Book Review: For the Love of Friends (ARC)

Expected publication: August 1st 2021

Author: Sara Goodman Confino

Lily Weiss is her mother’s worst nightmare: thirty-two and single—the horror! She’s also a talented writer but hides behind a boring job at a science foundation. To her friends, she’s reliable and selfless, which is how she winds up a bridesmaid in five weddings in six weeks. Anything for her three best friends and two (younger) siblings, right? Even if her own love life is…well, she’d rather not talk about it. To keep her sanity, Lily needs a safe place to vent.

And so her anonymous blog, Bridesmania, is born. The posts start pouring out of her: all the feels about mom-zillas, her vanishing bank balance, the wicked bridesmaids of the west, high-strung brides-to-be, body-shaming dress clerks, bachelorette parties, and Spanx for days, not to mention being deemed guardian of eighty-eight-year-old Granny (who enjoys morning mimosas in the nude) for her brother’s destination wedding.

So far the blog has stayed anonymous. But as everyone knows, few things online remain secret forever…

When all is said and done, can Lily help all five couples make it to happily ever after? And will her own happy ending be close behind? 

For the Love of Friends, is a very entertaining summer read that goes through one friend’s journey in being in five weddings held in May and June. Although it was very fun, it was an interesting reminder of the vast monetary differences between the average bridesmaid and the average groomsman. Although not every bride has the same wedding events (bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc.), it is still a huge financial commitment. Even just spending $100 on a dress is a lot for some people, so, for me, it was an additional reminder that being a bridesmaid/maid of honor/matron of honor can be a stressful burden on those that struggle financially. For 2021 alone, I was asked to be in three weddings and I declined them all (I will still attend as a guest) for the finances alone. Sure, some brides may be budget conscious, but the costs do add up and I love to support them by attending without stressing myself out with money. The main character in this story takes a different approach, where she said yes to all the weddings and I loved reading her experience.

Lily Weiss is a 32-year-old Communications Director at a science institution.  She is asked to be a bridesmaid/maid of honor by five separate individuals almost back to back with the weddings taking place in May and June the following year. The first bride is her coworker and “work best friend,” Caryn. The second is her university roommate and friend, Sharon. The third is her current best friend, Megan. The fourth is her younger brother’s fiancé, Madison, and the final is her younger sister, Amy. Additional to the crazy schedule she will have with all the weddings, Lily is at a crossroads with her life and career. Lily finds herself bored at her job and wishes to have a different career relating to her degree in journalism. She is still single after some past failed relationships and is unsure if she will ever find love again. Her and her mother have a rocky relationship as Lily thinks that her mother puts too much pressure on her while giving her younger siblings a pass with any decisions.

I went back and forth about Lily because she both came across as selfish and selfless. It was an interesting thought experiment for me as a reader as her character really went back and forth, as the story progressed. I have been in six previous weddings before I decided no more, so at times it was difficult to comprehend some of Lily’s decisions and deliveries, as they were not the same way that I would have handled them. However, that was the joy of the character as it was a new perspective on some of the exact situations that I have experienced. Luckily, I did not go through everything this character experienced. She was still a very humorous character and very relatable as she was just trying to do the best for everyone and not fracture any of the relationships.

To help Lily cope with the craziness from all the weddings, she decides to write a blog as an anonymous author. I think the one thing I did not comprehend is why Lily just wrote about her experiences on the blog almost verbatim with only omitting names. To me, it did not make any sense why she would explicitly say how she was connected to each bride rather than keep it either vague, omitted, or slightly altered. The result would have been the same, but then it would seem as obvious about who she was talking about if she was discovered. Each blog post was very entertaining and read in a very relatable manner. I loved how the author altered her own style to reflect the character’s style in the blog post writing.

Overall, some of the situations with the different brides may have been exaggerated versions, but most of them rang true, including the specifics for hair and nails. The story has a nice balance of the weddings and Lily’s life while also mixing in some slow-burn romance. I also love Lily’s interaction with each bride and the other side characters as she was closer to some than others were, which reflects real life. It was a nice easy read and I enjoyed the pacing of the story. This was a very fun story and I would happily read more from this author!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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