We're reviewing Sophie Kinsella's Wedding Night for our Thursday Evening Reads. It's a quick escapist book, which we think you'll enjoy.
Our Tuesday and Thursday Evening Reads segments are specifically designed for books that we think readers can dive into, and lose themselves in, after a long day at work or school.
Hardcover, 446 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by The Dial Press
Format read: Finished copy (owned)
When I heard that she was coming out with a new book, I was definitely intrigued enough by the synopsis to want to check it out.
She ends up reconnecting with Bern, her ex-boyfriend from her gap year, who reminds her of their one-time promise to marry each other at thirty, if they weren't married already. Lottie quickly agrees, and they plan a honeymoon on the Greek island at Ikonos.
At the same time, Lottie's sister Fliss, is horrified by her sister's actions. She's spent a lifetime picking up after Lottie's broken hearts, and this is just another thing that she feels like she has to fix. She ends up teaming up with Ben's colleague Lorcan, in a complex plan to stop the wedding night from happening.
As relationships collide, people get closer, and situations change, will true love win out in the end?
Things that worked:
Look, it's not a surprise - Kinsella's characters are all slightly silly to a degree. Characters like Becky Bloomwood are sweet and earnest, but they also do very, very silly things. That's what makes them so fun to read - we're basically living vicariously through their exploits. They do the things that we often think of doing, but would never actually do. It's kind of like a literary equivalent of Ally McBeal.
Lottie and Fliss are very much the same. They often behave in slightly silly ways - a particular incident at Fliss's son's school comes to mind - but they're also sweet, earnest and likable. Kinsella's included some wonderful details this time - e.g. Lottie and Fliss's devotion to their respective careers; Lottie's determination to inspire and help others, even when they don't necessarily want to work in her field; etc.
Both women are written in a way which definitely attracts the reader, and makes you want nothing but the best for them. I think they would charm even the most serious of readers.
The book moves fairly quickly from Lottie's breakup, to her reunion with Ben, and finally to the honeymoon shenanigans. Kinsella paces the book perfectly, so even as we get to see Fliss's perspective re: why she's against the wedding, we're still curious enough to want to stick around to see how everything plays out on Ikonos.
As for the honeymoon shenanigans themselves, Kinsella cleverly paces them in a way that actually builds up momentum. Fromm the Teletubbies to a massage gone wrong, Fliss's ploys for stopping Ben and Lottie are paced in a way that alternately makes the reader want to cringe, but also makes them unable to look away. It's kind of like a watching a SNL skit, in some ways.
I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time Kinsella's written a book with alternating POVs. (It's been several years since I've read her other books, so please let me know if I'm remembering incorrectly).
I thought that switching between Lottie and Fliss was a very, very smart choice on Kinsella's part. By tempering Lottie's impetuous behavior with Fliss's more world-weary point-of-view, the reader was able to:
1) get a rounded view of the situation
2) not get exasperated or overwhelmed with either girl's journey.
If the book had just been Lottie or Fliss, I could easily see the reader getting slightly annoyed at their constant POV.
* The ending
The ending was slightly corny, but I loved it. Like a romantic comedy film, this is what I want from my Kinsella books.
Things that didn't work:
In real life, I strongly dislike people who think that they know what's best with you, and try to pull the puppet strings accordingly.
However, I tend to take Kinsella's plots with a grain of salt - they're basically a Richard Curtis film come to life - so I'll give Kinsella a pass on this one.
I recommend Wedding Night for fans of Kinsella's previous books, and I also recommend this book for people who just want a fun, entertaining read to escape from the real world for a few hours.