Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Guest Book Review: Katie Fforde - A Vintage Wedding

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

In a small Cotswold country town, Beth, Lindy and Rachel are looking for new beginnings. 

So they set up in business, organising stylish and perfectly affordable vintage weddings.

Soon they are busy arranging other people's Big Days. 

What none of them know is that their own romances lie waiting, just around the corner ...

Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

Katie Fforde is back with what is incredibly her 21st novel. Katie’s books are a welcome breath of fresh air and a nice easy read with some lovely messages at their centre. I found the last one or two didn’t hold my interest and they had become a bit run of the mill but I am pleased to say with the release of A Vintage Wedding for me the author is back on form and I found this book refreshing, entertaining, heart-warming and a joy to read. Each book explores a different profession and it is clear the author puts plenty of research into these professions and her excitement at writing about something different comes right through the pages. Each book having such varied characters and jobs is what makes Katie’s novels so appealing and enjoyable.

Centred around three women living in a rural village, from the outset Katie creates a warm, feel good community atmosphere where everyone helps each other out (sometimes being a bit too inquisitive into other people’s lives) in order to secure the future of the village hall. Beth, Rachel and Lindy all meet per chance at a meeting in the hall. These are three very different women with varied backgrounds, problems and at different stages in their lives. They get on famously when they meet and before we know it they are setting up a business called Vintage Weddings to help people out who want a spectacular wedding without the costs that go with it. Each woman can bring something different to the table and that is what will make the business a success, that and their never give up attitude. In the beginning I did find it hard to believe that three women who had just met each other and knew nothing of their pasts could decide to go into business. Yes, I knew they wanted to save the village hall and at the same time do something positive with their lives but it just all happened so quickly. But I just had to put this slight issue to the back of my mind and read on and enjoy the story which I did.

Rachel is recently divorced and newly arrived in the village. She has renovated a house to her exacting standards - all white and neat with nothing out of place. Rachel is a bit neurotic and a control freak and as we learn more about her issues and her phobias slowly become more apparent to us. As the novel progressed we see Rachel begin to thaw, unwind and relax as she comes to terms with what she is going through. Also ably helped by Beth and Lindy and a little romance. I think the community could see what was wrong with Rachel and the issues she was battling. Instead of confronting her head on which would have just upset her and led to her closing herself off, the community did what was right and helped her in ways which may not have been obvious at first. Raff who was every women’s dream man could see through to the inner Rachel that was hiding and he wanted to do his best for her but in a stifling way.

Beth doesn’t want to return home to her overbearing mother after university so instead is renting in the village and helping her sister organise her wedding. Meeting Lindy and Rachel transforms her life as she gets out more and learns to let go and grab every opportunity that comes her way. Beth was a great character and you could see a total 360 in her attitudes and opinions. Ok she may have been hurt along the way but we all need to experience some pain before we come through the other side. All three women go on a journey and to read about all the subplots and funny moments was great. I couldn’t pick a favourite character as all three offered something different which only added to the overall story.

Lindy is a young, single mum totally committed to her boys and has lots of support from her parents and grandmother. She longs to fall in love again and to be better off financially. Even though I don’t have children myself I felt I could identify with what Lindy was coping with. She had a super talent in sewing and was so kind and caring to everybody that at times she neglected herself and her happiness. So it was lovely to see the journey she undertook and how meeting Beth and Rachel transformed her life.

From about a third of the way through, to me it was quite obvious who was going to end up with who (apart from one couple who threw in an unexpected twist) but that didn’t really bother me as I was too invested in the story and whether the women would make a success of their Vintage Weddings company and all their troubles and ups and downs made for a great read. Ok so the main characters may not have had the perfect, easiest of lives but they were not downbeat and did the best they could and in these downtimes to come up with your own business idea and attempt to make a go of it should be commended.

This is a book that proves you have to grab every opportunity that comes your way because if you sit back and do nothing in life all its opportunities will just pass you by in the blink of an eye. Through establishing the business Beth, Lindy and Rachel move forward with their lives instead of being stuck in a rut they seized any chance. I became endeared to them through their sheer hard work and determination. The company truly was the missing slot in their lives that brought all the pieces together.

A Vintage Wedding is a wonderful, sentimental novel which dealt with current relevant issues in a refreshing, honest way that was not rammed down our throats. This is the perfect, romantic read for anytime of the year but sitting in the garden on a sunny day sipping a glass of something cold would be my idea of heaven.

I'd like to thank Emma for this fabulous review for this eBook which we received from the publisher via NetGalley.

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