Monday, June 24, 2013

WEDDING NIGHT


Review of WEDDING NIGHT by SOPHIE KINSELLA
(review based on an advance reading copy)

As always, great voice. Of course, I know by now that I can consistently rely on Kinsella for a natural, entertaining voice. The book hooked me early and easily and the whole thing proved a fun, fast read.

So what’s the amusing premise of Kinsella’s latest hit? Well, Lottie has a tendency to deny, deny, deny when something in her life, especially a romantic relationship, goes wrong. Then that denial finds itself channeled into a rash, regrettable decision. In this case, Lottie’s certain her boyfriend is going to propose to her. When he doesn’t, she’s crushed and immediately breaks up with him. With fate’s horrible timing, an old boyfriend going through his own cycle of impulsive decisions spurred by personal catastrophes shows up out of the blue and does propose to Lottie, who’s still feeling vulnerable and rejected. However, this story isn’t told entirely in Lottie’s perspective. It switches between Lottie and her sister Fliss, who’s determined to shield her younger sibling from herself. Convinced that what Lottie needs is a simple annulment, Fliss goes to extremes to sabotage her sister’s wedding night and prevent a consummation that would prevent an annulment. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

Lottie’s alarmingly na├»ve and reckless but it’s hard to criticize her character too much, because I fear she’s more believable than I like to admit not to mention that this riotous premise hinges on her spontaneity and poor judgment. She’s lovable nonetheless and triggers all my protective instincts (as she does with her sister Fliss). I more than once wanted to shout at the book (or rather Lottie), “What are you thinking? Don’t do that!” Reading about Lottie is very much like watching a train wreck. Horrible and you wish you could do more, but you can’t look away.

Fliss grounds the novel a bit more, though she’s not without her flaws and those are called out near the end. I related to her much more easily, not only regarding Lottie but also re her overwhelming frustration with her ex-husband and every injustice he brings her way as well as her fears that said frustration will consume her with bitterness.

WEDDING NIGHT’s worth reading for the laughs more than anything else. (Perhaps also as a means to comfort yourself that your terrible decisions aren’t nearly as terrible as those of others, fictional or not.) Even knowing what’s coming from reading the back of the book, Kinsella makes every moment enjoyable. I don’t want to ruin the element of surprise for anyone else, but I’ll say that the butler particularly cracked me up.

The book didn’t conclude quite as cleanly as I expect for a Kinsella novel. The resolution feels a little rushed, some problems aren’t exactly sorted out, and beneath all the laughter lurk some serious psychological issues being brushed under the rug. Nevertheless, the ending satisfies and as far as fun fluff reading goes WEDDING NIGHT is top notch.

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