Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review: Always the Bridesmaid

By Becky Gulc

‘Everyone loves a bridesmaid – except Maddie, who’s perpetually asked to be one.

Everyone loves a wedding – except Maddie’s best friend, who’s getting divorced.

And everyone loves the way Maddie’s so happy behind the scenes – except Maddie herself.

One best friend is in wedding countdown while the other heads for marriage meltdown. And as Maddie juggles her best chance at promotion in years with bridezilla texts and late-night counselling sessions, she starts to wonder – is it time to stop being the bridesmaid.’ (Synopsis courtesy of Lindsey Kelk's website)

Somehow, Always the Bridesmaid is the first book I’ve read of Lindsey’s, although I’ve been aware of her work, and the fact that she’s a much-loved and popular author for a few years now. When the opportunity came along to review her latest novel I was like ‘pick me!’ and I was excited to finally see what her writing was like for myself.

It didn’t disappoint. Lindsey’s writing is as witty and engaging as I hoped it would be. Maddie is one of the most likeable characters I’ve spent time with recently as she felt very realistic. Whilst on paper she’s a bit naïve and a bit of a pushover at times, it's never in a ‘wet’ way which has you shouting at the book, which you sometimes get. She’s also very strong, hard-working, a very good friend, and a bit of a romantic. She won’t rock the boat until absolutely necessary. The way Maddie internalises things until she’s about to burst leads to some great scenes in the novel which had me laughing out loud and also feeling her pain at times.

I wondered whether the book would be all about the wedding, and I wondered whether that would hold my interest, but I needn’t have worried. There’s a lot more to this book than being the bridesmaid and it could very well have had a different title. Maddie’s work-life is a key story line as she works as an events assistant to a dragon of a boss who tries her best to undermine her at every opportunity; a great character to hate. When there is an opportunity for promotion I was rooting for Maddie all the way and there are some great scenes surrounding this.

A key part of the story is Maddie having to contend with the contrasting love-lives of her two best friends. There’s Lauren who has just announced she’s getting married, and soon. Oh, and she’s expecting Maddie to plan her wedding free-of-charge, of course. Then there’s Sarah who has just announced she’s getting divorced. The last thing she wants is to be surrounded by someone else’s wedding plans, their plans for their happy ever after. Maddie is very much "piggy in the middle" between these two at times, and again there are some great scenes between these friends: funny ones, sad ones, ones that wind you up and ones that make you go ‘yay!’ for best friends.

Then, of course, there’s the romance...well that’s what Maddie wants and deserves but is she going to get it? There are male characters in this novel who give Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver a good run for their money. I loved the twists and turns in this part of the story.

As a newcomer to Lindsey’s writing, this book was everything that I hoped it would be; I’m sure Lindsey’s long-standing fans will also love this stand-alone book.

Thanks to HarperCollins UK for the book in exchange for an honest review. Check out an extract from the first chapter right here.

More by Lindsey Kelk: