Monday, April 13, 2015

[Review] The Wedding Girl - Madeleine Wickham

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In WEDDING GIRL, Milly Havill gets married at age 18 to help a gay friend be able to stay in the country. After they married, she never saw him again. Ten years later, she's engaged to Simon, a wealthy heir to a Smoothie Franchise and has all forgotten about her first marriage. But when someone that has witnessed her first wedding turns up right in time to ruin her second one, she has to face her past.

This is the second novel of the author under her real name that I've read and I'm starting to realize why she decided to write under a pseudonym. Just like THE GATECRASHER, the novel is told from multiple point of views and is full of super unlikeable characters. I'm the first person that is all for adding a fresh breath of air and making your characters anti-heroes, but Wickham's protagonists are walking, unlikeable, unrealistic clich├ęs. After you've read a fair selection of the Wickham novels, you will start to notice that she tends to recycle her characters and certain story elements. 

Poor Execution of a Great Idea

I love the idea of a marriage solely for immigration purposes and I am even more delighted to have that novel feature a gay couple. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with the premise, Wickham lacks extremely in execution. There's pages and pages of dialogue between the Havill and Pinnacle families, the respective bride's and groom's relatives, that only serve the purpose of establishing character relations- well, that's unnecessary! It's very easy to get who likes whom and who hates which character from the first pages on. She established everything perfectly within the first three chapters or something, I don't understand why there's the need for so much exposition and boring dialogue.

Highly Unrealistic & No Fun Read

It's absolutely unrealistic how Milly's first marriage is discovered in the novel. You wouldn't remember someone you met 10 years ago for five seconds, would you? No matter what kind of eccentric hair cut that person had. It feels to me like Wickham just needed a reason and didn't really think about it- there are so many way easier and believable possibilities! She could have let the former groom waltz in; she could have made an official realize that she's already married on paper; or she could have drunkenly confessed it to a friend who in turn told the groom. Everything that I love about Kinsella- the humor, the happy-go-luckiness and the relatable protagonists- is absolutely lacking in this one. 

In her early novels Wickham just wastes potential to no end. There are remarkable back stories, interesting characters, but everything is just told so slowly and boringly that you may risk falling asleep while reading this. This could have been so good, had there been more humor and more heart put into the story. There's no real protagonist that you can empathize with, Wickham just throws point-of-views around like they're confetti and gives every single character their five minutes to shine.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

I don't know if I ever want to read another Wickham novel. I love Kinsella's work, but if you've gone for "The Wedding Girl" because you like Kinsella- you've chosen the wrong book. It will always remain a mystery to me how she managed to reinvent herself so drastically and create a completely new style under her pseudonym.
While I'm complaining a lot, I have to make a fair judgement: Wickham novels are still fairly okay written and light literature, but not just as fun as I am used to being a Kinsella junkie. They are the perfect example that taste varies, I can fairly acknowledge that it's an okay read, but just not my cup of tea.

"At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Rupert and his American lover Allan were all part of her new, exciting life, and when Rupert suggested to her that she and Allan should get married, just so that Allan could stay in the country, Milly didn't hesitate, and to make it seem real she dressed up in cheap wedding finery and posed on the steps of the registry office for photographs.

Ten years later, Milly is a very different person. Engaged to Simon - who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect - she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. Her mother has it planned to the finest detail, from the massive marquee to the sculpted ice swans filled with oysters. Her dreadful secret is locked away so securely she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist - until, with only four days to go, her past catches up with her. Suddenly, her carefully constructed world is about to crash in ruins around her. How can she tell Simon she's already married? How can she tell her mother? But as the crisis develops, more secrets are revealed than Milly could possibly have realised...

What's Your Favorite Kinsella/Wickham Novel?

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