Book Review: The Wedding Crasher (ARC)

Expected publication: March 17th 2022

Author: Abigail Mann

Poppy is packing her bags to spend two blissful weeks alone on an island. It’s time away from the ex-husband who hasn’t quite moved out yet, and reminders of the marriage they rushed into young, before she’ll kick back on a girls’ holiday with her oldest friend Lola.

But before Poppy can set foot on the ferry, Lola waylays her. She has her first high-profile wedding planner gig on the neighbouring island, and there’s a problem – the photographer has bailed.

Poppy agrees to help out for Lola’s sake. But soon the bride confides she has cold feet and asks Poppy’s help escaping the island, and then Poppy realises she recognises the groom. Embroiled in a high-society disaster waiting to happen, Poppy has to save the wedding… but should she?

The Wedding Crasher will have you in stitches from start to finish – don’t miss the new uplifting book from Abigail Mann! Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Sophie Ranald and Beth O’Leary. 

The Wedding Crasher is my second novel by the author. I was very excited to begin this novel as The Sister Surprise was a joy to read. Before getting into the details of the novel, I will say that I believe the marketing choice to focus on labelling this story as a romantic comedy does it a disservice. To me, the novel fits more under the women’s fiction category as there is some romance and humor, but there is a greater focus on the main character’s emotional journey. While I still enjoy both types of stories, as a mood reader, it does slightly affect my overall connection to the reading experience. Essentially, if I was reading this for the first time again with the expectations that there would be a lot of focus on heavier issues, then I would have enjoyed this a lot more than expecting a more light-hearted romcom.

Poppy is a teacher who still lives with her emotionally abusive husband, Josh, as the two are headed to finalizing a divorce. When Poppy decides to get away, she ends up filling in as a photographer, her hobby, as a favor for her best friend, Lola. The groom for this wedding happens to be an ex-boyfriend of Poppy’s from college, Will. Throughout the story, the reader gains some background for Poppy with flashback scenes of her relationship with Josh and her relationship with Will. There is an interesting contract between the two relationships as Josh showed many red flags while Will did not and they are complete opposites in how they treated Poppy. Now Poppy herself was a well-developed protagonist. She could be described as a doormat at times as she has internal thoughts about doing what she wants for a change, but she ends up doing what others want instead. Most of the novel centers around her journey and growth as she slowly learns to stand up for herself.

As Poppy was in a toxic relationship, her friendships with others, especially Lola, were greatly affected. When the two reconnect, I wish the story delved deeper into how much Poppy’s ex affected her relationships with others. It would have been a great opportunity to show both sides with Lola on the outside not fully understanding every detail for the reasons for Poppy’s absence and Poppy’s side for being trapped. These are touched on throughout the story with some conflicts between the characters, but I would have loved even more depth.  Now as the story does include some potential romance, there are some moments that set up a reunion between Poppy and Will; however, there were not enough to make me believe that they would become a successful couple in the future. I think the potential was there, but it just never fully got there for me to connect to it yet. Again, this is where I think the expectations from the marketing did the story a disservice. When a story is labeled as a romance, the reader tends to focus on the development of the relationship and assume there will be a lot of progression in the two of them getting closer. If this were labeled as a chicklit/women’s fiction without the emphasis of a romance, I believe the expectations would shift where the romance doesn’t as much wrap-up.

Overall, this story was not a bad read in any way as I still enjoyed reading it. Poppy was a great character, and I appreciated her journey from feeling helpless in her relationship to attempting to break away. Her changes were not instantaneous and were well-written. Will was another well-done character as he had a lot of expectations placed on him by his father and he was learning how to stand up to him. The story itself had some humorous moments throughout and were enjoyable. Some elements I wished were explored in more depth, but I liked the general progression of the story. It was an interesting read by the author and I will most likely continue to read her books in the future.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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