26 May 2010
Book Review: The Bridesmaid Pact by Julia Williams
I've been a fan of both the Julia Williams' books I've read which are Pastures New, and more recently Last Christmas. When I was given a chance to read this one, which I've been looking forward since I read her last book before Christmas, I jumped at the chance, and actually managed to finish it in just a day as my son was out most of the day and I wanted to relax a bit with a good book! I love the gorgeous light blue cover adored with all weddingy-pictures and think it looks like a perfect spring read, one I'd certainly pick up off a shelf. I was hopeful that it would just as good a read as Last Christmas which I really did adore, and luckily for me, it was even better!
The book focuses on the main 4 women, but it was the beginning which was fantastic and really grabbed my attention. We're taken back to 1981 (before I was even born!) to the Royal Wedding of Charles and Di, and 4 little girls who think Diana looks like the Princess she is about to become. There was something very sweet about this prologue and I love already how the bonds of friendship were between these little girls. It's the naivety of thinking that everything would still be the same in 20 years for them to make the pact true that is so sweet, and I think beginning the book in this matter was fantastic.
It takes a while for the reasons behind Caz's departure for the group to be made explicit to the reader, but I enjoyed this because I was having fun inventing things she could have done in my head until it became clear what was going on. She was a character I actually felt sorry for, and her personal storyline grows in a shocking way throughout the book, and I liked how Williams' made her a sympathetic character despite what had gone on. Also, the way Williams' brings about her relationship with the other girls is touching too, and its the relationships that make this book so readable.
Everything about it is emotional. Beth's struggle to have a baby with her husband is one I am sure many women out there will be able to sympathise with, and you can tell when reading it that Williams has done her research on the topic. There's enough information in there about the things Beth goes through that it is slightly informative, but it's also emotional when these scenes happen. Sarah's story is another one I feel women will be able to relate to - a marriage that has lost its spark, leaving Sarah feeling used by her husband and unloved. While this was a sad story for her, I loved the way Julia approached it and the way it developed as the book went on. Finally, there's Doris and her secret, another very emotional story that tugs at the heart strings, but not for a while because we don't actually know what is making Doris so glum. I also love her name because when you read the book, you realise she is the least "Doris"-y person you can imagine!
This poem is all about friendship, and how it can break, evolve and become something different entirely when the people who know you the best are in need. While it's called The Bridesmaid Pact, don't worry about it all being about weddings because really this only takes up about 15% of the whole book. The rest is about those 4 wonderful lead characters, their relationships as they struggle with their changing lives and the things that have been thrown at them, and I just couldn't put it down. I was desperate to find out how it would all work for the 4 young girls who had so many dreams, and I was just totally engrossed. The writing is fantastic, I love how Julia has kept back certain things from the reader so you're left wondering until quite a way into the story, the 4 women were people you can imagine knowing and being your friends, and most importantly, it's just a fantastic read. Definitely recommended!
You can buy The Bridesmaid Pact in paperback or on eBook/Kindle