Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beth Kendrick/NEARLYWEDS

Three young women (Stella, Casey, and Erin) were all married the same weekend by the same pastor. A few weeks later, they learn that the pastor died before signing and filing their marriage licenses and therefore their marriages are not legal. All three are having difficulties in their marriages and have to decide whether to make them legal or move on.

The concept intrigued me, although I do have my doubts that the marriages would automatically be disallowed because the pastor died. Leaving that aside, though, did the novel work?

Overall, yes. The three women take turns narrating chapters, each in first person, and this does allow the author to show events from more than one person's viewpoint in subsequent chapters. The story is deepened as a result, but 'deepened' might not be the best word here.

Each woman has one problem with her husband. The rest of their lives are essentially fine. The husbands are barely above cardboard cutouts, although Casey's does eventually become more. Casey and Erin were already friends, but their initial dislike of Stella fades with amazing speed.

I enjoy 'chick lit' and lighter fiction, but this one is light to the point of insubstantiality. I wanted the women to change and grow, and I didn't get that feeling. The writing is competent, but very surface-oriented; not much of the women's thoughts and feelings appear. And I wanted those.

I was pleased that it wasn't immediately obvious which marriages would succeed and which fail. One would appear to be rock solid and then founder again, which I think is far more realistic.

This is my first book by Beth Kendrick, and I will look for others, but I was hoping for more depth and more of a connection with the characters.


moonrat said...

hmm, the premise is interesting, although it doesn't sound up my alley. i do know that a couple of friends who've gotten married recently have had to "get married" down at city hall either the day before or the morning of their wedding; otherwise the church refuses to conduct the ceremony. but i suppose it depends on state law/church rules/circumstance.

would you compare her writing style to another writer's?

Heather Wardell said...

A less chatty version of Sophie Kinsella, I'd say. Similar to Emily Giffin.