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REVIEW: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

 

Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose during lunch at one of London’s fanciest restaurants. But when his big question involves a trip abroad, not a trip down the aisle, she’s completely crushed. So when Ben, an old flame, calls her out of the blue and reminds Lottie of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. No formal dates—just a quick march to the altar and a honeymoon on Ikonos, the sun-drenched Greek island where they first met years ago.

Their family and friends are horrified. Fliss, Lottie’s older sister, knows that Lottie can be impulsive—but surely this is her worst decision yet. And Ben’s colleague Lorcan fears that this hasty marriage will ruin his friend’s career. To keep Lottie and Ben from making a terrible mistake, Fliss concocts an elaborate scheme to sabotage their wedding night. As she and Lorcan jet off to Ikonos in pursuit, Lottie and Ben are in for a honeymoon to remember, for better . . . or worse.

Dear Ms. Kinsella,

This is only the second book of yours I’ve read but I’m seeing a pattern developing – namely plots that sound more than a little ridiculous but which have to be accepted in order to enjoy your particular brand of literary chaos. So far, I’ve had enough fun with the books that the outlandish things going on haven’t fazed me. But when it comes right down to it, the plot descriptions do make it sound as if your novels are peopled by complete fucking lunatics.

Lottie is a pulled together professional woman with a tendency to go whack-shit when love lets her down. She’s spent years remembering her gap year in a hazy, golden glow that she tries to wrap around herself after the disappointing turn of her relationship with Richard. This jump from the frying pan into the fire of her sudden marriage is the set up that must be bought – hook, line and sinker by the reader. And let’s face it, if this wasn’t a comedy and it hadn’t been written by you, I would have closed the book right then with the thought that Lottie was as crazy as a shit house rat. But, as told by Fliss, Lottie’s past actions and the fact that Lottie and Ben were sympatico at one time makes it easier to shake off the WTF aspect of the plot set up and get on with reading it. It takes the horrormoon with its final trip back to the scene of her memories to jolt it home to her – you really can’t go back.

I literally crowed with laughter – earning me strange looks from my kitties – at so many points — the condom landing in Lorcan’s G&T at the sidewalk bistro, Richard upending his “won’t fit in the overhead bin” suitcase and then, after pawing through it, standing in the Heathrow departing lounge holding his wadded up boxer shorts, Ben’s loud and persistant (despite another guest thinking him a perv) efforts on the beach to rent a hotel room from a fellow hotel couple for quick sex and then there’s the sheer, demonic brilliance of manager Nico & Co’s fiendishly clever “in flagrante delicto” inhibiting efforts at the resort. It’s a shivaree of epic, long distance proportions.

Wedding-Night-by-Sophie-KinsellaBut, there’s something more going on here. The wedding night sabotage is funny but had the book been only that, it would have grown rom-com stale very soon. Lottie and Ben are slowly discovering that maybe you can’t just ignore 15 years of separate living and perhaps at 33 you really do need to know something more about your mate than what you knew as hormonal 18 year olds.

Meanwhile Fliss might come off as a nutcase for her choice to stick a spoke in Lottie’s wedding night wheels. Her defense makes more sense than might initally be believed given Lottie’s long history of kooky post-breakup actions and Unfortunate Choices – this being the worst of them. And then there’s Fliss’s own hellish divorce that drives her to try and avoid watching Lottie endure the same. As Lorcan tells Fliss, after blowing up at her for the epic interference in her sister’s life, in a fucked up way, Fliss is trying to do the right thing and help Lottie, but she can’t be Lottie’s keeper forever and Lottie deserves the chance to succeed or fail in her marriage choice

Then Lorcan shouldn’t be throwing stones in his glass house because he’s just as obsessed with continuing his efforts on behalf of Ben’s company. Fliss gets to raise her eyebrows at Lorcan trudging across half of Europe to browbeat Ben into making the best – in Lorcan’s POV – decision for the paper products company. Just as Fliss is almost blinded in her efforts to “save” Lottie from a mistake, Lorcan can be so singleminded that he can’t see the forest for the trees. This trip, the situation and his time with Fliss will be the things that beak the lock the job has on him and sets him free to get back on with his own life.

Fliss and Lorcan bring the book to some deeper moments as they trade divorce horror stories and find shoulders to cry on about it. Fliss, at least, has spent yonks complaining to anyone she can corner about her soon-to-be-ex husband’s shittiness but it doesn’t seem as if she’s taken the final step to emotionally let it all out and thus let it go until now. This is what finally brings Fliss closure and begins to heal her wounded spirit. It helps Lorcan too I think, as he sees how far Fliss and Richard will go for family and loved ones.

And Richard! Richard is aces in how he comes through romantically – flying around the world, being willing to discover the truth about something that means a great deal to Lottie and even the fact that he knows this means a great deal to her. Bless him that he’s even halfway to accepting the ring Lottie’s bought him.

The alternate first person takes a little getting used to but both women are astute observers and I felt I was getting the unvarnished reactions of the others in the story – mostly men now that I think of it. Both sisters find what they need – Lottie gets the man she really loved all along – and Fliss gets letting go, peace and a new start. I love the gift that Lorcan gets her which shows he remembers what she’s said.

This could have been little more than a light, frothy beach read but underneath the frivolity is some deep shit. My advice for readers is just to let yourself go and flume with it. B

~Jayne

 

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

22 Comments

  1. mari
    May 02, 2013 @ 10:26:04

    The name “Lorcan” ….uhm. no. The only one worse is “Fliss.”
    Fliss sounds like a new brand of dental floss.
    And the name Lorcan should only be used by people who ride dragons. With very big swords strapped to their muscular thighs.

    So I think I’ll be giving this one a pass.

  2. leslie
    May 02, 2013 @ 11:32:45

    I couldn’t get through the first chapter! Oh and the character names are awful. I loved Kinsella’s last book I’ve Got Your Number, but Wedding Night was so stupid I returned it to the bookstore a few hours after purchase.

  3. Ros
    May 02, 2013 @ 11:45:42

    The character names are perfectly normal middle-class British names. Sorry if that upsets people. It’s probably how I feel about books full of people called things like Tyler and Addison.

  4. Zara Keane
    May 02, 2013 @ 12:11:28

    Lorcan is a common name in Ireland. As Ros said, the other names aren’t unusual in the UK.

    While I like some of Kinsella’s books, I’m finding ‘Wedding Night’ a slog. Her heroines often border on TSTL, but Lottie’s cluelessness and self-absorption are driving me crazy.

  5. Lori
    May 02, 2013 @ 12:49:04

    I love chick lit but a $12.99 price on a Kindle book makes it too expensive. Damn.

  6. Jayne
    May 02, 2013 @ 13:37:55

    @Lori: I seem to recall similar price issues with her last book too.

  7. Jayne
    May 02, 2013 @ 13:39:19

    I had no problems with the character names which seem, as Ros says, very British. If an American couple had them, that would be different.

  8. leslie
    May 02, 2013 @ 13:45:49

    @Ros: I get what you are saying about normal middle-class Brit names. My friend Felicity is often called Fliss, Flick or Liss by British friends……and she hates it. Those same friends call me Lesser, Lezzie or Lester…….and I hate it, but I love my friends, so I ignore it. My sister-in-law’s name is Charlotte and she goes by Char or Charlie, but people always try to call her Lottie…..and she hates it. Lorcan is the name of a Marian Keyes character who caused so much grief for the heroine in Last Chance Saloon that I will always associate the name Lorcan with that scroundrel. If I had enjoyed the book I may have been able to ignore my dislike, but that was not the case.

  9. Ros
    May 02, 2013 @ 17:23:59

    @leslie: You’re right, people do like to shorten names here. But it’s pretty rude to do it if you don’t like it. :(

    I’d forgotten all about Lorcan in Last Chance Saloon. It’s years and years since I read that book!

  10. Kaetrin
    May 02, 2013 @ 22:02:18

    I ended up listening to I’ve Got Your Number and the narration was superb, which just added to my enjoyment. In terms of romance it was a *little* light but the funny was brilliant. The same narrator does half (?) of Wedding Night and I expect I’ll be picking this one up at some stage too. I seem to be able to enjoy audiobooks in a different way to print books – by that I mean that less romance is less of a problem on audio where the narrator is great. The rec for IGYN was from you Jayne so I’m happy to trust you on this one too. :)

  11. John
    May 02, 2013 @ 23:18:53

    I need to read this and I’ve Got Your Number – Kinsella’s first Shopaholic book is a helluva lot of fun, but my favorite of hers is THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS. Perfect combo of romance, humor, and legitimately good themes that discuss the pros of domesticity as well as the pros of professionalism. Kinsella manages to tackle a lot in it without it feeling messagey.

    I’ve also heard TWENTIES GIRL is fab. :)

  12. Anna V
    May 03, 2013 @ 02:26:43

    Twenties Girl is possibly the dumbest book I’ve slogged through. It’s awful.

  13. Jayne
    May 03, 2013 @ 07:09:35

    @Kaetrin: The book is told from both Lottie and Fliss’s PsOV so that’s probably the reason that narrator is only doing half of it.

  14. Melissa Blue
    May 03, 2013 @ 14:23:06

    I saw that Kinsella had another book out. Usually I run out to get it, but this one I’m going to skip. Read some reviews and it has one of the tropes that drives me nuts. Sigh.

    So, I’m going to re-read Undomestic Goddess and wait for her next release. lol

  15. Elyssa Patrick
    May 03, 2013 @ 23:00:46

    I really wanted to love this book, but instead I walked away with a case of the “mehs” after finishing it. I thought the romances for both sisters was shortshifted–usually, Kinsella has a pretty romantic tale in her books, but I just didn’t get as much romance as I wanted here. I would’ve really loved to seen more of Fliss and Lorcan falling in love scenes, and the same with Lottie and Richard. The comedic element also fell a little short for me–instead of being hahaha funny (like the ring buying scene in I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER or the scene where heroine confesses all sorts of things to the guy beside her when she thinks the plane’s going down and then walks into work the next day and that guy is her new boss), the scenes here just stretched the incredulity factor way too much for me. It wasn’t a fave of mine, but Kinsella can very much be hit or miss.

  16. Becky
    May 04, 2013 @ 11:04:12

    I love most books by Sophie Kinsella, but given all the bad reviews was hesitant to pick this one up. Finally, unable to resist, I got the audio and listened to it all in…three days? Maybe? Could have been four. Pretty quickly, given that a big chunk of that time was during the work week. It’s definitely not my favorite of hers–that would be Can You Keep a Secret, with Undomestic Goddess as a close second–but I did really like it a lot. Lottie drove me a little crazy for about 3/4 of the book–she’s a little too delusional, even for me, the Queen of Denial (reminiscent of the reasons why I finally stopped reading the Shopaholic books after a while)–but she redeemed herself at the end. But I loved, loved, loved Lorcan and Fliss. And Noah. And Richard. Did I mention Lorcan?

    Very glad I decided the heck with the reviewers on this one. Plus, it’s lovely to hear those unusual (to Americans) British names and nicknames pronounced in British accents. With the odd Scottish burr thrown in…. ;)

  17. Kaetrin
    May 04, 2013 @ 22:23:59

    @Elyssa Patrick: Which book is the plane confession/new boss one – sounds like I need that one too :)

  18. lauren
    May 05, 2013 @ 09:45:56

    Elyssa, that one is Can you Keep a Secret. I thought Twenties Girl was hilarious. I don’t remember laughing so hard through a book, especially when the ghost made her dress up like a flapper.

    I’ll be reading this book, I didn’t realize that she had another one out. I’m okay with far-fetched stories as long as they make me laugh.

  19. Sophie
    May 10, 2013 @ 13:06:07

    I am about half way through of reading Wedding Night and I love it. The names don’t really affect the read so why criticize them? All of her books are great and I can’t wait to keep reading this one, so for those of you who don’t take things literally (it’s a story, don’t forget) I would definitely recommend giving Wedding Night a go.

  20. Nish
    May 16, 2013 @ 04:08:34

    @mari:

    Haha, I so love this comment. Agree with you, those names are bizarre. Will not stop me from reading the book though :)

  21. Shelton McCollough
    Oct 10, 2013 @ 00:56:36

    A Not So Wedding Night
    After being a fan of “Confessions of a Shopaholic” movie, based off of the book by Sophie Kinsella, I would have to say “Wedding Night” did not even emulate “Confessions of a Shopaholic”. The book encounters confusing conflict following two sisters, Lottie and Fliss, who narrate the story. Lottie does irrational things like marrying her old fling all because her last boyfriend did not propose. Lottie is a huge airhead who makes unnecessary decisions like marrying Ben, her 18-year-old fling, while Fliss is left to pick up the pieces. Unfortunately, Fliss is not much wiser than Lottie and also makes horrible decisions such as trying to sabotage her sister’s wedding while she is going through a divorce. The story deals with an excessive number of ditzy characters that get into one dilemma after another. The beginning of the book was somewhat humorous, but as the book progressed, the humor deteriorated. The characters are not easily likable due to their denseness and deceitful personalities. I was eager to kick back and read an upbeat, romantic comedy similar to the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” but this book was just confusing and inconsequential.

  22. Axica
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 13:15:52

    I’ve read all books by this author under the name Sophie Kinsella, and in most of them, you would come across weird names (generally the protagonist’s). But eventually, you learn to live with that ’cause the characters are simply too involving. I’ve got your number continues to be the most hilarious book so far, and yes, there definitely seems to be a pattern developing.

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