For people who aren’t sure love necessitates marriage, for folks who are working on figuring out what’s important to them (and how to be honest about it), for a romance that handles some issues much bigger than just trying to get with the love interest
It’s official: Zoey Marks is the cursed bridesmaid that no engagement can survive. Ten years, three empire waist dresses, and ZERO brides have walked down the aisle.
After strike three, Zoey is left wondering if her own ambivalence towards marriage has rubbed off on those she loves. And when her building distrust of matrimony culminates in turning down a proposal from her perfect All-American boyfriend, Rylan Harper III, she and Rylan are both left heartbroken, leaving Zoey to wonder: what is it exactly about tying the knot that makes her want to run in the opposite direction?
Enter Hannah Green: Zoey’s best friend, who announces that she’s marrying a guy she just met (cue eye roll). At a castle. In gorgeous, romantic Ireland, where Rylan will be in attendance, and Zoey will be a bridesmaid. It’ll be fine.
Okay, the woman definition of fine (NOT FINE).
Determined to turn her luck around, Zoey accepts her role and vows to get Hannah down the aisle—all the while praying her best friend’s wedded bliss will allow her to embrace marriage and get Rylan back.
But as the weekend goes on, Zoey is plagued with more questions than answers. Can you be a free spirit, yet still want a certain future? Can you have love and be loved on your terms? And how DO you wrangle a bossy falcon into doing your bidding?
ALRIGHT. I thought this would be a standard fair romcom. The premise of the bridesmaid whose brides never get married, which then makes her nervous about being in her best friend’s wedding, sounds lighthearted and quirky and overall pretty gentle right? WELL THAT’S NOT THIS BOOK.
Here’s how it differs. First, there’s a whole third of the book dedicated to the main character’s own relationship and life, all the things that shape her and her ideas of love, relationships, and marriage. Next, the lighthearted premise of the Bad Luck Bridesmaid has many more layers and impact than simply being a woman who’s nervous in a silly way. Next, there are truly heavy questions included, like: IS love enough? do spouses need to know everything about each other before they get married? SHOULD they? is it okay to keep some things a secret? how do you truly commit yourself to FOREVER?
Personal side note: some of these are questions I’m currently asking myself now, so this all hit a little extra hard for me. Definitely affected my experience of the book, but I still think it was overall very well done.
I loved the deep dive into really painful and not-much-talked-about emotions and aspects of a relationship. The idea that at a certain age or amount of time together, people are just supposed to get married isn’t one that I’ve ever seen a romance novel dissect and examine closely. If two people love each other, do they really have to get married? Can they just stay together and choose to stay together every day and see what happens? Looking at that feeling of being trapped brought an interesting angle to the usual sentiment of “commitment issues.”
There were a few tropes, for sure: accidentally naked in front of The Guy, being trapped together, and a few other fun surprises. They were fun little tastes of familiar in a very raw story. And the ending? Loved it. Plans and expectations went out the window because I don’t think I predicted a single element of this story, which I so look forward to. In this book, nobody is perfect.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s press for a free advanced copy. This is my honest review.
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