Sunday Afternoon Reads: Not Quite A Bride by Kirsten Sawyer

I've been on holidays for the last two weeks and as well as reading books that I will be able to use for my Year 13 literature circles, I've also been doing some light and fluffy reading. As those of you whom have read this series from the beginning will know, I do like a little bit of chick lit. It's like chocolate pudding; delicious, indulgent but ultimately unlikely to improve your (mental) health. A visit to the local library post-lunch with one of my friends who is planning a marriage led to the selection of "Not Quite a Bride" by Kirsten Sawyer from the many books available.

It's no secret that I see myself living a quite traditional life. I see the progression of a serious relationship as getting married and starting a family and I hope to see that happen. I used to have this elusive idea that I'd be married by the time I turned 25 which is not going to happen (poor PianoMan if I was still holding on to that impossible milestone). Having seen several friends take that stroll down the aisle, I'm ready to do that with the right man at the right time... but what if the desire to have a wedding was so overwhelming that you felt like you couldn't wait?

This is the premise for Ms. Sawyer's novel. Molly wants to have a wedding so badly that she's willing to forgo the marriage side of things. Her younger sister is already married and the news that Molly will soon become an aunt sends her over the edge. She hires a struggling (and gay) actor, Justin, to play her boyfriend/fiancee for a year and sets about planning a whirlwind courtship and wedding. The plan is that Justin will leave her at the altar and she will set about enjoying her reception with her family and friends.

The problems start when her family and friends meet Justin and they all like him - they really like him. All bar Molly's closest friend from college, Brad. Brad is engaged to Claire who comes across in Molly's view as a spoilt ice princess. As Molly and Justin's "relationship" progresses, Molly and Brad's friendship falls apart. Molly's brother comes out to the family and becomes party to Molly and Justin's deception (it's the only way Justin can support him in his newly gay lifestyle) and mounting excitement and parental pressure begin to make the deception feel overwhelming.

There are some funny moments in the novel that play on Justin's effeminate side - the florist comments that she is lucky to have an involved fiancee with such good taste. The mother plays overbearing with that hint of "it's because I care" so well. The details of the wedding planning, while possibly being a little over-described, really appealed to a former event planner like myself. The ending is, perhaps, a little trite and Disney but there's nothing wrong with a happily ever after.

Read this curled up on the couch on a grey day - for me it was a library borrow, rather than a purchase, but I would read more from this author.

3 stars out of a possible 5.

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