A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman
(Ballantine Books, 2014, 288 pages)
I’ve been looking for quicker, more light-hearted reads since I don’t have as much quality free time on my hands (having a baby really changes things). A Wedding in Provence sounded like it would fit into those parameters. While definitely a light, quick read I felt pretty meh about it the whole time. I wasn’t invested in the characters and felt like I was just reading to get through it.
Olivia and Brody have traveled to Provence to get married. Olivia’s best friend, Emily, has a small inn in the city and has offered it up for the big day. Both Olivia and Brody were married before and after heartbreak they managed to find one another. The wedding will be a small affair with both Olivia’s daughters in attendance, along with Brody’s mother, his best friend, and Emily and her husband.
As the wedding festivities begin the focus shifts to issues going on with the various members of this wedding party. Sussman touches on everything from infidelity to relationship and job dissatisfaction. It gets increasingly difficult for Olivia to stay upbeat as the wedding day looms closer. Can the love between her and Brody remind everyone of what’s important and why they’re all there?
If you want a light read that could perhaps best be classified as “chick lit” you might consider picking this up. In my opinion there are better options out there, though.
Friendship By: Emily Gould
(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2014 258 pages)
Bev and Amy have been best friends since they started working at the same publishing house. Since then, they’re lives have gone in different directions but they’ve always seemed to stay close. Bev is currently temping after moving to Madison with her boyfriend was a bust so now she’s struggling to get by in New York. Amy was on the verge of social media success before her former boss black balled her so she now works at a small known blog and spending the same amount of money as when she had her last job. Nothing seemed to rattle their friendship until Bev gets pregnant.
This was not my favorite read. I thought I would like the aspect of how major life changes can sometimes affect friendships but I was too distracted by the story as a whole. Gould included a lot of great details that could have led to deeper stories to really show off these characters but instead she just lightly touched on them before letting them go. Amy was clearly a selfish and self-centered person and I wish Gould had really went for it and played up the dynamic of the parent-child relationship Bev and Amy seemed to have. Also the dialogue bugged me with way too many “ha’s” and style changings for my liking.
Every Boy’s Got One by Meg Cabot
(Pan Macmillan, 2005, 328 pages)
I hadn’t read any Meg Cabot before, and when I saw this title in my ebook browsing, I thought I would give it a try. Jane Harris is the friend of Holly who is eloping with her boyfriend, Mark, to Italy. The book begins as a travel journal that Jane intends to keep for them so they can remember their elopement. The rest of story is told as conversations in emails, handwritten notes, texts, and some private journal entries.
Mark’s best friend is Cal—he and Holly are acting as witnesses to the wedding. There is an immediate disdain between Cal and Jane at the airport, which further progresses as they fly across the Atlantic and get settled in at their villa in Italy. Jane is fully supportive of this elopement as she believes Holly and Mark are perfect for each other, while Cal doesn’t think so because he has been burned by love before. Jane is determined to make sure Cal doesn’t ruin anything for Holly and Mark’s special day as their families have been less than supportive.
I found this book to be a fun and humorous read, especially the arguing between Cal and Jane. I liked it so much that I am planning to read the rest of the “The Boy” series. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys chick lit.
Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 2013, 432 pages)
After Issy is fired from her office job by her boss/boyfriend, she has no idea what her next step should be. With some inspiration from her grandfather and a little help from her bank manager Austin, she decides to open a cupcake café on a quiet street in London. With the business mentality of helping people to gain long-lasting patrons and creating a comfy and inviting ambiance, Issy opens her café with quick success. Just as she starts to develop feelings for Austin, her ex-boyfriend comes back offering everything she’s always wanted from him. But what is the true meaning behind his offers and can she juggle everything with her booming business and delicious cakes and coffee?
This was a cute and cozy read. There was nothing too difficult to digest and you could see where the story was going long before it got there. The characters were especially enjoyable as everyone stood out with their different personalities and qualities. The recipes she included looked interesting and delicious but a tad too complicated for me. I’m more of an instant box mix kind of baker. Overall it was a light, fluffy read that provided a nice break between heavy reading.
Set Up in SoHo by Dee Davis
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 2009, 320 pages)
Based on the summary I thought I’d enjoy Set Up in SoHo a lot more than I did. I’ve been in kind of a light/romance mood lately and this seemed like a title I’d like. Unfortunately the writing didn’t live up to my expectations. Set in New York City, Andi has her own cooking show that combines gossip, cooking, and restaurant reviews. She’s eager to take things to the next level and make it to prime time television. Right around the time this could be a reality, however, she discovers that her long-term boyfriend has been cheating on her with a socialite she detests. In her rush to get away from him Andi winds up falling down a sidewalk shaft and getting rescued by a handsome stranger, Ethan.
After Ethan drops her off at the hospital Andi is surprised when they have another accidental run-in. They mutually agree on a date and the chemistry is definitely there, even though Andi’s hesitant to hop into anything after her recent break-up. This is especially true when she finds out Ethan comes from one of the wealthiest families in Manhattan. While she also comes from money, she’s pretty against dating anyone else from that societal realm. In the midst of all this, Andi’s other friends are coupling up thanks to the help of Andi’s matchmaker aunt, Althea. Andi hates when Althea noses her way into other people’s love lives and has always had a somewhat combative relationship with her aunt. When Althea finds out about Ethan Andi does everything she can to try and keep them apart – but she might be surprised to find out the two have already met…
This had a lot of the elements I like in a story, but Davis’s writing style just didn’t suck me in. I wasn’t at all invested in any of the characters and I just didn’t feel like the writing matched the plot. This is definitely more chick-lit than romance, so if you’re looking for some *heat* I’d advise you to look elsewhere. Guess I need to get back to Susan Elizabeth Phillips 😉
Playing James by Sarah Mason
(Ballantine Books, 2004, 384 pages)
Adding yet another British chick lit novel to my repertoire, Playing James is a fun and witty romantic comedy. Holly Colshannon is an aspiring reporter for the Bristol Gazette who has a way of creating stories although they may not be true (i.e., telling her boss that she is the cousin of some famous sports player even though she isn’t). So, she is presently surprised to find out that she will be the new crime reporter after the current one left for another position. However, what she didn’t really count on was that she would be shadowing Detective James Sabine, who would rather she went away, while covering a series of burglaries. What ensues is a series of hilarious happenstances and a growing attraction between the two. Though, there is one small problem… Detective Sabine is engaged. Of course, I enjoyed this book because I am an avid British chick-lit person. If you enjoy light-hearted and fun romantic comedies, this is the book for you!
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
(Bantam Press, 2013, 368 pages)
This is the most recent novel for Sophie Kinsella, the author of the Shopaholic series. While I didn’t find that series engaging I thought I’d give Wedding Night a try. It was the perfect read for traveling! The story essentially revolves around two sisters, Lottie and Fliss. Lottie is SURE that her boyfriend is going to propose to her, so when this doesn’t turn out to be the case Lottie impulsively breaks up with him and he sets off for a new job in America. Then Ben, an old flame, reconnects with her, reminding her of the vow they took that if they weren’t both married by 30 they would marry each other. Lottie has a tendency to make rash decisions following a break-up, so when Ben quickly proposes she accepts. They decide to get married ASAP, making the decision to wait for their wedding night to consummate their relationship.
When Fliss, Lottie’s older sister, learns about all this she doesn’t know what to do with herself. In the midst of a bitter divorce she doesn’t want to see Lottie in the same situation. With that in mind Fliss makes it her mission to keep Lottie and Ben from “enjoying” their wedding night in the hopes that they can annul the marriage when Lottie finally comes to her senses. Tied up in this scheme is Ben’s friend, Lorcan. He was with Fliss in trying to keep Lottie and Ben from getting married in the first place, but his priorities are the business he shares with Ben and wanting to make sure nothing happens to compromise it. Not surprisingly, a romantic element comes into play between Lorcan and Fliss.
This was a quick, enjoyable read. Very light-hearted and a good distraction.