Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: "A Wedding in Great Neck" by Yona Zeldis McDonough

The Silverstein family is gathering in Great Neck, Long Island to attend the wedding of Angelica, the family's youngest daughter and the long-time favourite. However, as with most weddings, all is not well and there will be a lot of drama leading up to the big moment.

Angelica's mother is locked in a battle of the wills with the bossy wedding planner. Her father is a recovering alcoholic and although he is thrilled to be included in his daughter's big day he is less than thrilled to be faced with his ex-wife's new found happiness and wealth. Gretchen, the big sister in the family, is dealing with a failed marriage, the fallout of adultery, and two moody teen aged daughters. Gretchen's daughter Justine is full of raging hormones and angry at her parents for divorcing. Grandmother Lenore has decided that it is high time that her four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren pull themselves together and follow their paths to happiness.

When Justine tries to sabotage the big day and brings family tensions from a simmer to a boil the Silversteins wonder if it's possible that the day can have a happy ending.

I loved A Wedding in Great Neck. And I mean loved! I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed it. It was well-written and it flowed well, some of the things that I always look for in a good story. I was engrossed from the time that I picked it up until the time that I put it back down! Even though the story is told from several points of view (Lenore's, Gretchen's, Justine's, and Angelica's divorced parents), I cared equally about the characters and wanted to know what would happen to each of them next. Sometimes when I read a book told from multiple points of view I care more about some characters than others and I end up skimming certain parts. This was not the case with A Wedding in Great Neck. I even liked Angelica's father, who was a bit of a pathetic character at times. Author McDonough is skilled in creating characters that I came to care about early on.

Interestingly enough, everyone was coming together to celebrate Angelica's marriage, however Angelica's point of view was not included! That really worked for me. She had enough of a presence that I was interested in her but she didn't steal the show at any point.

I only had one complaint about the novel. I strongly disliked the ending. I don't mean how the author chose to wrap things up at the end because I was happy with that, but a small part of the ending was unexpected and I didn't like the choice that the author made. It's too bad because that was literally the only thing that I didn't like about the book.

A Wedding in Great Neck will definitely be going on my "to be re-read" shelf, an honour reserved for very few books. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more from this author. My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this novel.

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