Author: Annette Christie
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 18 minutes
Groundhog Day meets One Day in December in this funny and romantic novel about a couple who call off their wedding after a disastrous rehearsal dinner—only to wake up the next morning stuck in a time loop.
Two people. One wedding. No end in sight.
Megan Givens and Tom Prescott are heading into what is supposed to be their magical wedding weekend on beautiful San Juan Island. But with two difficult families, ten years of history, and all too many secrets, things quickly go wrong. After a disastrous rehearsal dinner they vow to call the whole thing off—only to wake up the next morning stuck together in a time loop. Are they really destined to relive the worst day of their lives, over and over? And what happens if their wedding day does arrive?
I was drawn to The Rehearsals based on the concept of a rom-com style Groundhog’s Day and the cover was intriguing. As the synopsis states, the story follows the main couple on a single day, repeated multiple times, as more secrets, betrayals, regrets, and potential forgiveness is explored. Tom Prescott and Megan Givens have been together 12 years, where they romance began as a friendship, and are preparing for the best weekend of their lives when they finally get married. Unfortunately, the two of them have a blowout on the night before their wedding and decide to break off their relationship. They wake up the next day and it is the same day of their break-up starting over again. The cycle continues as they are forced to face the many obstacles from their past that have caught up to them. Instead of being a story about a couple falling in love for the first time, the novel sets out to explore if this established couple can work through their issues in order to be together again.
The story is told from a duel perspective, which I loved, as it was great to see both Megan and Tom’s side of things. I also was not a huge fan of Megan’s, so having Tom to balance the reading really helped. Both characters are deeply flawed, so neither was likable to me, but Megan was not my cup of tea. As I listened to the audiobook, I loved the narrators and they helped keep me going in the story to finish the novel. I think I would have not finished this in multiple places if I ended up reading the paper/ebook version. While there is cheating in this story, it is essential to the plot; however, I had a very hard time understanding this element. It happens multiple times in the story and it might not be the case, but there were times where it was seen on equal ground to another mistake (I do not want to spoil the story), but they are in no way the same.
One aspect that I did enjoy was the two characters coming from dysfunctional families and two different backgrounds. Stories where the two characters are working through their differences are enjoyable as it adds some complexity to the relationship and makes it relatable. The two characters are very complex and I enjoyed how their depth and development occurred over the course of the novel. At the beginning, both just seemed okay, but they slowly gained more complexity as the story progressed. Each time the day reset the characters worked through a different piece of the drama that exists between them. The San Juan Islands were an amazing setting for the story as it provided the perfect backdrop to the story. While the characters have many obstacles to overcome, the love is very apparent between them and the reader can understand why the two came together in the first place.
Overall, the concept of the novel is fantastic, but, for me, the execution was not there. When I began the story knowing that the characters would break up, I thought I would root for them to come together. Unfortunately, I did not find myself invested in them as a couple and did not think that their relationship would last even if they did come back together. For me, I just did not feel they worked through their issues enough to justify rooting for them as a couple. I could be in the minority for this, though, so I highly recommend other reads try the novel to form their own conclusion. The writing of the novel is intriguing, so I would try the author’s future novels. The concept of the time loop was very well done and I loved how each day was varied so it did not feel repetitive. It was a fun novel, but it just was not fully for me.