Title: The Wedding Crasher (review copy)
Author: Abigail Mann
Genre/Themes: Contemporary, Romance, Friendship
Blurb from Goodreads
Poppy is packing her bags to spend two blissful weeks alone on an island. It’s time away from the ex-husband who hasn’t quite moved out yet, and reminders of the marriage they rushed into young, before she’ll kick back on a girls’ holiday with her oldest friend Lola.
But before Poppy can set foot on the ferry, Lola waylays her. She has her first high-profile wedding planner gig on the neighbouring island, and there’s a problem – the photographer has bailed.
Poppy agrees to help out for Lola’s sake. But soon the bride confides she has cold feet and asks Poppy’s help escaping the island, and then Poppy realises she recognises the groom. Embroiled in a high-society disaster waiting to happen, Poppy has to save the wedding… but should she?
The Wedding Crasher will have you in stitches from start to finish – don’t miss the new uplifting book from Abigail Mann! Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Sophie Ranald and Beth O’Leary.
I absolutely adored Abigail Mann’s first two novels, The Lonely Fajita and The Sister Surprise. They had that perfect combination of wit and authenticity that made for compelling reading. So when One More Chapter got in touch with me to be part of the cover reveal for Abigail’s latest novel, The Wedding Crasher, I was absolutely delighted because duh, I had loved Abigail’s last books and so was thrilled to help spread the word about another potentially brilliant book. Plus it also meant I was going to get a NetGalley widget so I could read it for myself.
The feel good vibes stoped right there sadly. The Wedding Crasher unfortunately pales in comparison to Mann’s earlier novels. Where they managed to skilfully tightrope walk between light and shade, this one…. Ooof. Giant mess.
Looking at the cover of the novel, and taking in the blurb, one should be able to assume that this would be a bright and breezy novel with perhaps a few perilous moments for the leading character as she picked her footing through whatever hi jinx the storyline would throw at her.
This was not the case at all.
The storyline never found that sweet spot between a serious contemporary that explored the impacts of a toxic marriage and a bubbly romantic comedy between old friends. But then again, why would it ever find that sweet spot? Because in my opinion these topics just don’t really mix.
Our main character Poppy finds herself struggling to leave a broken marriage to a man who both gaslights and coercively controls her. This serious situation is somehow then played out against the background of a high society wedding on an exclusive island that Poppy ends up becoming the photographer at because *reasons*. Oh and the groom just happens to be her “one that got away”.
And for me neither of these storylines truly worked.
The romantic comedy aspect was neither romantic nor comedic. There was zero chemistry between the potential love interests to such a degree that I spent the entire book hoping that they would only ever be friends. Very very platonic friends. And then the bride was lazily written as a stereotyped silver-spooned bridezilla… she was written in a seriously hateful in a way; a way I really dislike because it sort of pits women against each other for the sake of *drama*. Plus it really wasn’t funny! The gags felt forced and ill-timed at best.
And then when it came to the more serious storyline about leaving a toxic marriage I just felt that the author didn’t approach it with due gravitas. Poppy was written in quite a frustrating manner rather with only glib insights into her thought processes rather than authentically exploring how the gaslighting and constant put downs from her husband made her feel.
For a book that felt quite long and drawn out (it’s 400 pages) I was left feeling very unsatisfied by the character arcs of all the main characters, and by the lack of time given to explore their individual interpersonal relationships. Especially the friendship between Poppy and her best friend Lola. Their relationship should have been the driving force of the narrative as there was so much potential there to fully explore how a female friendship can be affected when one of the parties has been trapped in a toxic marriage that has prevented them from meeting up, chatting etc. There was some dramatic conflict between the two during the course of the storyline, but it was all so underdeveloped and resolved in such a banal fashion.
This book promised so much but sadly delivered very little. I truly hope this book is just a blip because of the quality of Mann’s earlier reads and hopefully novel number four will have me feeling all of the feels again. Unfortunately, The Wedding Crasher just wasn’t for me.
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 17th March 2022, One More Chapter