Book Review: Wedding Night

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sophie Kinsella, author of the beloved Confessions of a Shopaholic series, has done it again with her latest stand-alone novel Wedding Night.

This chick-lit story begins much like the movie "Legally Blonde:" 33-year-old Lottie is out to dinner with her boyfriend Richard, assuming that he's finally going to propose. Of course, this is just a miscommunication, and Lottie finds herself deeply saddened and embarrassed when he doesn't get down on one knee.

It just so happens that an old flame contacts Lottie right afterward: Ben, her teenage fling during her gap year in Ikonos, Greece. After a night of reminiscing, they impulsively decide to get married and honeymoon where they met 15 years ago.

The chapters swap between the points of view between Lottie, and her older, recently divorced sister Fliss, who is determined to prevent Lottie from making what she sees as the biggest mistake of her sibling's life.

This book is hilarious, but it also addresses serious issues like love, marriage, divorce, and overall compatibility. Lottie feels such an insane urge to get married that she jumps into a relationship without so much as asking what Ben does for a living.

That societal pressure is something that I see among many girls my age; they believe that marriage is the Holy Grail of "having it all," feeling so rushed to settle down in their 20s regardless of whether they've met the right person.

But Wedding Night also brings up the idea of intervention, whether it's better to let someone make their own mistakes, even if the consequences could be dire. And although the interventions in this novel are often absurd, it's fun nonetheless to see what lengths Fliss will go to in order to sabotage Lottie's plans.

If you're looking for a light read that will be sure to make an excellent rom-com one day, then Wedding Night is a great way to start off your 2014!

Book Review: A Desirable Residence

Rating: 3 out of 5

I've just finished my 19th book! I always enjoy reading Madeleine Wickham novels, but I must admit that she's greatly improved her craft ever since she started going by the pen name Sophie Kinsella. She's most famous for her Confessions of a Shopaholic series, which I haven't read, but I absolutely love all her stand-alone novels, such as Twenties Girl and The Undomestic Goddess.

I reviewed Wickham's book The Wedding Girl over the summer, and after reading dystopian classics 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, it was nice to read something less dense.A Desirable Residence (1996) follows a close-knit group of Brits who are all involved in a certain home in Silchester. Liz and Jonathan Chambers own the home, but they--along with their 14-year-old daughter Alice--needed to move into the tutorial college that they just purchased.

Stuck with two mortgages, they ask real estate agent Marcus Witherstone for help. Soon Marcus finds the Chambers family two tenants: Ginny and her actor husband Piers. Piers is up for a big TV role, and Ginny is obsessed with the life of fame and fortune that they're so close to reaching.

Depressed over the loss of their old home, Alice frequents the place and grows quite fond of hanging out with Piers and Ginny, who seem so much cooler than her parents. However, in the end, she realizes that all of the adults around her are nothing but disappointments.

Needless to say, the title of this book is ironic, because there's nothing desirable about this residence or anyone living in it. I pitied Alice and Marcus' sons, Daniel and Andrew, because they are merely pawns in this ridiculous game their parents play. Marriage, parenthood, career--nothing is sacred to these obnoxious, entitled people.

Unless you're a fan of adulterous spouses, overbearing parents, or spineless fraudsters, you are going to hate 95% of these characters. Wickham does an excellent job of depicting real-life relationships, but as Kinsella, she does the same with characters you also like and respect.

This book was interesting enough to make me want to finish it, but I think that I'll stick with the author's most recent work from now on.

Book Review: The Wedding Girl

Cover of

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Over the weekend I finished The Wedding Girl (1999) by Madeleine Wickham, a UK author who also goes by her pen name Sophie Kinsella. She's most famous for her Shopaholic series, which I haven't read yet (although I've seen the adorable movie "Confessions of a Shopaholic" starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy). However, I've read and loved all of Kinsella's stand-alone novels: Can You Keep a Secret? (2005), The Undomestic Goddess (2006), Remember Me? (2008), and Twenties Girl (2009).

Needless to say, I wasn't worried that I wouldn't enjoy Wickham's older work. The Wedding Girl is about Milly Havill, who married an American gay man at 18 so he could stay in the UK, but now a decade later, she's about to marry her fiance Simon Pinnacle--The wedding's days away, and she hasn't gotten divorced yet! Of course, chaos explodes when her secret finally gets out, but the question remains: who spilled the beans?

This is a hilarious story with many serious moments. Wickham addresses issues like homosexuality, unplanned pregnancy, and death with poise and tact, so the reader never feels the writing is polarized. The subplots of Milly's gay friends and her sister's secret pregnancy are just as interesting as all the wedding drama, and all the characters are equally frustrating and endearing in their own way.

Many readers prefer Wickham's alter-ego Kinsella, and I agree, but only because I believe that she's improved her writing over time. Fortunately for her, her success has allowed her to re-release her older novels, including her very first novel The Tennis Party, which will be released again in the US on August 30 under the title 40 Love.

The Wedding Girl is definitely a character novel with little actual moving action, but it's a good read nonetheless. I would recommend Kinsella's stand-alone novels with more enthusiasm. I always look forward to her books!