Friday, September 6, 2019

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

This is Guillory's third romantic comedy and it is just as enjoyable as the other two.  Her writing is extremely entertaining - I love both the characters and the situations she creates.  I also really like how, though the books aren't strictly speaking a series, they bring together the same characters.  That being said, it is by no means necessary to read them in order (though it perhaps adds to the experience to do so).

In this book Maddie and Theo are both close friends of Alexa's and are asked to be in her wedding party where they will be forced to spend a lot of time together.  The problem is that when they first met they took a fairly instant dislike to each other (in part because of some misread signals).  Of course, since this is a romantic comedy, after a party at Alexa's they have a one night stand.

And after the one night stand they can't stop thinking about each other.  So they make a deal to continue to hook up just until the wedding - and to not tell Alexa who they feel will become too invested in a relationship which they don't see lasting.

Not surprisingly they develop feelings for each other ... and have to work out how to deal with that.  This was a fun book and I'm always a sucker for a happy ending.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Mostly I found this book terribly sad - the characters had so many missed opportunities and miscommunications which made their lives more difficult and lonely than they should have been.

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland.  Marianne comes from a wealthy family, but is socially inept at school.  Connell's mother works as a maid for Marianne's family, but he is outgoing and popular at school.  As teenagers they become friends and eventually lovers, but they hide it from everyone.  Connell is afraid he will be ostracized if the truth comes out so he even invites someone else to the school dance which causes a rift with Marianne.

Both Connell and Marianne move to Dublin for college and remain on again off again friends and lovers.  Though they experiment with other partners they never really find happiness or the easy relationship they have with each other.  But misunderstandings continue to tear them apart.

While I sympathized with both characters, I constantly felt like shaking them so they could just talk honestly with each other.  However, I suspect in fact their inability to do so was quite realistic.

I recommend this book if you like studies in character and relationships - there is not really much action.

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

I read this book because reviews said it was for those who like books by Courtney Sullivan and Elin Hilderbrand - and both authors are ones I enjoy.  This book didn't disappoint.

It deals with three strangers who are spending a summer on Block Island in Rhode Island.  Joy and her daughter Maggie are full time residents, Lu and her young boys are there for the summer living at the expense of their wealthy in-laws who summer there every year, and Anthony Puckett has run away to the island after making a mistake that has derailed his successful writing career.

As it's a small island it is no surprise that the paths of these three strangers cross.  And all three of them are harbouring secrets which eventually come out and impact their relationships with each other and those around them.  I don't want to give away too much so I'll just say that the story develops well and the characters are both interesting and sympathetic while still being realistic.