The Official Book Blurb
A heartwarming, cosy romance from Sunday Times bestselling author Michele Gorman, now writing as Lilly Bartlett
When Emma’s boyfriend Daniel pops the question with a ring the size of a small country, she suddenly realises just how different they are. She’s the Eastenders to his Made in Chelsea. She wants a low-key wedding with close friends and family in Uncle Colin’s pub, while Daniel’s mother is expecting a society do that their high-brow guests won’t forget!
How on earth can Emma put together a celebration fit for Lords and Ladies on a shoestring budget? Not to mention the fact her cross-dressing Uncle Barbara wants to be a bridesmaid, her best mate Kelly can’t stand Daniel’s best friend Cressida, and her dad is too proud to accept any help from Daniel’s family towards the costs.
There’s three months to go until the big day. Will Emma’s happy-ever-after end in disaster?
Now – full disclosure here. I read this book by accident. I don’t mean that I didn’t want to read it. I wouldn’t have bought it if that was the case. What I mean is that I am on the blog tour for the next book in the series, The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square and I had meant to start tucking into that one but opened this up on my kindle in error. But you know what? I’m fluffing glad I did as not only did I get a great introduction to Emma and Daniel and the various crazy characters they share their lives with, but I got a darned good read too. I am so ready for book two now, I cannot wait.
We join Emma just at the point where Daniel is ready to propose. They have been dating for a while and, the crazy logistics of Emma’s living arrangements aside, everything has been going well. Emma is on the cusp of graduation and while the pair may not have much money what they do have is far more precious – each other.
In this day and age getting married should be easy right? Not less stressful, that pressure will never go away, but definitely easier. That is until you factor in a lack of funds and the fact that Bride and Groom come from two very different sides of a grand socio-economic divide with two very different ideas of what the perfect wedding looks like. Throw in an unexpected ‘gift’ for the betrothed and the scene is set for one heck of a pre-wedding caper. Whether Emma and Daniel are able to overcome differences and circumstance and pull off the perfect wedding… well you’ll have to read to find that out won’t you?
I really liked the character of Emma. She was down to earth and totally committed to her family and her community. She didn’t want to let anyone down, and that included her new in-laws to be who, coming from a background of absolute privilege, perhaps didn’t fully understand the constraints Emma faced. Daniel’s mother, Philippa, found everything about Emma’s lifestyle ‘quaint’ and ‘frightfully fun dahling’, which in any other circumstance may have appeared condescending and certainly led to a few raised eyebrows, but when put into context, actually really suited the novel. What Emma manages to pull together, with the help of a small amount of creativity and the full support of a wonderful community, is nothing short of a miracle and warms the cockles in a good old fashioned east-end style. There were times when I wanted her to just tell everyone to stop, but I can understand the reticence to totally upset your new family before the wedding. Plenty of time for that in the years that follow…
Now at times Daniel made me chuckle, he was just so frightfully posh yah, and times when I’d want to slap him for being so completely blind to the truth of their situation. That said he was utterly charming and totally in love with Emma and you know he would have done anything for her. His siter and friends, Seb and especially Cressida, were fab, as was Emma’s best friend Kelly. Kelly was also the Bridesmaid from hell at times, totally jealous of and threatened by the way in which Emma’s life was changing which almost derailed the hen night. But ultimately she is the perfect friend, the kind of person you could only hope you had in your life to watch your back.
Nothing in this book is plain sailing, from the most basic of wedding arrangements to life in general, with each of the Emma’s family suffering their own little struggles. From Uncle Barbara (yes that is right) with his strained relationship with his children due to his lifestyle choice; her Great Aunt Rose who is suffering lapses in awareness where she replicates her own version of The Great Escape; to Emma’s father, suffering from the crippling effects of MS, but they all have one thing in common. A great inner strength and an overwhelming love for each other which is really heart warming. I don’t mind admitting that there was one very tender moment between Emma and her father at the wedding which had me trying hard not to cry. Reading those passages on Father’s day too – well it just seemed quite fitting really.
All in all this was a brilliantly funny, heart warming and moving story showing the power of a community pulling together. If only we all had the kind of support that Emma and Daniel received. I can’t wait to get onto the next book now to see how their married life is progressing, especially as they received some news which was a total game changer in the first book.
If you like a good old rom-com full of family love and a rousing sense of community spirit then this is highly recommended.
The Big Little Wedding In Carlton Square was released in paperback on 15th June by Harper Impulse. You can obtain a copy from the following retailers:
About the Author
Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power comedies under her own name.
Follow Michele on Twitter
And make sure to join me and the other fab blogs taking part in the tour for The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square which starts tomorrow.