"A French Wedding is a sumptuous novel that will, literally take you away. It's a delightful escape to the French seaside that I, for one, never wanted to leave."—Elin Hilderbrand, bestselling author of The Identicals
A French Wedding is a delicious novel about six college friends reuniting on the coast of Brittany to celebrate one of their own's fortieth birthday. With sumptuous food and plenty of wine, the table is set for tricky romantic entanglements, fiery outbursts, and a range of secrets. Readers who loved The Vacationers and The Little Paris Bookshop will devour this irresistible novel.
Max is a washed-up rock star who's about to turn forty and feeling nostalgic for his university days. All he says he wants for his birthday is to host his old friends at his house in the French countryside for a weekend of good food and reminiscing. But he has an ulterior motive: Finally ready to settle down, this is his chance to declare his undying love to his best friend, Helen.
Max's private chef, Juliette, has just returned to her hometown after a nasty breakup and her parents' failing health move her to sell her dream restaurant in Paris. Still reeling, Juliette throws herself into her job, hoping that the peace and quiet it offers will be the perfect cure for her broken heart.
But when Max's friends arrive, the introverted, dreamy Juliette finds herself drawn out of her orderly kitchen and into their tumultuous relationships. A weekend thinking about the past spurs more than one emotional crisis, as the friends take stock of whether they've lived up to their ideals. Together for the first time in years, it's not long before love triangles, abandoned dreams, and long-held resentments bubble over, culminating in a wedding none of them ever expected.
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no effort to provide distinction or depth is evident
Intrigued by the blurb and the teased wedding, I thought that the surprise bride and reconnection of college friends would provide a novel rich in depth and emotion, all backed up with the scenery and food. Unfortunately, from the beginning to end, this story was a mess. Third person voice for each character with no distinction between them made the story awkward: better suited to a third person omniscient narration. Then we add in characters – so flat as to be wooden, and utter stereotypes to boot. It’s fine to have one or two secondary characters that are “just” that, but when no effort to provide distinction or depth is evident, then I’m left frustrated, hoping that the dialogue may just give a bit of personality or oomph.
And then, the dialogue is wholly inappropriately phrased and felt as if it were ripped from the mid 1800’s: antiquated words (indubitably?!!), too much back and forth, repetition and no actual appearance of an emotional investment in the statements so casually bandied about. And while these are workable in the most part, if the story crafting and plot are moving forward, with big secrets and reveals appearing for each character, the story would have had some redeeming features. But, the ham-handed foreshadowing, the all tell no show writing and the absolute lack of forward motion with the plot all contributed to a lack of interest for this reader.
As I was reading, I kept wanting to skim and skip over the over-long passages that just felt like ‘filler’, none of those passages added to drive the plot forward, or bring a wandering thread around to a point. What I was left with was the feeling that this book was written to a word count, without consideration of characters, readers or an editor’s touch. Not a great introduction to this author’s work, but I find myself uninterested in trying another title.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review. All conclusions are my own responsibility.