Note : Received this book through hellochicklit.com (aimee) blogiversary giveaways.
We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really?
On the outside, Annabel O’Conner has it all – the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and a mother from hell! Just when she gives up trying to regain her overbearing mother’s love, an unexpected call turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believes about her life.
Could falling in love give a cold, stubborn, and selfish woman a second chance to open her heart back up to her family?
Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She barely has a relationship with her grandchildren. The only time she manages to have a one way conversation with her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there may be more to life than designer clothes, killer handbags, and impressing the ladies at her posh country club.
As the mother and daughter duo team up to plan “Long Island’s wedding of the year” they confront the secrets and lies that have defined them. This humorous emotionally honest women’s contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you.
“Although a light read, the subject matter was very sad at times and I found myself choking back tears, but in a good way! It was so authentically heart wrenching yet often very funny too. The characters were so well fleshed out and three dimensional – no one was perfect and no one was fatally flawed – like real life. I thought the twist was genius!” – Meredith Schorr Best Selling Author
This was so different than the chick lit I have read till date, and yet so chick-lit-y “in spirit”. For starters, men are not the focal point of drama or conflicts, instead we have a strained mother-daughter relationship at the heart of this book. Anndd… there is a lot of shopping and wedding preps, but for a change we have the young, female protagonist investing her time to shop, celebrate and prep for her mom’s wedding and not her own. Annnddd .. this is a biggie – For a change, we have people pointing out she is whiny and on a self-pity mode. That doesn’t happen too often and usually she goes through the entire book feeling entitled to act whiny and wallow in self-pity.
Beatrice, being the titular character, and with a lot of background information on her to partly explain where her difficult behavior stems from, is definitely the most “interesting” and fleshed out character in the book. In fact, I can even imagine a prequel titled “Bea-fore Plan Bea” chronicling her younger days. So in comparison, I guess it is easy to for Anna’s “virtues” to go a bit unnoticed. But she does deserve most of the credit to ensure that her bond with her mom doesn’t completely wither away and die – by diligently keeping up with the weekly phone call appointments regardless of how hard it is. Sure, it was hard for Bea too, but it was Anna who was kept in the dark about all the reasons for Bea acting the way she did.
This was an archetypal feel-good book – the sort where you don’t really mind that it gets a bit predictable in the last few pages and some things were easy to guess. My only quibble was that, after a point the whole arc of Bea and Anna confiding in each other about some past nugget of secret began to feel like a clinical planned exercise. After a point, I just knew and expected some new detail to be revealed at every stage of their wedding shopping – be it selecting a cake at a bakery or a table decorations for the venue. There are a couple of other scenes too, such as a crucial meeting between Anna’s marketing team and a client; that feels sort of stage-managed. It was difficult to imagine them panning out that way in real life. In contrast, some other moments were written pretty well and felt very real. My favorite one was a tiff between Anna and her husband Cole. It was handled and resolved in a way that, I think, most happy couples who have been married for over a decade would relate to.
The supporting cast of characters is really good too, and all of them come together in the end; and by the end of the book, I just had a nice, goofy, smile.
Do read this if you are in the mood for something happy and uplifting.