Review of WEDDING BELLE BLUES by Kay Layton Sisk (see her blog)
Wings, January 2008
None of them were perfect, but it takes a wedding to really explode the hidden conflicts that had riven the five Wood sisters (woodies as they were known in High School). Perfect Patrice's daughter, Krista's wedding is the event of the century, with festivities starting months earlier--and with plenty of money being spent the whole time. The star of the engagement party is the band--led by the musician, Jeff, who'd abandoned sister Mary Willa with her two young daughters years before. When she sees Jeff, Mary Willa wants him back, and wants to give him the chance to become part of their daughters' lives, but letting him back would destroy her damaged relationship with her father.
Felicia didn't think she was happily married, but at least she thought she was married, until her husband left his e-mail open on their shared computer and rubbed her nose in his affairs. There's nothing like a divorce to make a wedding seem like a great time, but Felecia's problems grow even larger when the photographer, who's supposed to be helping, makes things difficult for her and then has the nerve to send her a completely inappropriate e-mail complaining of her 'bitching.' Felicia definitely has got to get even and she's not going running to Perfect Patrice to make it happen, either. The only thing is, photographer Bruce has some surprising depths of his own.
Penelope is supposed to be the good sister. So she decides to let a little loose, taking the bridal party on a bachelorette party they'd never forget--to Las Vegas. The only thing is, Sterling, the bride's father, can't let go of his precious daughter and doesn't trust Penelope to keep her straight. So he asks the groom's uncle Jeff, who happens to be coming off a job in Las Vegas, to keep an eye on the women. When Penelope relizes Jeff intends to follow the women everywhere, she blows her stack and has him stopped as a stalker. Even when he apologizes, she knows not to let herself be too swayed--Jeff is well known as a man who plays the field and Penelope doesn't want to be another of the bases he's covered.
Malignant Maureen was the baby of the family, the tomboy who earned her father's attention by doing the hunting and fishing he'd hoped a son would do. Since she went into the advertising world, she's also developed a reputation as a woman who nails men's scrotums to her wall as trophies. The Wood girls may love their sister Maureen, but they don't trust her and they don't really include her in their sister-activities. Maureen isn't opposed to the idea of marriage--and she's going to participate in her niece Krista's wedding whether her sisters want her there or not, but she doesn't really think there's a man out there for her. One thing for sure, no matter how hot the Episcopal Priest might be, she's not going to be a minister's wife. Then again, he is pretty hot--and seems sensible.
Author Kay Layton Sisk (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Sisk) spins a heartwarming story of a family finding its strength as plans for the wedding increase the pressure. Sisk gives each of the sisters distinct personalities and desires, but also highlights the strengths and similarities that run between them, despite their conflicts. It's enjoyable seeing how the sisters feel about themselves and the others--almost as if we are allowed to spy on their deepest secrets. One thing is certain--nobody associated with the wedding will be unchanged, and the people with the most to gain aren't even the bride and groom.
A highly enjoyable and page-turning read.
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