Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Review: The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash

How long would it take you to get over the guy you thought was the love of your life? Would you mourn your relationship for days, months, years? What about a full decade? And if you are still in love with him a decade on despite being dumped for no good reason, would you be able to accept an invitation to this man's wedding to someone else, even if only in hopes of giving yourself closure on your relationship? In Charlotte Nash's new novel, The Paris Wedding, main character Rachael West is faced with just such a decision.

Rachael's mother, who suffered from a fast moving and rare kind of MS, has just died when into her mailbox drops an invitation to Rach's ex-boyfriend's wedding. It's in Paris, all expenses paid. But Rachael has never gotten over Matthew and in the wake of her mother's death, a decade during which she gave up her dreams of university and a life and family with Matthew to stay on the family wheat farm and care for her mother, she is even more conscious than ever of all she gave up, sacrificing the husband and children that so many of her contemporaries now have. Initially she doesn't think she can go to the wedding. Seeing Matthew marry Bonnie, a wealthy Sydney socialite and philanthropist, would be too hard. But then she reasons that maybe actually seeing him commit his life to another woman will help her get over him and move on. So she asks her best friend Sammy to be her plus one as she and the other members of their tiny, rural Australian community travel to Paris for an incredible wedding experience.

Once in Paris, things get impossibly complicated though. Rachael is horrified to discover that she still has feelings for Matthew.  She is also intrigued by the sexy wedding photographer, Antonio. She and Sammy get in a fight that tests their friendship; she meets and likes Matthew's fiance Bonnie; and her talent as a seamstress and designer, something she's always thought of only as a hobby, is recognized and applauded. With so many potential futures suddenly open to her, where will her heart lead her?  Is that once yearned for life with Matthew her dream or is her dream something else entirely?

Rachael's character initially feels stuck in place. She never regretted staying and caring for her mother but she did make a huge sacrifice to do so. That she hasn't been able to move past her love for Matthew despite not seeing him for a decade is completely believable given the small town and lack of opportunities in it so the reader sympathizes with her feeling of life having passed her by. Although going to Paris is supposed to help her get unstuck, she can't quite let go of that promised life with Matthew even while she's attracted to Antonio. Her waffling between the two men is frustrating because the reader knows for sure early on what the correct choice is. She spends much of the novel wrapped up in her own troubles, without giving a thought to those around her but luckily she's drawn as kind and caring enough that the reader still wants to see her happy and moving forward. Some of the plot threads are fairly predictable (and some seem to be intentionally so), especially those around the secondary characters, but this doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the novel. When Rachael remembers her mother and the things she used to tell her daughter to help her cope with life, her mum offers some lovely, profound, and true sentiments. This is a sweet romance but it's also about facing the future and learning to let go of those who leave you, whether intentionally (a break-up or abandonment) or because they have no choice (death) and it's about figuring out and following a dream no matter how delayed.

For more information about Charlotte Nash and the book, check out her webpage, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter. Check out the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins for sending me a copy of the book for review.

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