Etta

Book Review: Bad Luck Bridesmaid (ARC)

Expected publication: January 11th 2022

Author: Alison Rose Greenberg

It’s official: Zoey Marks is the cursed bridesmaid that no engagement can survive. Ten years, three empire waist dresses, and ZERO brides have walked down the aisle.

After strike three, Zoey is left wondering if her own ambivalence towards marriage has rubbed off on those she loves. And when her building distrust of matrimony culminates in turning down a proposal from her perfect All-American boyfriend, Rylan Harper III, she and Rylan are both left heartbroken, leaving Zoey to wonder: what is it exactly about tying the knot that makes her want to run in the opposite direction?

Enter Hannah Green: Zoey’s best friend, who announces that she’s marrying a guy she just met (cue eye roll). At a castle. In gorgeous, romantic Ireland, where Rylan will be in attendance, and Zoey will be a bridesmaid. It’ll be fine.

Okay, the woman definition of fine (NOT FINE).

Determined to turn her luck around, Zoey accepts her role and vows to get Hannah down the aisle—all the while praying her best friend’s wedded bliss will allow her to embrace marriage and get Rylan back.

But as the weekend goes on, Zoey is plagued with more questions than answers. Can you be a free spirit, yet still want a certain future? Can you have love and be loved on your terms? And how DO you wrangle a bossy falcon into doing your bidding?

Bad Luck Bridesmaid initially seemed like it would be a sweet and light-hearted romcom. While it still has those moments sprinkled throughout the story, it turned into an unexpected tale. The story begins with the narrator, and main character, Zoey Marks in her early twenties as she prepares for her first opportunity as a bridesmaid.  Things do not go well during the engagement party and the wedding is eventually called off. Flash forward a few years and Zoey is asked to be a bridesmaid in another wedding and then another with things not turning out and a wedding fully takes place. This leaves Zoey wondering if it is her that is making these potential marriages crumble, which leaves her to wonder about her own love life. She claims that she is happy on her own and has no plans to get married, but her best friend Hannah sets her up anyway with her cousin, Rylan Harper III.

As the synopsis of the story states, Rylan eventually proposes to Zoey and she says no, which leads these two characters to become exes. Matters are further complicated when Hannah announces that she is getting married and both Rylan and Zoey will be in attendance. As Zoey is not a fan of marriage, I like that she stuck with her morals even though she loved Rylan, however, I do not understand how this ended up working. For me, I could not comprehend how this was not a topic of conversation at any point along the way as this would affect my enjoyment of the aftermath. I think this is also where I started to not connect with this story as there is another event after the break-up with Rylan and Zoey that I do not agree with before Hannah’s wedding part of the story takes place. While I do not want to spoil the story, it was just an element that does not sit right with me. Once the story moves forward to the wedding, the reader gets to meet Graham, Hannah’s fiancé, and Ezra, Graham’s brother. The story becomes further complicated as Ezra and Zoey both do not think the wedding should move forward.

This story explores ideas like, is love enough, should significant others know everything about each other, is marriage the goal for relationships, etc. As the novel explores these ideas rather than deliver a more straightforward romcom, a reader’s own ideals could factor into the story, although it may not completely affect their overall enjoyment. This story has romance weaved throughout with a possible love triangle, yet it still is not a full romance story as Zoey goes through a lot of internal development instead. The romance side of the story was very small considering I expected it to be the main element. Zoey herself has many likable qualities, but there were many moments where she came across as selfish and did not communicate well. I did enjoy the fact that she was unapologetically herself and made mistakes along the way, so she was a character that the reader could root for. Overall, this was a fun story that was unexpected and I would be interested in reading more from the author in the future.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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