This is a book I wanted to read after reading the phrase on the front cover - 'Her number one bestseller' - so I was pretty keen to read, as I do enjoy some easy girlie fiction, I'd also read a review on here which gave it 5 stars, so I thought it must be good! I'd never heard of the author before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I have to admit I was really quite disappointed and reading it was such a struggle. Once I start a book I have to finish it and usually if I enjoy it, I can finish a book within a week or so (or even less if it is particularly gripping). This one took me ages; I really didn't look forward to reading it and couldn't have cared less about any of the characters.
The book centres around a family who are planning a wedding.
First of all there's Debbie (the girl who is getting married), she's mid twenties and to me seems to be a bit selfish and spoilt. She's marrying Bryan, and young fancy free man who seems to only be marrying Debbie to keep her happy, often throughout the book you get his thoughts of feeling trapped and tied down and not really wanting to tie the knot. He does love Debbie, but it seems he loves his single carefree life a little bit more.
Debbie's Mother Connie (she's probably the only person I did like in the book) acts as a middle man between Debbie and her Dad (Barry). Connie and Barry got married when Connie found out she was pregnant with Debbie, and they split when she was a young girl, and Debbie has never really forgiven him for leaving. And to make matters worse, Barry married again, to Aimee, a stuck up business woman who only cares about appearances and having the best of everything, and also her career. They have a child together, Melissa, who is an awkward teenager and who is also Debbie's half sister (not that Debbie is very happy about this and ignores her whenever they meet).
Another character in the book is Judith, Debbie's boss, who seems quite determined to make Debbie's life hell. Mainly because she is jealous, Judith is 50 (ish) and still lives with her Mum due to her Father dying and Judith getting lumbered with caring for her ill Mother, and thus leaving her single and lonely.
So the story focuses on the run up to the wedding and the goings on between all the characters I have mentioned above. Debbie doesn't want her Dad's new family at the wedding, but he is hell bent on bringing them, and it's up to Connie to try and sort everything out between them all. Connie is the only person I cared about in this book, everyone else seemed so self centred and only out for themselves that I began to dislike them all.
Connie however, was obviously worried about her daughter and the wedding (and the fact that Bryan reminded her of Barry when he was young - not very good marriage material!) But she was also worried about her ex husband Barry because he clearly wanted his new family and his ex-family to be friends and get along with each other(fat chance), and quite surprisingly she also had a soft spot for Barry's other daughter Melissa who she took under her wing when her own Mother (Aimee) clearly couldn't care less. Connie obviously wanted everything to run smoothly on her only daughter's big day and is striving to make sure everyone tries to get along.
Anyway, I can't give much more of the story away, but I can give my opinion and that is that I just found it so completely boring to read. It was like going into my local supermarket and asking someone to tell me their life's story to date. The subject matter was just something that is so commonplace these days that it just didn't hold my attention. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, no plot twists or any surprising revelations that I just could not get into it and just really didn't want to know what came of all the characters, who cares if Debbie got married in the end? Who cares if Barry manages to get everyone to like each other? Not me!
The characters do change throughout the book and you do see some bridges built between various members, but it still wasn't enough for me.
Another thing that I found really irritating was the Judith storyline. The only reason for her being in this book was because she was Debbie's boss, but Judith's story had absolutely nothing to do with Debbie's story. I kept expecting them to link in together towards the end, and at one point I thought their stories were going to intermingle, but they didn't, so I found that really disappointing and just couldn't see the point in having Judith in there at all. Yes she makes Debbie's life hell at work, but do we really need to know what is going on in her life as well?
At the end (when the story has finished) you get the thoughts and feelings from some of the characters...trying to entice you and whet your appetite for the next instalment. It did nothing for me.
So, no I am not recommending this book and can't believe it was a Number One Bestseller!!
I can't believe that I have been reading books for all these years and this is the first novel I have read by Patricia Scanlan. What a treat I have been missing out on! She is a wonderful author and this book is so readable that from the very first page I was hooked and did not want to put it down.
The book mainly tells the story of the run up to the wedding of Debbie and Adams and Bryan Kinsella. In the tradition of most fictional weddings there are lots of trials and tribulations particularly as Debbie can't stand her father and his new wife Aimee and does not want them at the wedding. Her long suffering mum Connie often finds herself stuck in the middle as the peacemaker. There are many other sub plots and strands as well though, making this read almost like a mini soap opera and keeping the reader's interest in all these different stories.
I loved the way all of the stories interweaved and it really made me feel that I got to know the characters. Connie was the main character and she was very likeable. You couldn't help but feel a little sorry for herself with the sort of life she had had but she was forever optimistic. It took me a while to warm to Debbie. At first she seemed like a spoilt brat but gradually little snippets of information were revealed that definitely made you feel more sympathetic towards her.
Everyone had their own story to be told: Debbie's dad Barry who had felt trapped at a very young age in his marriage to Connie; Debbie's fiance Bryan who is probably a bit too much like Barry to be getting married himself; Barry's wife Aimee who hates and is threatened by his first family and is also a very career driven woman; their daughter Melissa who strives to be noticed by her parents. Each story is absorbing on its own but mixed with all the others makes for absolutely great reading.
There was one other character who did not seem to figure much at the beginning but became much more significant as the story progressed. This was Debbie's boss Judith. Her story is the most poignant by far as she has to watch Debbie excitedly prepare for the wedding that she would have loved for herself but never had, having had to sacrifice much of her life to caring for both her parents. You could really feel for Judith and I could truly understand her feelings of jealousy and resentment.
The book is divided into two parts - the run up to the wedding and the day of the wedding itself. The pace and the storytelling are so good that you really just want to keep on reading so you can find out what happens next - and believe me there are some unexpected happenings. I'm not going to tell you what they are of course - you'll just have to read the book.
Usually when I read a book this good I am very disappointed when I get to the end because it's over. I did feel like this to a certain degree but my disappointment was alleviated when I discovered that there is a sequel with the intriguing title Happy Ever After? I say it's intriguing because of that question mark. It certainly got me wondering!
I can't recommend this book enough if you enjoy good quality chick it and love reading about people. If I've enticed you to want to read it, the paperback can be bought on Amazon for £5.25. AS the book is over 500 pages long and is such a good read, this can only be seen as excellent value.
Forgive and Forget is another great book by Patricia Scanlan. Connie Adams is one of the main characters and she is struggling to come to terms with her daughter getting married. After splitting from her husband many years ago the preparations are a little tense. Debbie Adams (Connies daughter) doesn't have a very good relationship with her father, Barry, or his new family, but as the wedding draws closer a reconciliation is made between them. She also finds herself becoming closer to her stepsister. Barry is realising that his new family life isn't all it was cracked up to be and has a lot of thinking to be done.
There is a small sideline part to this novel and it shows a story of Debbies boss and how she has had to care for her mother after her fathers death and gave up the chance of having her own family. However, I feel that this part has no relevance to the book and isn't really linked very well with the main story and this would be my only criticism of the novel.
Overall, it is a very good read and does want you to keep reading to find out more. A light-hearted novel that really takes you into the lives of the characters.
What happens when ex husbands start to fancy their first wives again? Can first wives forgive and forget when their husband has done the dirty on them? Connie Adams has to make choices. The lead up to her daughter's wedding has been utterly fraught. Debbie is absolutely adamant that she does not want her father, Barry, his glamorous second wife, Aimee or her stepsister, Melissa to attend. Barry is equally adamant that they will. But as Connie and Barry join forces to get things sorted sparks begin to fly...Few weddings go as planned especially when there is tension between families and the events that occur at this particular wedding will have far reaching repercussions that will leave their mark for years to come.