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REVIEW: Dress Rehearsal by Jennifer O’Connell

Dear Mrs O’Connell,

Dress RehearsalI’m still not sure what made me pick up your book in Waldenbooks and decide to try it. I can’t remember if it was turned out on the shelf or if it was just a lucky grab but I enjoyed reading it despite a few problems. I also intend to recommend it to a friend of mine who’s a born and raised Boston girl as it’s as much a novel about that city as it is American Chick Lit.

As much as I liked the standard Chick Lit plot which calls for the heroine to have some throw away job from which she can easily call in sick as the story demands, I’m glad to see that more and more authors are giving their heroines responsible careers. As the owner of a wedding cake boutique, Lauren’s got one of the best I’ve read about lately. Oh, what yummy cakes you described. I got hungry and bewailed my current diet while reading about the scrumptious cakes and fillings and toppings turned out by Lauren’s staff.

As for Lauren herself, I felt like she needed to get back in the kitchen and baking again even before she finally realized it herself. Her whole conviction that when her former boyfriend Neil came into her boutique to order his wedding cake with his fiancee, he was somehow coming back to her romantically was bordering on lunatic. Her powers of self-delusion were amazing. Not one time did he ever make any attempt to get her back in his life and yet she just goes on and on about how her choice is now between Neil and her new love interest Charlie. Scuze me but WTF was she smoking?

Lauren’s best friend Robin the divorcee was totally out of control. I’m surprised her ex hadn’t gotten a restraining order on her. I totally agree with Jeremy that she needed to examine what she was doing and that her friends weren’t doing her any favors by allowing her to continue harassing her ex-husband. Or maybe not allowing but certainly they should have toned her down. Way down.

Though Paige comes across as the most sane member of the trio I had my moments of doubt about her — is she really going to believe a theory about how couples act when picking out a wedding cake being a predictor of marital success? I’m glad this turned out not to be the case and agree with her choice to not fill Lauren and Robin in on her love life. And Marie might be a fantastic pastry chef but I wouldn’t want to work with her.

On the positive side, at least by the end of the book, it truly seemed that all three women were moving on with their lives, had learned some valuable lessons and weren’t stuck in their ruts anymore.

Boston — wow, the book is a wonderful travelogue for the city and it’s obvious you live there and love it. I enjoyed how you worked all this in without it becoming a “Tourist’s Guide to Beantown.” Well done. I also liked your writing style and humor even if I didn’t always care for what you made your characters do in the story.

So while this one is going to get a mixed grade (C for the characters’ actions and B for what I’ve mentioned I liked), I will be looking for your future books.


Dress Rehearsal is available at or Barnes and Noble if you are boycotting Amazon.

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.

One Comment

  1. estetik
    Mar 18, 2008 @ 06:11:00

    No one knows wedding cakes better than the owner of Lauren’s Luscious Licks, Boston’s hottest cake boutique. Lauren is predicting which relationships will last, and which marriages will crumble, simply by watching them pick a cake. And while Lauren’s trying to prevent a potential mismatch, she’s got her own problems – involving an ex-boyfriend, his new fiancee, and the cake of Lauren’s dreams. Very interesting book to read.

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