REVIEW: Home for the Wedding by Elizabeth Cadell
Beautiful Stacey Marsh made a mistake—she should never have come home for her wedding. She had forsaken her hometown of Dorsham, England, long ago because it was too quiet, not at all the kind of place for the likes of Stacey.
Stacey met Jules Charbonnier in Paris and planned to marry. As soon as Stacey returns to Dorsham, the town was frantic with upcoming activity and Stacey’s grandfather’s ghost has come back to haunt them. As for the boy next door, Nigel is simply too handsome for his own good. After Jules’ grandmother arrives in Dorsham for the wedding, Stacey has begun to re-think her quick decision to marry Jules. Is it merely homesickness? or has she changed her mind about who means the most to her…
From the blurb for “Home for the Wedding,” I expected a bit of madcap fun. It starts out that way as, without intending to, Stacey entertains the crowd at the airport in Paris as she encourages – ahem – her fiance to confront his dictatorial grandmother about the way granny is wading into their post marriage plans. Stacey has never pulled her punches when going for what she wants and, to the delight of the crowd, she doesn’t do so here either.
We soon learn a bit about her from a hometown acquaintance who witnesses it all and then flies home to England with her. Stacey is the bride on her way back to her small hometown and once she touches down, things are never going to be the same. Things at home are complicated with plenty of family, plenty of history, and a long time friendship with a local man that didn’t go as either person imagined. Nigel had proposed to Stacey but unsure of his true feelings, she had brusquely turned him down and headed off to Paris.
Spanners get thrown into the wedding works almost immediately and Stacey struggles to get her family to understand the full horror of the woman who is to be her grandmother-in-law and who has begun to meddle in her life already. Then the ghost appears. Three times. Stacey and Nigel attempt to find a rational explanation before Jules and Grandmere arrive. It is, of course, a hopeless task. But it does give Stacey time to think about why she insisted on a wedding at home and to whom she really wants to get married.
It would take me pages to fully lay out all the intricate swirls and patterns of the whole plot and probably wouldn’t make much sense. I remain in awe of how Cadell dreamed these up and managed to get everything to fit neatly in place by The End. Part of the background of the story is how the post-war changes have and are affecting the landed gentry. Nigel’s father handed over the family castle to the National Trust while Stacey’s family have struggled to maintain even their smaller property.
At first I wasn’t too sure of Stacey as she’s a very “take charge” and “speak her mind” kind of person. Stacey isn’t a shrinking violet and comes across very sharply. Perhaps she’s Cadell’s “new 1970s woman.” Yet if anyone is a match for her, it’s Nigel who doesn’t hesitate to remind Stacey how to ask “please” in either French or English. We soon know how he feels but he does a masterful job of hiding this from her until the very end of the book. By that time, Jules has come and despaired of the house, food, and relations while his Grandmere will probably be spoken of in gobsmacked terms by the family for decades to come. “Remember that old French witch whom we were almost stuck with as a distant relative?”
As with some previous books, Cadell brings this one down to the wire in arranging some things and tying up other plot threads. Three stable hands and Stacey’s father are left to fill us in on how Stacey and Nigel finally manage to get on the same page, romantically speaking. B