Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: The Wedding Writer

Summary: Four talented women, one glossy wedding magazine: life should be as perfect as a bridal catwalk… right?

Lucky Quinn writes up weddings for one of the hottest bridal magazines. And it wasn’t easy to get there. From humble beginnings, she outsmarted her way into the center of New York’s glamorous magazine industry – making up for her background with a sharp mind, whip-thin physique, and ceaseless ambition.

Then, in one day, her life is utterly transformed; two of the magazine’s major competitors fold, and Lucky is named Editor-in-Chief, replacing the formidable, but aging Grace Ralston, who had been at the magazine’s helm from day one. Grace taught Lucky everything she knows, but now it seems that she taught her too well...

As the ripples of Lucky’s promotion spread, the intricate lives of four women begin to unfold. Felice, Your Wedding’s elegant and unshakeable Art Director is now being shaken for the first time by troubles at home. Sara, the Fashion Director, is famed for her eagle eye for fashion trends and exquisite hair. But, for all her know-how, “the Angel of Bridal” has never come close to starring in a wedding herself – she’s picked the dress, but where’s the groom? Grace, recovering in the wake of her sudden, humiliating fall from power, must learn to accept herself – and love – after a life dedicated to fulfilling other women’s dreams. And, through it all, Lucky begins to discover just how lonely the top really is. -- St. Martin's Griffin

If you were anything like me as a teen, you probably loved dreaming about your future wedding. It didn't matter that the groom wasn't even in the picture yet. I still enjoyed buying those HUGE bridal magazines and looking through them over and over again. So when I heard that there was a new book called THE WEDDING WRITER by Susan Schneider that takes you behind the scenes at a bridal magazine, I was definitely interested!

THE WEDDING WRITER tells the story of four very different women who work (or have worked) on a glossy bridal magazine called Your Wedding. Each of the women is more talented than the next and very good at their jobs, yet none of them seem satisfied with their lives. They are all missing something and striving for perfection in their jobs in the hopes that they can fill that void through work. We all pretty much know that that never works, right?

THE WEDDING WRITER was a very fun read and I admit that it reminded me (more than a little bit) of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. It's kind of an insider's look at the inner workings of a bridal magazine from the production schedule, to the features, to the competition, to the employees. I can definitely say that my curiosity about what goes into the production of a magazine was satisfied. And, there were loads of references to all things bridal -- including dress and shoe designers, fabrics, flowers, dinnerware, etc. -- which I thoroughly appreciated. So I can safely say that bridal junkies and readers interested in magazine publishing should be very pleased with THE WEDDING WRITER.

While I definitely enjoyed THE WEDDING WRITER, I don't know that I can say that I loved it. I definitely appreciated the novel though, despite having a very hard time relating to any of the four women. I realize that I don't have to relate to a character in every book to enjoy it; however, I also know that it sometimes helps. I just found all four of these women to be so shallow and self-centered for the vast majority of the book. While their behavior didn't exactly endear them to me, it did make for some good old fashioned fun. I laughed a lot at their back-stabbing and manipulation as well as the dog-eat-dog world of magazine publishing; and I thoroughly enjoyed the author's use of satire.

I also was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the characters...eventually. For a large part of the book, I was rather annoyed by their behavior, but they all redeemed themselves by the end of the novel. I now realize that each of the women was battling her own inner demons -- her insecurities and the pressure of  her job -- and that is what made them seem so distant to me. About two-thirds of the way through the novel, I started to "see the light"  and realize that each woman was really just looking for love and acceptance. And this funny and scandalous novel became a little sad and even touched my heart.

THE WEDDING WRITER could possible make for an interesting book club pick. I have a feeling that most female book clubs could discuss these characters and their actions for quite awhile. I wasn't able to find a formal reading guide, but there certainly isn't a lack of things to discuss. Some of the themes you might want to explore include careers, integrity, friendship, betrayal, love, relationships, and mother/child relationships. You could also have a very cute wedding-themed book club meeting which might be fun!

If you want to learn more about the bridal and/or magazine publishing industry, or if you appreciate juicy novels, then I definitely recommend THE WEDDING WRITER.

Thanks to Diane Saarinen of the Saima Agency for providing a review copy of this novel. Make sure you come back tomorrow because Ms. Schneider will be here with a great guest post and I'll also be giving away a copy of THE WEDDING WRITER.


bermudaonion said...

I have a feeling I'd react the same way to this one - I'd enjoy it but not love it - since that's how I felt about The Devil Wears Prada.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'd be curious about what goes on "behind the scenes" at bridal magazines. I still love looking at them!

Anonymous said...

I was never a big bridal mag gal and honestly found the whole process a little bit intimidating BUT I now, six years after my wedding, love to see what other people plan to do and have done with their events. This looks like a fun read if not totally perfect.

Swapna said...

I love that cover, but I don't think this book is for me. I usually avoid wedding themed books!

Booksnyc said...

This was my WOW pick two weeks ago and I also compared it to Devil Wears Prada. It is shame that the book disappointed - I do love the cover!