Title: The Winter Wedding
Author: Abby Clements
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 26 November 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5
Hazel never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Ollie's summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel's expertise soon spreads.
But Hazel's clients expect the very best - she's promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say 'I do'? And will she find her own happy ending if she does?
Thank you to Abby Clements and Simon & Schuster UK/Books and the City for providing me with a review copy of The Winter Wedding.
Hazel is not having a good year. She is treated like an office skivvy at work whilst trying to get promoted, her twin sister Lila has become engaged and is moving out of the flat they have shared for 10 years and she is estranged from her best friend, Sam, after an awkward encounter. Could things get any worse…?
When Lila’s wedding planner lets her down, wannabe set-designer Hazel is happy to jump in and help out. She finds that she has a natural flair for wedding planning, leading to further opportunities. Having recently been married myself, I can certainly relate to the dramas and issues involved in planning your perfect wedding!
Combined with the baking skills from her new flatmate Amber, wedding planning could be an interesting business venture for hazel. However, is wedding planning what Hazel really wants to do with her life? She has an artistic nature and ambitions to work as a Set Designer, however whilst being teased with the promise of a promotion at work, all she seems to do is cover for her boss who prefers boozy networking sessions to actual work!
Hazel is a likeable and very real character. She is a hard worker who always puts others before herself. Her sister Lila, new flatmate Amber and colleague Josh, are good supporting characters. Abby Clements seems to have a knack for creating real, relatable and (most importantly) likeable characters. We also have the villainous Emma, Hazel’s boss, who I loved to hate!
I particularly liked the way the book commenced with a prologue about Hazel and Lila when they were younger. That was a lovely start to the book and gave an insight into their close relationship. It was also interesting to read about the developing friendship between Hazel and Amber, who first meet as almost-rivals at work.
There is a romantic edge to the story as Hazel finds herself stuck between her long-seated love for her former best friend, Sam, and her burgeoning attraction to her soon-to-be-engaged colleague, Josh. Having made a move on Sam, only to be knocked back, she is eager to regain contact with him and get her best friend back. The situation is frustrating, but certainly made me want to read more.
I found that I read the book very quickly. It is well-paced, allowing the reader to get absorbed in the story and carried away by the little twists and turns that Hazel faces throughout the book.
I think that The Winter Wedding is one of my favourite of Abby Clements books. It is not overly festive, but has a lovely wintery feel to it. A great book for curling up next to the fire on a cold winter’s day.
About the Author
Abby Clements worked in book publishing before writing this, her first novel. Her Christmas baking skills are upper-intermediate. Her countryside-survival skills are basic to none. She lives with her boyfriend in North London.