born Allan so that he can remain in England to be with Rupert? Milly doesn’t hesitate before saying yes and soon finds herself smiling and waving at passerbys as she stands arm-in-arm with Allan in front of the registry office.
Ten years later, Milly has four days until she weds Simon, the son of a local millionaire, and her secret marriage has begun to leak out sending Milly and everyone around her in a downward spiral as they try to make the wedding still happen. This seems like it may just be the perfect set-up for a witty, British comedy ala Death at a Funeral, does it not?! But no! It is heavy and melancholy, but still every bit a page-turner thanks to the questions surrounding the whereabouts of Rupert and Allan. Although I enjoyed The Wedding Girl, I would instead suggest Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble for Brides who are looking for a fun, romantic read with lots of wedding drama.
Are you planning a wedding? If so, you might find these titles helpful.
Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding, written by Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) and her recently married daughter, Jacobina, is done in the traditional “Dear Miss Manners” question and answer style. This in itself is pretty entertaining … well, don’t we all secretly find another person’s dilemma or faux pas a little humorous? Right, as long as it’s not us!
Interspersed throughout are practical, informative comments. For example, “Wedding as Fundraiser” is listed as one of Three Terrible Ideas (the title for chapter three.) Times have changed, but hospitality still takes the cake.
Another book I wished I had read before my son got married (sigh –it was published a year later) Anyway, Mother of the Groom by Sharon Naylor is packed full of practical insights. It’s not just about the rehearsal dinner anymore! And no, you don’t have to shut up and wear beige. Well, you don’t want to upstage the bride and critical comments are best kept to yourself — so I guess it is still kind of true.
Have fun planning!
Weddings are joyful occasions, but they’re also often fraught with emotional upheaval as adult children struggle to find their role in the family and come to terms with old resentments and tragedies from the past.
In Rachel Getting Married, Kym is home on a weekend pass from a drug addiction recovery program to attend her sister’s wedding. Rude, self-absorbed and sarcastic, she immediately stirs up trouble and tries to shift the focus of the weekend to herself. She’s also obviously fragile and damaged and desperate for love and understanding. Rachel is hesitant to reach out to her – Kym’s addictions have had far-reaching consequences and led to a tragedy that tore the family apart. Yet the bonds of love and family, though strained and frayed, hold strong and by the time Kym leaves they’ve reached a deeper understanding of and love for each other.
The various scenes of the wedding and the celebrations and events leading up to it are wonderful, often funny, sometimes heart-wrenching – a chaotic, multi-cultural extravaganza of music and traditions (the dishwasher-loading contest is especially funny) In the end, the lesson is that forgiving yourself may be the hardest thing you do, and that love can save you.
Anne Hathaway earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress with her riveting performance of Kym.