20 July 2014
Book Review: Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon
Bronte never expected to see Alex after their one night together, but she never stopped thinking of him. So when she arrives at work one day to find that Alex is a new colleague, she is secretly thrilled. The only problem is that Alex is now engaged to Zara, the girl he was on a break from the night they met.
Determined to move on with life, Bronte becomes a part-time wedding photographer, alongside her day job. Surrounded by loving couples, warring couples, tearful bridesmaids, mischievous pageboys and interfering mothers-in-law, she tries to navigate her way through wedding after wedding while her heart is being torn apart.
As Alex's own wedding day draws ever nearer, Bronte and Alex's chemistry becomes harder to ignore, and Bronte must decide whether to fight for the man she loves, or to let him go forever."
You can buy Thirteen Weddings as a paperback or an eBook now.
Paige Toon is one of my favourite authors, and the release of a new book from her is always one of the highlights of my year! This year though, I've been lucky enough to have 2 new Paige Toon books to look forward to, the first being her first forray into YA called The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson, and this book, Thirteen Weddings. This isn't a sequel to any of Paige's previous books, but of course characters from her other books crop up in this book too, this is always one of my favourite things about Paige's books and I'm always excited to see who would pop up and what's been going on with their lives since I last read about them.
Bronte feels like she is happily settled in the UK now, having moved over from her native Australia a few years ago. She's got a good job working on a magazine, good friends and feels happy. However, she didn't expect to bump into someone she had a one night stand with a few years ago, a guy called Alex who seemed to have captured her heart. He's now engaged to Zara, and the fact he's a new work colleague is starting to make life difficult for Bronte - she's struggling to deal with all these feelings. When she gets a new part time job as a wedding photographer, Bronte thinks she might have found her calling, even though she finds it hard to be surrounded by all the loved-up couples. When she's told she has photograph Alex's wedding, Bronte realises she really needs to move on, but can't seem to stay away - will she be able to let Alex and Zara have their happy ever after?
I have to say that I felt this book was very different to Paige's other books. The story is really a love triangle - which man Bronte should end up with, and why. Paige's books are usually more than this, but that really is all there is to this book, and I was a bit surprised at that to be honest. Bronte has to decide whether she wants to be with Lachie, a guitar player she meets at a wedding she is photographing, or Alex, who is of course engaged, but she can't seem to get him out of her head. I didn't like that Bronte wanted to keep going after a man who was with another woman - I never think it's okay to do something like that and therefore in my head it was a no-brainer as to who she should be with - I didn't like that she couldn't move on from him, and was willing to sacrifice his relationship for them to be together.
The wedding photography aspect of the book was really good, and definitely my favourite thing about the book. There are thirteen weddings mentioned in the book, and each of them is so unique, I really did enjoy reading about each of them, and finding out what style the wedding would be, where it would be and about the new bride and groom. Obviously, each one isn't done in huge detail, enough to make it come alive in your mind, but I loved Bronte's descriptions as she was taking her photographs. Paige Toon has obviously researched photography carefully when writing this book, and writes about it with authority, I loved reading about Rachel and Bronte and their job. It's clearly a passion for both characters and that comes across so well.
As we move through the different weddings in the book, we find out that Bronte has a serious dislike of churches too. It takes quite a while for her reasoning to be revealed, and I have to confess I was shocked. It's nothing like anything that Paige has covered in her books before, but I thought it was really well handled, and goes some way to explain Bronte's reluctance towards relationships as well, and it made me sympathise with Bronte too. Bronte is a good character, likeable for the most part, except for her obsession with a taken man, perhaps mainly due to the fact they had such unfinished business from before. I found Alex dislikeable from the beginning, I just couldn't warm to him and didn't understand what it was Bronte saw in him. Then there's lovely Lachie, who seemed like the perfect man to me, and I just wanted Bronte to choose him. For me, it was a no-brainer, but clearly not for Bronte! Other friends make appearances, some with bigger roles than others but the story mainly focuses on these three people.
This was an enjoyable book, with a good cast of characters and a story that will keep you wanting to read until the end to find out exactly who Bronte is going to end up with. As I mentioned before, we do catch up with a few characters from previous books - Lily (Pictures of Lily), Laura (The Longest Holiday) and Alice (One Perfect Summer). I love this aspect of Paige's books more than anything, and it really keeps you in touch with those characters you've loved from before, it's so great! Paige's writing, as usual, is spot on and so easy to read and follow, there's humour, sadness, happiness and sadness weaved within the story and Paige Toon writes each of these with ease. It's a great book, Paige balances Bronte's love life with the more serious themes in the book, and it makes for great reading overall. I enjoyed the book, and can't wait for my next book from Paige Toon.