Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman

Another cover that sucked me in.  This seems to be a regular occurrence in my book world.  I've been stewing over the piles of books I have to read at home, and realized as I buy I'm missing out on what I bought to read the week before, the month before...the um...year before!  Crisis situation people!  I bought this novel in May, and just now pulled it out of a pile to read.  I'm afraid to see what's on the bottom of the book piles!  I guess the good thing is that I have plenty of surprises to look forward to as I dig around and discover what I bought and forgot about this past year.  

A Wedding in Provence takes place in, you guessed it--Provence, France.  One place that I'm pretty certain most everyone wants to visit at least once.  The cover certainly set up some longing in me to travel to France, frolic in lavender fields, and drink wine at a rustic countryside inn.  The plot is pretty simple:  Olivia and Brody travel to a friend's inn in Provence to get married.  Joining them are Olivia's two adult daughters, Carly and Nell, and Brody's best friend Jake and his mother, Fanny.  Olivia and Brody are in their early 50's; both marrying for the second time.  They are madly in love and ready to begin a new life together.  For one short weekend, everyone will gather to celebrate their marriage.  

Of course everyone brings baggage:  Carly is a brilliant Silicon Valley businesswoman who leaves her staid and boring boyfriend at home; Nell is the complete opposite--a part-time actress who lives life in the spur of the moment and by the seat of her pants.  She meets a man on the plane and invites him to the wedding.  Olivia's friend Emily and her husband Sebastien own the inn and have a wonderful life.  

But of course no one is happy, and on this weekend, when love and marriage are the center of attention, everyone is examining their experiences with love, being in love, marriage, and relationships.  Some are at a crisis point; others quietly content, yet wondering if their love will thrive in the future.  This story asks you to ponder love, the mysterious wonder of it, and the expectations we all have of it.  What do we demand of love for ourselves?  Do we ask too much, or too little?  

The blurb on the cover says this is an "utterly charming and wildly romantic" novel.  It lead me to think this would be a fun "charming and romantic" novel.  I didn't find that in this book.  The plot was more serious than I had anticipated, and that was a slight disappointment for me.  The setting was beautiful, the writing was good; but I can say if I had planned a weekend wedding in Provence and had the turmoil this novel had--well, I wouldn't be a happy camper at all!  

A novel about love in many different stages.  It will give you food for thought about the love in your life.  

Rating:  6/10 for a beautiful setting.  I found some of the characters a bit immature and wanted to shout at them to grow up.  Does this mean I'm just old?!  Read this if you like to ponder the depths of the human heart and what love means to us all and how it can change our lives.  

Available in paperback and e-book.

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