Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine to highlight the upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

This weeks choice:

The Bridesmaid Pact by Julia Williams
One for all and all for one! As children, Sarah, Dorrie, Beth and Caz were inseparable and vowed to one day be each others bridesmaids. But life got complicated. Now they have one last chance to fulfil their promise. Dorrie is planning her ultimate Disney wedding to the delicious Darren and is determined to have her friends back together for the Big Day. But Dorrie’s fairytale is not all that it seems! Beth is desperate for a baby and is starting to resent her more fertile friends. Is a mistake from her past about to destroy her future? Caz’s wild streak has tested her friendships over the years. One by one she has let her friends down, not least when she commits the ultimate betrayal to Susan. Can she change her ways and more to the point, does she really want to? Married to Steve, Sarah is plagued by doubts that she went down the wrong path. Does Sarah have the strength to make a change and will she ever be able to forgive Caz? As Dorrie’s big day dawns, all eyes are on whether the ultimate act of friendship will be honoured and obeyed!

I’ve read Strictly Love by Julia Williams and enjoyed that. I also have Last Christmas sitting on the shelf, but as I didn’t get a chance to read it over the festive period, and been one of those people who really do like to savour Christmassy stuff for December, I’ve been saving it. I do love the sound of this one though! (released 27th May 2010)

And of course my second book this week is one I’m sure a LOT of people are waiting for!

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by the riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits.

In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

I wasn’t that big a fan of Eclipse, I had problems with some of it, but this sounds really interesting! It’s due for release on the 5th June, which is also my birthday (gift to myself?)

Book Review: Strictly Love by Julia Williams

Guilty feet have got plenty of rhythm ! Kick off your shoes and snuggle up with this warm and witty new novel from the author of the bestselling Pastures New Lawyer Emily promised her late father that she’d devote her life to good causes. So how comes she spends her days defending Z-listers, desperate to prolong their 15 minutes of fame? Katie is obsessed with being the perfect wife and mother – unlike her own one. In which case, why is husband Charlie permanently AWOL these days? Dentist Mark is licking his wounds after his wife walked out on him and desperately missing his kids. Can he cope with becoming a singleton again – on top of a devastating legal case against him? Meanwhile, happy-go-lucky Jack the Lad Rob is hiding a secret tragedy! Isabella’s dance class give the four the perfect opportunity to forget their troubles and re-invent themselves. They can be whoever they want to be – they’ll just let their feet do the talking. Over the weeks, as they foxtrot, tango, waltz and chachacha their way into each other’s lives, they discover the truth about each other – and themselves. But will they like what they learn?

I am a big fan of programs such as Strictly Come Dancing, and indeed that is what attracted me to the book in the first place. Strictly Love tells the story of a year in the life of four 30 somethings, all unhappy with how their life is panning out and decide to take up dancing classes for a bit of escapism.

Emily became a Lawyer after the death of her beloved Father from asbestos poisoning, when she decided she wanted a career that would make a difference to the working classes and take on large corporations. However, at the beginning of the book we find Emily has actually ended up representing ‘Zedlebs‘ in London. Her boyfriend Callum is a rich and useless waste of space drug addict/party boy, and she is seriously disillusioned with her life.

Katy is Emily’s more stable friend. She married the man she loved, has 3 gorgeous kids and a beautiful house, to the outsider she has a perfect life and works tirelessly to uphold the illusion. However behind closed doors, things are less than perfect. Katy’s husband is becoming increasingly distant and her marriage faces breakdown. Katy meanwhile feels as a person she is lost in a frumpy world of motherhood, and reminisces fondly of her youthful dancing days.

Mark is a single father to two teenage girls, who he doesn’t understand. His ex wife, Sam, is demanding and unreasonable, and left him for a more exciting partner. Forced to share a 3 bedroom semi, with best friend Rob, Mark is still in love with Sam, hates his job as a dentist and feels like an all round failure.

Rob, who flat shares with Mark, is a womanising commitment-phobe. At 35 he’s the one who never grew up, and his sole interest in dancing is to pick up more women. However, there is a deeper side to Rob, which is revealed slowly.

The book is told in the third person, and skips quickly from one of the four to the other. It wasn’t difficult to know which character we where reading from at any given time, however telling the view point of 4 different people in under 400 pages means that we don’t really get to know each individual character very well.

Excepting Emily, I loved all the characters, and could relate either myself or people I know to them. Particularly Rob and Katy.

Katy is a fascinating woman, who despite feeling downtrodden remains intelligent and feisty. I would have much preferred the story to centre around Katy, with Emily perhaps as an annoying friend. And I suppose most of us knows a Rob, still acting like a student and chasing women despite being in his mid thirties! I liked how his story was slow to develop and led the reader from dislike to empathy at his situation.

Emily however grated from the minute she was introduced. I am guessing she was supposed to be an intelligent, independent career woman. Personally I found her to be a simpering idiot, weak willed and with little morals. Indeed when her fledgling relationship is threatened by a moral dilemma at work, which also raises questionable ethics, she does the wrong thing. I was screaming you ‘Pathetic £%$”£’ in my head.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book. It was incredibly easy to read, and did have some unexpected twists and turns making it not as predictable as one might first imagine! I think the big mistake was to tell the story from 4 view points. I loved Katy and thought her story alone would have been fantastic. And while I didn’t like Emily, her tale had an interesting premise. I do think Julia Williams wrote very good female characters, even Sam, the nightmare ex, and Jasmine the zedleb have promise as interesting central characters in their own right.

My Rating: 3.5