The Week Before the Wedding
If a reader thinks that having her fifty-something year-old mother instigating a conga line dance with shirtless beefcakes through her formal bridal tea is behavior that should elicit a reaction of only mild indulgence, then they will probably enjoy this book. If the maid of honor hocking a loogie and sabotaging the pre-wedding diet is your idea of outrageous humor, then this is indeed a book that is deserving of your money. But I am glad I did not have to pay for it because it was not the book for me. I can see how some people would think this book is very funny and some of it was…slightly. However, I could not get past the sophomoric humor and the black and white choices that created the backbone of this novel.
Emily McKellips is a reformation project ten years in the making. When she was just out of college, she impulsively married Ryan Lassister who she thought was the love of her life. Dirty dishes and smelly socks quickly intruded on their marital bliss and Emily left Ryan, never looking back. Now ten years later with a carefully coordinated life designed to bring order out of chaos, Emily is about to marry transplant surgeon Grant Cardin. Tradition has become something Emily craves like a lifeline after a childhood filled with multiple stepfathers and a mother who refuses to grow up. So having her wedding at the Cardins’ yearly resort in Valentine, Vermont seems the perfect way to begin her idyllic life.
Ryan Lassiter never understood why Emily left him and he never got over his ex-wife and true love. So when he finds out she is about to remarry, he turns up at the resort claiming to be looking over a potential filming site for one of his horror movies. It seems in the intervening years Ryan has become a famous horror movie mogul. From the moment he and Emily reconnect Ryan not only tries to ingratiate himself back into Emily’s life, but also into the lives of everyone in the wedding party – including the groom.
Grant Cardin is a transplant surgeon and gentleman extraordinaire. He is handsome, rich, kind, solicitous, compassionate, good in bed…you get the picture. He is perfect. Or at least we have this impression for most of the book. Then a patient who has been waiting for a transplant (lungs I think, but does it matter?) has an organ waiting for him and Grant has to leave the resort. This leaves space for Ryan, Emily’s stepsister and best friend Summer and Caroline (another wife of a transplant surgeon) to begin placing doubts in Emily’s mind.
I really did not care at all for Summer who was Emily’s primary foil. She and Emily have been best friends since Georgia (Emily’s mother) married Summer’s father. She was just too immature for my tastes. The major conflict in this book was whether Emily should be staid and stodgy or wild and carefree. For most of the book there was no middle ground alternative given: drink jello shots or wear sweater sets. Georgia, Emily’s mother is about as much of a caricature as one can get. She is the quintessential cougar who is always on the lookout for a hunky man whose behavior has made girlfriends her own age impossible to attain. We see a little depth added to her character late in the book, but it was much too late.
When I began this review and started thinking about all of the characters, I realized that I did not like any of them. Emily had absolutely no backbone. Ryan was supposed to be the white knight who rescues her, but all I felt about him was …meh. Grant was almost like a potted plant that needed watering so it was placed over in the corner, out of the way. Bev (the future mother-in-law) and her sisters were annoying. The most fun I had reading this book was when I reached page 336 and it was finally over. It took me over two weeks to get through this book. I read 10 other books between chapters and re-reading chapters and placing it in front of me on a regular basis so I would MAKE myself finish. This book has an average rating of 4.5 stars at Amazon, so obviously some people really liked it. I was just not one of those people.