Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve

Here is a summary of the book from the Goodreads website:

At an inn in the Berkshire Mountains, seven former schoolmates gather to celebrate a wedding--a reunion that becomes the occasion of astonishing revelations as the friends collectively recall a long-ago night that indelibly marked each of their lives. Written with the fluent narrative artistry that distinguishes all of Anita Shreve's bestselling novels, A Wedding in December acutely probes the mysteries of the human heart and the endless allure of paths not taken.

 My Review:
Although A Wedding in December takes place over a weekend, Shreve gives us enough backstory of our characters that allows us to know each of them intimately.   The classmates are reuniting at a beautiful inn in the Berkshire Mountains to share in a wedding celebration.  

Our main characters were the best of friends during school, Bridget and Bill were even lovers, but none of their relationships would survive the real world.  As the weekend unfolds, the characters reminisce about the past as they embrace their rekindled friendships.  A few have stayed in touch over the years, but most left that world behind, locking away the memories and the secrets.  As they discuss events of the past we learn what happened long ago sending these good friends in opposite directions.

One of the characters of the story is working on a novel that takes place during the Halifax explosion.  Throughout the story bits of the Halifax novel are brought to life for us.  Personally, I did not care for this part of the book.  It seemed to take something away from the real story for me as sometimes whole chapters were made up of the Halifax event.  Since this was a new piece of history to me, I did find it interesting, I just didn't care for it being a part of this book.

The wedding takes place under tragic circumstances, giving everyone a new appreciation for each other.  Both friendships and romances are rekindled as the friends join for the celebration.  Except for the novel within the novel, I appreciated how everyone's story was shared.

I enjoyed this novel with themes of love, regrets, and secrets.  We did read this as a book club selection in December hoping it would have a Christmas element to it, but that was not the case.  Although my book group wasn't overly impressed with this pick, I have to say that it did make for an interesting discussion.  I recommend this book for personal leisure or as a book club selection.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book is from my personal library and I read it for my own entertainment and as a book club disucussion.


bermudaonion said...

I used to love Shreve's work but she seems to be hit or miss lately. I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

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Anna said...

It's been years since I read this one, and I remember enjoying it. I think I found the Halifax story to be the most interesting, but I agree that it didn't go with the main story. Glad you liked it anyway!