Polly Atkins is getting married.

And her older sister Bella couldn’t be more excited. Not only will Polly be home after five years in New York, but she’s coming back to marry the most perfect man on the planet, Dev. Dresses, cake, first dance … Bella’s looking forward to getting stuck into the arrangements.

Polly’s best friend Grace is just as excited. She’s can’t wait to walk down the aisle behind her childhood ally, especially as the stylish Polly wouldn’t dream of dressing her bridesmaids in anything but the best, which will make a welcome change to the ‘mum-wear’ she’s adopted since her second child was born.

The only person who doesn’t seem to be bursting with enthusiasm is Polly. Which is why, before things can get any more chaotic, she calls the whole thing off. And there’s no way she’s going to tell them why. Some secrets are best kept hidden.

But she’s reckoned without Grace and Bella, who are determined to get Polly and Dev back together if it’s the last thing they do. After all, solving someone else’s problems has got to be better than dealing with their own …?

“There Goes The Bride” is the first stand-alone novel from Holly McQueen, the authoress of the ‘Isabel Bookbinder’ series. It begins with Polly Atkins returning to London from New York and announcing, without any explanation, that she’s breaking up with her fiancé Dev, the man she was supposed to be marrying in just a few weeks. Polly’s sister Bella is sure that Polly’s making a mistake and enlists the help of Polly’s best friend Grace to uncover what’s behind her change of heart.

Unfortunately, I found Polly to be completely self-absorbed and annoyingly flighty; indeed, I was thankful that the reader doesn’t actually see that much of her – I far preferred the secondary storylines concerning Bella and Grace and their awful relationships. The only time we know what’s going on in Polly’s head is via some rather ambiguous emails to the mysterious Julia in New York, and as such, I found that I didn’t really care about Polly or Dev, and I certainly wasn’t bothered whether they got back together again or not. The mystery of why Polly called off the wedding in the first place was also of little interest to me. In fact, I didn’t really understand Polly and Dev’s relationship at all – she’s been in New York for five years, but he’s working in a hospital in the UK? It just didn’t sit well with me.

Bella’s friend Anna however was a brilliant character – completely nutty, and her hilariously inappropriate comments about her sex life had me laughing out loud in places. Polly and Bella’s mother was also very amusing with her flirting with any man in sight and her bossing around of her husband and Bella. I just wish these two characters had featured more in the book.

My favourite of the main protagonists was Grace; I particularly enjoyed the way that in actual fact, she was such a completely different person to how she was perceived by those around her. Her husband is awful, but the characters were so well-written that I could both understand how she’d ended up with him in the first place, and have stuck with him for so long. The same was true of the relationship between Bella and her boyfriend – they are wrong for each other, but you can really see how conceivable it is that they’d not yet realised this.

I didn’t think that the widower in the story, Liam, was particularly well dealt with. Perhaps this was just because I’ve recently read Freya North’s ‘Chances’, which deals with a similar situation superbly, but I felt that Liam’s widowhood was treated almost insensitively.

“There Goes The Bride” was well-written and kept my interest through out, but, whilst it contained some very memorable minor characters, I felt that Polly, the character referred to in the book’s title, was a bit of a let-down. The best aspect of the story was undoubtedly the many funny moments; Holly McQueen writes comedic episodes brilliantly and I think that is where her true talent lies.

3 stars

For my review of Freya North’s ‘Chances’ please see:

https://girlyscribbles.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/review-chances-by-freya-north/

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