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Sarah Webb is an Irish writer who has a string of 'chick-lit' books to her name. I've read a few of her books before and I enjoy the easy reading and fun nature of them. They are a great accompaniment to a nice relax on a sun lounger, with a glass of something alcoholic and a view of everlasting sea.
Always The Bridesmaid is one of her older novels, published back in 2003, but I stumbled across it in the '3 for £5' section of The Works the other day. It's available on Amazon for around £4, if you don't have The Works near you.
Amy is a bit down in the dumps to say the least. She has spilt up with her fiancé and is still at the stage where friends and family tip-toe around, tilt their heads sympathetically when they talk to you and you doubt your own choices in love, life and everything else. When she finds out that, what is supposed to be, her best friend has jumped into the arms (and bed) of her ex, Amy hits rock bottom. To make it worse, her little sister has just come back from Australia with a tanned and fit rugby player with impossibly perfect teeth and a rock on her finger, and her remaining best friend's long term boyfriend has decided to make an honest woman of her too.
Frustrated with her inability to make good of her long held dreams of becoming a children's presenter, mournfully sad that she is surrounded by talk of wedding cakes, dresses and decorations and down right miserable that she will have to be bridesmaid twice, Amy quickly becomes a nightmare to be around. Will anything pull her out of this bad snap? Is she ever going to find her night in shining armour? Or will she have to come to terms with the fact that she will, for eternity, be Always The Bridesmaid?
I have mixed emotions about this book. Sarah Webb does what she does very well. I have read a few of her other books and enjoyed them for what they are. This one was a bit different for me. Whilst I enjoyed it in the end and would probably recommend it, if this is your kind of thing, I found that it was very slow to get going. I always knew where the story was going, it is pretty much par for the course in this kind of book, but I felt like I spent the first half of the book wishing it would get there. This was such a shame, because when the story eventually did get 'there', I really enjoyed it.
I think that one of the main reasons that I found the first half of the book so trying, is that the Amy, the main character, is a little irritating. I understand that she is a bit sad about the demise of her relationship, but it seems that she didn't particularly enjoy it anyway and she was the one that ended it - so I couldn't see why she mourned it quite so much. By the start of the book, Amy has been separated from her ex for a while, so we don't really see what went on, but throughout the rest of the story there are flashbacks to events in her relationships and they don't exactly paint a good picture of it. I guess I just found it hard to understand why she was so negative. Amy has a negative outlook in general and she is mean and snappy to her family and friends and I generally found it quite tiresome. That said, when she finally does cheer up a bit she becomes a really likeable character that you want to succeed and can empathise with.
I also thought that the basic setting for the story was a really good one. It brings a level of escapism that made me stick with the book even when I was getting a little too tired of Amy. She works in an independent children's book shop. I would love to do that and I think that anyone who is a serious bookworm has always harboured a desire to do the same. The bookshop is run by a lovely lady who has a genuine passion for it, which is lovely to read about. There are lots of events in the shop that allow the author to paint lovely images on your mind of displays from The Wizard of Oz and Dr Seuss, that really do warm the heartstrings and remind you of a simpler time.
Sarah Webb herself grew up in a town in Ireland that is the mirror image of the one in the story and her passion for that town comes across in her descriptions of it in the book. It is, in my opinion, a perfect place for the book to be set.
The secondary characters in the book are everything you expect from this genre - handsome men with a bit of mystery, boisterous girls with a happy-go-lucky attitude and friends that are rock solid throughout thick and thin. Sarah Webb has written all of her secondary characters really well and they fit in nicely with the story and the style of the book.
I would, as I said earlier, recommend this book to anyone who likes the chick-lit genre, although my recommendation would come with the warning that it is a little tedious to begin with, but is worth the wait in the end.
What could possibly be worse than being 30 and single? Perhaps being 29 and recently dumped from a long term relationship whilst everyone around you is blissfully happy head over heels in love and the invitations to be bridesmaid arrive more regularly than your phone bill.
Amy is deep in the pits of depression. She's stuck in a rut whilst everything and everyone moves on around her. Forced to move out of the home she shared with her never quite a fiancé Jack and back in with her parents things go from bad to worse with the arrival of her sister from New Zealand with an unexpected surprise in tow in the form of Matt the rugby playing hunk. Suddenly every conversation is dedicated to weddings and the planning of and Amys despair worsens.
Amy's friends are amazingly supportive and jeopardise their own relationships to put up with her selfish demands even going so far as to remove people from heir wedding guest lists so as not to upset her. I would really liked one of these friends to have slapped Amy across the face with a wet fish and tell her what a self centred selfish cow she really is but they were all far too nice for that.
It's a tale of love, lust and backstabbing betrayal and I liked it. Suddenly Mrs Nice Girl isn't quite as nice as she looks. Whilst its woefully predictable with a ridiculously happy ending it makes for a great holiday read.
The characters are well developed, it features plenty of in depth emotional rollecoasters, lots of shouting, much more arguing, an awful lot of shopping and quite a few one night stands. Its not raunchy enough to give Jilly Cooper a run for her money but its not bad either.
Although I have a huge shelf in my bedroom of books to read, none of them particularly jumped out at me, so I decided that when I took Harry to the library for his weekly fix of books that I would look for something for myself. This one jumped out at me as it was on a "Recommended Chick Lit" shelf so I chucked it in the buggy and went off home. I have never heard of Sarah Webb, so didn't know what to expect of her writing, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this book.
This book follows the story of a woman called Amy who is her late-twenties but seems unable to find a man to settle down with, much to her own annoyance and turmoil. Things feel worse for Amy when her younger sister Suzi returns from a holiday in Australia with a new Australian fiance called Matt, surprising Amy and her family with news of their pending nuptials. Oh, and her best friend Beth is also getting married, making Amy feel even more alone. But worse is to come...both ladies ask Amy to be their bridesmaid and of course, she has to accept! And will Amy find love with Steve or Jack? And maybe even find her dream job?
The book is pretty much similar to other books I have read where the storyline is that a young woman is destined to always be the bridesmaid, and not the bride. There was nothing really new in the story which was a shame, as I did expect a little bit more from the story. There were a few twists and turns in the book, but again nothing really unexpected that you couldn't really have foreseen. There were some scenes at a bridal fair that the 3 ladies attended which were quite amusing and good to read, and also some scenes in Italy were very well written and gave a really good atmosphere of the place.
However, my main quibble with the book is that I really didn't like the main character. She was incredibly whingy, was incredibly unkind to her friends which really got on my nerves after a while, and just generally grumpy. I understand that her character was meant to be a bit down because of her single status and the two important women in her life commiting their lives to someone else, but Amy was just constantly depressed! Also, Beth was constantly kind and attentive to Amy, even when she was being really awful to her which again annoyed me, as I would have snapped long before that!
But I must not criticise the book too much as it was a pleasant story that I did enjoy reading, despite the annoying main character. The story was very nicely written, especially some of the scenes in Italy and with the families, and a few quotes used for the wedding scenes were lovely. I did think it was a good read, and I will be trying to find a few more of Sarah Webb's books as I am sure she can only get better. Also there was another nice story running through to do with Amy, a side of her which was a bit nicer than the other side we saw of her.
Sarah Webb is an Irish author, who worked as a buyer for children's books before she got into writing her own stories. Always the Bridesmaid was her second novel, and she has written a further 6, so 8 books by her in total. Definitely one to look out for in your library!
ISBN: 978-0330412148. My edition was published in February 2003 by Pan Books. The book is fairly long at 496 pages but I didn't feel that it dragged on too long, it was just a pleasant length for a chick-lit book. RRP is £6.99, it is available on Amazon for £4.83 plus delivery charges, or on the marketplace from just 1 penny plus delivery.
For more information on the author and her books, visit her website: http://www.sarahwebb.info/
Thank you for reading.
Amy's life is not working out the way she always dreamed it would. She's about to turn the dreaded 3-0, her career is going nowhere fast and her love life is not exactly flourishing. To make matters worse, while things are falling apart for Amy, they seem to be coming together for everyone else in her life...Visiting her friend, Jodie, Amy finds that she and Jack, the man she once thought she might marry, have spent the night together. Her younger sister Suzi has just arrived home with her 'Golden Delicious' Australian fiance in tow, and announced their May wedding. And now Amy discovers that her best friend Beth is also planning on tying the knot, and Amy is asked to be bridesmaid. With a sinking heart, she remembers that old saying: always the bridesmaid, never the bride...Surely it can't be true?