by Kirsten Sawyer

January 2007
ISBN: 0-7582-1663-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Kensington Publishing
Trade Paperback

In Kirsten Sawyer’s funny and insightful debut Not Quite a Bride, readers follow Molly Harrigan through the ups and downs of her fake wedding.

With her thirtieth birthday upon her, Molly is feeling down. It doesn’t help that her younger sister announced her pregnancy at Molly’s birthday party, or that her best friend Brad announces his engagement to the rude and nasty Claire. Talk about a day of downers!

All Molly wants is to join in the fun, the preparations and the excitement of planning a wedding. Afraid she’ll never meet Mr. Right, Molly hires male escort Justin to be her pretend fiancé. Though it’s certainly unorthodox, Molly cannot wait any longer. She wants to use the wedding fund her grandmother left for her and if this is the only way she can do it, well then, hello world, meet the soon to be Mrs. Molly!

Jealousies, insecurities, friendships, and love are all tested in the coming year as Molly prepares for the wedding that will never happen. Cake testing, flowers, dresses, Molly is loving it, but she can’t help feeling a little hollow as the plans progress. With her life a whirl of wedding preparations, will she ever meet Mr. Right?

Not Quite a Bride is the kind of poignant and amusing story that I love. All these wedding preparations are certainly amusing and intriguing to read about but there is a certain sadness to them that both the reader and Molly feel. It’s not quite a wedding without the one you love next to you and sharing in the joys and dilemmas. Sometimes I couldn’t help feeling Molly’s actions were a bit heartless and selfish, but at the same time, Molly is such a truly caring and personable narrator that it was difficult to stay frustrated with her.

Kirsten Sawyer adroitly portrays Molly’s feelings with a vibrant tongue-in-cheek attitude. The cast of secondary characters, from Molly’s family to her fake-fiancé, add layers of charm, laughter, and gripping emotion. Not Quite a Bride accurately portrays the feelings many single women feel as they are ever the bridesmaid and not the bride. While it’s certainly a different take on the variety of wedding planning novels available now, Not Quite a Bride is a welcome voice with a zany and engrossing story to tell.

Reviewed in December 2006 by Sarah.

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