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The first book I read by Sharon Owens was Seven Secrets of Happiness, which I absolutely loved, so I requested Revenge of the Wedding Planner off of Read It Swap It as soon as I had finished it. In typical me fashion, I started reading something else and it ended up on a huge pile which I only got to recently.
Mags and Julie are wedding planners although they couldn't be more different. Julie is a commitment phobic while Mags is still blissfully married to her childhood sweetheart. When Julie has a mid-life crisis Mags is left to pick up the pieces of Julia's life as well as her own hectic family life. He son's girlfriend is struggling with an eating disorder and her daughter is determined to fly the nest for pastures thousands of miles away. On top of that Dream Weddings is in the middle of the most high profile celebrity wedding, with ridiculous demands to boot.
To be honest I really struggled to write a synopsis of this book, because not a lot really happened! It was only a short book but it took me over a week to finish it as it just didn't grip me. It was a complete contrast to her latest novel which I could not put down! The plot was just silly, I couldn't figure out whether Julie and Mags were partners, or Mags was Julie's assistant as both scenarios were presented in the book! For a book about wedding planners it seemed to be lacking in weddings, and I have no idea where the revenge comes from as apart from a teeny hint towards the end there was not really any Revenge at all!
The book was written in the first person narrative from Mags' perspective. I actually found this quite annoying as I didn't really warm to her. She came across as a bit of a doormat who was very immature for a grown up mum of 3. She was a bit like one of those silly girls in a horror flick who would consider the right thing to do and then do the opposite! She seemed to be so determined to butt into everyone else's business that she misses what is going wrong closer to home. However she was not as bad as Julie, whom I thought was just vile. Mag's does a lot of revealing about Julie's past as if this would justify why she was so selfish and shallow, but it didn't really move me.
The book tries to tackle hard hitting issues such as anorexia, strained marriage and hints at Irish politics, but it just seemed to miss the mark for me. The plot just seemed to bumble along, without ever really deciding what its main point is.
The book was readable, and is probably ok for a quick holiday read if you have nothing else. As this is one of Sharon Owen's earlier books it hasn't put me off reading something else by her. However it is not one I would recommend that you buy new if you still fancy reading it, and it is available from 1p plus postage used on Amazon.
Paperback 296 pages - Penguin Books
This review is for the book revenge of the wedding planner, written by Sharon Owens.
As a fan of all magical or gothic/horror genre books I was a bit undedcided about whether or not to buy this girly looking book, but as i got it from my local book shop on the offer of three books for five pounds (The works book shop-Nuneaton), I decided to give it a go.
I must admit I bought it about six months ago and haven't even picked it up since I bought it, but two days ago I decided that i'd quite like a change from the usual books I read and decided to read this.
I didn't hold out much hope for this book as I really didn't think it would be my cup of tea, I was completely wrong.
The story is set in Ireland and the main character is Mags Grimsdale, a forty year old mother of four.
She's been married since the age of eighteen to the love of her life, Bill, and they are still very much in love and they have a very happy marraige.
Mags works as a personal assistant at dream weddings with her best friend Julie Sultana.
Julie is a wedding planner who hates marraige but loves organising weddings for other people.
Mags life is suddenly about to get very hectic when her best friend starts an affair, her daughter moves to the other side of the world and her eldest son and his girlfriend throw numerous problems into the mix.
So it's down to mags to sort everyone's problems out along with her own, plus she's got the celebrity wedding of the year to organise.
I really can't put any more about it as it will spoil the ending for you.
The thing I enjoyed most about this book is that it's refreshingly different to other books similar to this that I have read before.
I've read many books that envolve long married couples having mid-life crisis's and having affairs and then eventually returning to there spouses.
I liked this because the two characters were so much in love after years of marraige, while everyone else around them had the problems.
The book is touching and funny and I am going to keep an eye out for other books by Sharon Owens.
For more information on this book go to www.penguin.com
Revenge of the Wedding Planner is the first book I have read by Sharon Owens, a relatively new Irish writer, and it turned out to be a light and enjoyable read, although I have to admit I had some difficulty getting into it at first. The story is told by Mags, who works at Dream Weddings with her boss Julie. Mags is a very amiable character who has a happy but somewhat complicated family life. She is extremely content with her husband Bill with whom they have four almost grown up children who cause her a certain amount of angst, particularly her eldest son Alexander who announces that his anorexic girlfriend Emma is pregnant. The person who causes her the most problems though is her boss Julie who decides to run off and have a fling with a toy boy but expects Mags to be the one to break the news to her fiance Gary!
With all of this turmoil in her private life, planning other people's weddings should be a doddle! It is until her latest clients, an ageing rock star and his chic French model girlfriend, announce what they intend for their wedding. This includes all the guests to be dressed as rock chicks or vampires, the ceremony to be conducted by a druid and bats to be released from the belfry as soon as the service is over. The two women set about arranging all of this but as you can imagine this is going to be one wedding which has little chance of running smoothly.
Mags tells the story from her own point of view and it is written in a very chatty informal way almost like a diary. It is also written as though she is talking directly to you, the reader and taking you into her confidence about all the things that trouble her. Because of this, the story does tend to meander at times with Mags going off at various tangents along the way. I found this way of writing quite annoying and distracting at first, but once I became more involved in the story it really did not bother me that much at all.
I liked the character of Mags very much although I sometimes felt quite cross with her as she tries to be all things to all people, something which also frustrates Bill, her husband, greatly. However, the marriage of Mags and Bill is one of the things I really liked in this story. For a couple who had been married over twenty years it was still as strong and warm as it had been in their very first days and that I found quite inspiring. It also seemed in direct contrast to a lot of the weddings Mags and Julie were planning, which just seemed to be all about the frills and trimmings. The book did seem to throw a somewhat cynical view on these types of weddings.
Most of the other characters are not very likeable at all though. They all seem to have flaws to their characters and are only too happy for Mags to solve their problems for them. Because of this, I didn't find myself feeling sympathetic towards Julie, Gary, Alexander and any of the others who turn up in this novel. Having said that though, these dysfunctional characters do contribute towards Mags being a very sympathetic person and you can't help but like her.
Overall though, I did enjoy reading this book. It was a light read and not too taxing on my brain even though there were a number of different storylines to follow. It had some very amusing moments as well as some quite insightful and thoughtful ones. Also, at just under 300 pages it was just about the right length for this type of read. I'm sure that if you are a bit of a romantic at heart you would find this book enjoyable too.
This review has already appeared on www.thebookbag,co.uk under my name.
There has been a lot of books flooding the shelves in my local shops lately that I want to read, but sadly I just don't have the money to purchase them all brand new, and its hard to get hold of them on my swapping sites too. So I turned to my good old trusty library and reserved 2 of them straight away. The first of these was a new author to me, Sharon Owens, is an Irish author who has written a few books, but this one caught my eye with its colourful funny cover. So I took it home and eagerly started to read.
'Revenge of the Wedding Planner' is the story of Mags Grimsdale, a 40-something woman who works at Dream Weddings, a small wedding planning business run by her best friend Julia Sultana. But Mags isn't your average 40-something mother of four - she's a goth with long black hair, has gargoyles in her house and is keeping a secret or two. Julia sends Mags' life into disarray when she dumps her latest boyfriend, can Mags keep it all together - her family, friendship and of course, Dream Weddings?
The plot sounded pretty interesting to me, and was pretty good to start with. Mags was quite a fun character to read, and her first person narrative made very pleasant reading, which stumbled along, describing well Mags' life and her thoughts as well. However, that's really where the good things about this book ended for me. All of the other character in the book (perhaps apart from Mags' husband Bill) were all hideous - they were whiny, selfish, rude and generally not very nice people! Julia was the worst offender, and you have to wonder why Mags' would still stay friends with someone who treats her like that! She was very selfish and quite a user towards Mags. Her background is explained (quite extensively I must add) by Mags early on in the book, but this didn't make me any more sympathetic to her, quite the opposite actually. I think it was supposed to evoke sympathy from the reader, but just didn't from me.
We also get to meet 2 of Mags' children, Alexander and Alicia-Rose. Her daughter leaves the book a little way through (not through death!) so we don't see much of her but Alexander on the other hand, seems to be the son from hell. I feel Owens has rather exaggerated with his character, to the point of being so incredibly annoying I found myself wanting to skip his parts because he was so irritating to me! Other characters through the book included Mags' sisters, Jay; Julia's boyfriend, and the odd wedding couple.
Now, the awful characters isn't my biggest gripe with the book. I had a real problem with the amount of narrative in the book! Usually when I read a book, I expect to have an equal amount of dialogue and narrative from the author, but this book was so heavy with the narrative, it became very hard going after a while. I found myself checking how many pages there were until the end so that I could move onto another book because reading it at times was a real chore, and I was just bored with it. Dialogue betwen the characters was quite rare, and when it did occur, it was pretty short, and it soon launched back into its pages and pages of Mags' narrative once more. Owens' writing style itself is pleasant enough, Mags being quite funny to read, but the long narrative just wasn't sustainable from the characters and just went on far too long for me, and therefore really dented my enjoyment of the book overall.
The story was pleasant enough, with a couple of twists and turns throughout, not to mention a quite explosive ending, but it just didn't really do it for me unfortunately. I felt it was a little bland, far too narration-heavy, and the title didn't really make much sense for me - where was Mags' revenge?! I couldn't see it anyway. I was really looking forward to this book but I was actually relieved when it was finished. I hate reading a book when it feels like a chore, and that is what this was for me. Very disappointing, I'm quite unsure about trying any more of her work after reading this.
ISBN: 978-0141028576 . Published by Penguin Books in April 2008. RRP is £6.99 although you can grab a copy on Amazon for 3.86. Personally, if you really want to read it, try to get it from the library because that way you won't have wasted any money on it! 304 pages (feels like a lot more). For more information on the author and her other books, see her website: http://www.sharonowens.co.uk/.
Thank you for reading!
PLEASE NOTE: This book was published in Ireland under the title of The Trouble With Weddings, so don't read both!
Thank you for reading.
Mags and Julie are partners at Dream Weddings, catering for the over-the-top and sometimes downright bizarre requirements of Belfast's brides and grooms to be. They rub along well but are as different as chalk and cheese. Mags is married to the love of her life, has four kids and a complicated extended family. Julie is impossibly glamorous, and doesn't remotely believe in love or marriage. When Julie embarks on a life crisis, running away from her live-in lover and throwing herself in to a hair-raisingly sexy fling with Jay, it is Mags who is left to pick up the pieces. When Julie eventually comes back, she brings Jay with her, and that is where the real trouble starts. Add to the mix Dream Weddings' most high-profile celebrity clients yet, and the biggest, most ambitious wedding they have ever organised, and the fireworks really begin...