Kate Williamson never thought the day would come when she would get married, so when her boyfriend Ian proposes at the top of the Eiffel Tower, she's thrilled. As she sets about planning her wedding, family troubles mean that Kate's up to her eyeballs with everything and as her family step in to help her plan her perfect wedding, she finds herself slowly losing control. Diana Ashford, born on the day Princess Di wed Charles, is desperate for her very own fairytale wedding. Now that she's found her prince Ben, she's in full Bridezilla mode, made worse by the fact that her parents indulge her every whim. Set against the backdrop of the other couple getting married, will Kate and Diana make it up the aisle or will it all descend into a right Royal farce?
I'm a big, big fan of Chrissie Manby, and she's an author whose books I look forward to year after year. What I Did On My Holidays was meant to be her 2011 novel but after the announcement that Prince William was marrying Kate Middleton, Chrissie was struck by inspiration and wrote Kate's Wedding in a month. I was looking forward to reading it, knowing there'd be an influx of Royal-wedding-related novels knowing if anyone could put her own spin on it, it would be Chrissie. But I was also apprehensive, how good can a book be when it's put together in a matter of months when the whole process usually takes a year? I dived into the book nevertheless and I wasn't disappointed at all.
You would think that a book called Kate's Wedding, that focuses on two weddings taking place in April 2011 might be a bit of a let-down or a rip-off, and some people might expect the book to just be a homage to William and Kate, but thankfully that's not the case at all. Yes, the two female main characters are called Kate and Diana and yes Kate and Wills' wedding does feature prominently, but that's not the be all and end all of the book. It just provides an enjoyable backdrop to the book, and I liked how Diana was determined to out-do Wills and Kate, from the engagement ring to the engagement photos. I found it hugely amusing, in fact. Kate (the fictional one) isn't as hopped up on weddings as Diana is, as her focus is mainly focused on her ill mum, rather than having the wedding of the year.
Both girls are also experiencing troubles with their grooms-to-be. Ben, Diana's fiance, isn't as excited about the wedding as she is, and the same can be said for Ian, Kate's fiance. (See! Chrissie resisted the urge to have Kate marry a 'Will' and Diana marry a 'Charles' despite how fantastic I would have found it). The third person the book focuses on is Melanie, who owns the wedding dress shop Bride on Time where both Diana and Kate get their dresses from. She got married on the day Di and Charles got married, and has always felt a kinship with Princess Di. I thought Melanie's story was very interesting, and it certainly helped to break up Kate's worry about her mum and Diana's full-on Bridezilla mode. I thought the entire book was fascinating and I was rushing through the pages as quickly as I could, which surprised me.
Of our three main characters, it was Kate whom I immediately warmed to. She was such a lovely character, and very much helped to offset the crazy that was Diana. To have two such contrasting personalities was fascinating and I definitely preferred Kate. Mainly because, with the greatest of respect, Diana was a total cow. She acted as if the World should revolve around her and her alone, she treated everybody around her as if they were her minions and the way she wanted to replicate Wills and Kate in every way drove me up the wall. I truly wanted to smack her, I'm not kidding. I seriously disliked her. Yet, for some reason, I did actually love her chapters because the drama and full-on Bridezilla amused me no end and I was dying to know what she'd think of next to subject Ben to. Much like Kate, Melanie was a lovely character and I loved how dedicated she was to her job. The men in the book didn't necessarily capture me. I thought Ian was a bit lazy, but I did like Ben, despite what he did (to be perfectly honest, I could understand having to live with bloomin' Diana).
Kate's Wedding is very much a tongue-in-cheek novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I finished it in 4 hours and I got fully immersed in the story. Despite how nuts I thought Diana was, she was also hugely entertaining, and Kate's family troubles added some much-needed normalcy to the novel. It's a book that doesn't necessarily take itself seriously and it's one Manby fans will devour. The book switches perspective regularly and is written in third-person allowing us to get everyone's point of views on their respective nuptials. It was the perfect way to spend my morning/afternoon and I devoured each and every page. Some readers may not be pleased with the fact it's a novel that's basically riding the coat-tails of the Royal Wedding but I liked the backdrop it provided, and I lapped up all the Royal stories and connections. Manby is on tip-top form here, the ending in particular was quite hilarious and is definitely a book Manby fans and Royal Wedding fans will absolutely lap up. I did.