Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Wedding Girl, Madeleine Wickham

"At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Now, ten years later, she is a very different person. Engaged to a man who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect, she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. But one small episode form the past has the power to completely derail her carefully planned nuptials. Milly has locked away this history so securely that she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist- until, with only four days to go, her secret catches up with her.... And when "I do" gives you deja vu, it could be a problem."

I bought this based on the pretty cover and having previously enjoyed the Shopoholic books back when I was a student teacher a million years ago. I don't really get the whole Sophie Kinsella-Madeleine Wickham alter ego thing. To me, her writing is still pretty much the same whichever name is on the cover. This was enjoyable, average, chick lit.

I had two issues with the book. Issue #1 is that I felt the born again Christian characters in the book were completely one-dimensional and fake. They were what "enlightened" secular people imagine religious people to be: hateful & spiteful. That really irritated me but fortunately that wasn't a huge theme of the book.

Issue #2 is that based on the sparkley cover art (in real life the mirror does sparkle) I was expecting a happy, silly story with a mild amount of conflict. But I felt like I was reading the gay version of Beaches which I was not prepared for. Only sadder because the Bette Midler boy wasn't there to hold the Barbara Hershey boy's hand and sing to him at the end. I don't read chick lit to cry and feel totally down on life. So the Rupert-Allan story line? Not my idea of an acceptable plot line. I couldn't handle the letter, Rupert sitting in the art museum crying, & especially the last paragraphs of the book. Way too sad!

Other than those two issues I liked reading this book. I always like reading S.K./M.W.'s books for the UK setting. Now I want to investigate what a "bleeper" is. Remote control? Pager? I'm not sure.

I also loved the conversation Simon and Milly have at the very end of the book when Milly confesses her "low-brow" tastes. That made me laugh. The storylines with Harry & Isobel and James & Olivia were also really sweet. It reminded me at times of Maeve Binchy with all the intertwined relationships being revealed at the end of the story. Which reminded me that I love Maeve Binchy and should reread some of her books this year.

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