Friday, August 29, 2014

A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman

2 Star

What could be more idyllic than a wedding in Provence? That's what Olivia and Brody think when they invite their closest friends and family to spend their wedding weekend with them. But when Olivia's older daughter from her first marriage invites a man she met on the plane to join her, the delicate balance of the entire weekend is upset. Soon Olivia's best friend, the owner of the inn who is hosting the wedding, discovers that her husband has cheated on her. Then Brody's mother shows up without his father, who has gone into hiding. How can one choose love in the midst of chaos?

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Kathryn - 2 Star

A Wedding in Provence didn’t turn out to be quite what I’d expected. I read it on the back of another novel set in the rolling hills of Europe and unfortunately I didn’t finish Sussman’s novel with quite the same feeling of warmth and intimacy that I’d been hoping for.

The characters seemed to be a bit disjointed. Sometimes I liked them and other times I just couldn’t quite understand them and their interactions with each other often suggested that they weren’t at ease with each other. There were a number of reasons for this that are explained by the author but I just couldn’t get on board with the family dynamic. I found the mother (and bride) Olivia came across as selfish, which perhaps explained her strained relationship with her daughters. The one daughter appeared to feel as if she wasn’t the favoured child because of her lack of career direction and the other sister, with the booming career, also didn’t happen to be in her mother’s good books.  While we are given some explanation for their different natures I just couldn’t get the warmth between them that the author seemed to think should be apparent. 
While I enjoyed Olivia’s interactions with her groom and found them natural together it was the mother/child moments that didn’t appeal.  Funnily enough I actually liked both daughters as each of their stories unfolded and had even felt some affection for both of them towards the end. 

On the whole, my humble opinion is that we could have had a much warmer novel had more things been explained earlier- and that the humour, occasionally interspersed in the novel, would have done well to take more of a centre stage.  My greatest affection went to Olivia’s best friend and B&B hostess (as well as her errant husband) and I wish we’d had more time to spend with them.

Thank you to Ballantine Books for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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