Monday, February 10, 2020

Book Review: Five Wakes and a Wedding

By Sara Steven

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.

Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.

When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.

Because, after all, it’s her funeral… (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

The synopsis begins with Nina and how she’s an average individual, but I think Nina is anything but. This is my first time in reading a chick-lit themed book that centers around the protagonist and her profession as an undertaker, and I found it to be an interesting and unique experience!

I loved how the premise of Nina and her profession is discussed and showcased as though it’s just an ordinary job. This added an element of comedy to a topic that could have been a heavy one, but in treating the job with normalcy, it balanced everything out. Her ideas are very unconventional but come from a good place and as a reader, I could see the sensibility behind Nina’s thought process, suggestions that could very well be applied to real life. On the flip side, as much as I disliked the protagonist- as well I should- I could understand why they and the rest of the town are afraid of Nina and her business, aptly named “Happy Endings” (I love the contrast with that sort of name!). Death can be a very scary subject, and their reactions to the funeral parlour were real and honest.

I also appreciated the backstory that led into why Nina chose this profession, which was needed considering how different of a job it is. That gave deeper meaning into her connection to the parlour and her need to save it, at all costs. Along for the ride are her friends, Gloria and Edo, who not only support her, but are part of the parlour scene, too, and make for some great dialogue and funny situations. They are a hodgepodge mix of characters that seem to fit well.

There were moments where I wasn’t sure in which direction Nina wanted to go, in terms of her romantic notions. Given her past, it’s been hard for her to let someone in. While I appreciated watching that part of things unfold, I felt it took a backseat to the relationship she has with her friends, and more importantly, the one she has with herself. Five Wakes was a fun and entirely different take on life and death!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction. Five Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads: the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony

Karen has been self-employed for many years, and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur. By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stockmarket, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.

Visit Karen at her website and on Twitter.

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