Author: Katy Birchall
Matrimony meets mayhem in a modern British romcom about a young woman charged with pulling off the biggest aristocratic wedding of the year––and the misadventures that ensue.
Sophie Breeze is a brilliant bridesmaid. So brilliant, in fact, that she’s made it her full-time job.
As a professional bridesmaid, Sophie is hired by London brides to be their right-hand woman, posing as a friend but working behind the scenes to help plan the perfect wedding and ensure their big day goes off without a hitch. When she’s hired by Lady Victoria Swann––a former model and “It Girl” of 1970’s London; now the Marchioness of Meade––for the society wedding of the year, it should be a chance for Sophie to prove just how talented she is.
Of course, it’s not ideal that the bride, Lady Victoria’s daughter, Cordelia, is an absolute diva and determined to make Sophie’s life a nightmare. It’s also a bit inconvenient that Sophie finds herself drawn to Cordelia’s posh older brother, who is absolutely off limits. But when a rival society wedding is announced for the very same day, things start to get…well, complicated.
Can Sophie pull off the biggest challenge of her career––execute a high-profile gala for four hundred and fifty guests in record time, win over a reluctant bride, and catch the eye of handsome Lord Swann––all while keeping her true identity a secret, and her dignity intact?
Heartwarming and hilarious, The Secret Bridesmaid celebrates the joys (and foibles) of weddings, the nuances of female friendship, and the redeeming power of love in its many unexpected forms.
Sophie Breeze took her love of weddings and became a professional bridesmaid. (I have actually heard of this being an actual job and have now directed some of my friends to look into this as a career as they would be perfect.) In addition to helping brides with the planning of their special day, she provides a sounding board for them to vent to, cry to, or just talk to no matter the time of day. It actually is a very fun idea for a career, but it would be difficult to try and keep track of which name I was using for each bride and to remember that I am there as a professional and not an actual friend. Although Sophie has multiple clients in this story, the main plot focuses on her being hired to be a bridesmaid for Lady Cordelia Swann, who happens to be reluctant to keep Sophie on the payroll.
Sophie must become Emily Taylor for her new role as Cordelia’s bridesmaid and the antics between the two were highly enjoyable. This story is full of tons of outlandish requests and great banter between multiple characters. Cordelia has a hard exterior, but there could be more to her than meets the eye and Sophie is determined to crack the code. The two of them were a delight as it was nice to see their relationship evolve and to get to know the behind the scenes real life of Cordelia who has her public presence and her real one.
While there is a romance element to this story, it is definitely a side story in favor of Sophie and Cordelia’s relationship while Cordelia’s wedding draws near. I do wish that there was a little more to Sophie and Tom getting to know each other with just a little more interaction as they were cute together and I just wanted more. Their attraction to each other was obvious and there is a budding relationship, but I wish there was more as it was a lot less of a romance story than I originally thought.
The email and text exchanges featured in this novel made me laugh out loud more times, than I could count. I have been in multiple group chats where everyone chimes in with their own questions that could easily be answered if they read the opening text. I have also had customer service exchanges that, although not the exact ones as Sophie, were very similar vibes. There are many times that you just can’t help, but laugh as, even if these don’t occur every day, there most likely has been at least a moment where you have been in these types of exchanges.
In addition to Sophie’s professional life, the story explores her personal life. She has an ex-boyfriend that broke her heart a year ago. Not only is he around in some way since they share a core friendship group that hangs out every once in a while, he is now getting married to another woman. Sophie starts to question her romantic life and her general choices along the way. While Tom as a love interest does play some role in her emotional journey, I appreciated that a lot of it has to do with Sophie’s internal growth.
Overall, this was an entertaining read. It is predictable, but it was a captivating read that the reader enjoys going along for the ride even though they know the ending. I liked that the characters were in their 30s, but there were times where they felt a little younger. It did not bother me at all, but it was only an observation. All of the characters were very enjoyable and even the brides that appeared briefly were very amusing. The story’s pacing was great as it was a quick read, even though it was longer in length. This is a story that puts you in a good mood, as it was compelling with moments of humor and heart. It was my first novel by this author, but it will certainly not be my last!
**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for a review copy of this entertaining and enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**