Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
(Knopf, 2012, 320 pages)
The Van Meters are spending the weekend in their vacation house on the island of Waskeke for the wedding of their oldest daughter, Daphne. The drama of the upcoming wedding doesn’t stop there, though. Livia, the other Van Meter daughter, is still trying to get over a breakup that left her wondering what would have happened if she had kept the pregnancy after Teddy dumped her. Winn Van Meter has always had a strange connection to Daphne’s bridesmaid, Agatha, and with such close quarters, it is hard for him to keep his distance. Biddy has been trying to plan the perfect wedding for her daughter but with all the drama that is being stirred up, it’s becoming difficult for her to just keep it together.
I thought this book was fine for a debut novel. I think I would have enjoyed it more if there was one character, especially a narrating character, that I liked. Winn was entirely too self-centered and pompous for me to want good things to happen to him. I don’t think he ever redeemed himself and just made things worse in every awkward situation. Livia did have some redeeming qualities in the end but she was just so desperate. I have heard good things about Shipstead’s new novel, Astonish Me, so I will be curious to see how she poses the character’s in that story.
You can also read Julia’s review of this book.