Nice Day for a White Wedding by A.L. Michael
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Nice Day for a White Wedding is about Chelsea Donovan, a former bad girl who grew up in a slum, but who is now a successful Oxford graduate and business executive. She’s always hidden her past from her boyfriend Kit, but once they get engaged, all of her secrets are at risk of being exposed. With two predictably unpredictable families and tensions running high, Chelsea’s and Kit’s engagement is off to a rocky start. Will they end up together, or will they decide their differences are too many to overcome?
That’s the question at the heart of this book, the second in the author’s “The House on Camden Square” series. I haven’t read the first book, but I might go back and read it now, just to see how the larger narrative plays out. I felt that this book worked perfectly fine as a standalone, and I enjoyed reading it, even though it did make me inexplicably emotional. (Seriously, no idea why I reacted to every relationship setback so strongly, but I doubt it will make most people so crazy.)
Chelsea is an easy character to relate to, at least for me. She started off her life poor and worked hard to do better for herself. She ends up at Oxford out of sheer force of will and by the time we meet her in this book, she’s a high-ranking executive at her company. She’s independent and unapologetic for her success, and even though she doesn’t make her past a part of her current narrative, she still supports her family in more ways than one. Her loyalty to them, despite her embarrassment, is touching, and I loved that she cared so much about her brothers.
Kit, on the other hand, I think she might be better off without. He’s nice and perfect for her when they’re alone, yes, but honestly, it didn’t take much for him to slip into a persona more appropriate for a spoiled rich boy. Instead of asking Chelsea about her past or involving her in their decisions, he leapt to conclusions and made accusations, and he committed them both to events without asking how she felt. That really bothered me. Chelsea made herself into a strong, independent woman, but when she was around Kit, she was reduced to an accessory by his side most of the time. Their romance didn’t work for me.
This book wasn’t a romance, though. It’s about two people, their families, and their relationship, and how secrets and lies can affect them. It didn’t matter that Chelsea and Kit didn’t have what I would consider an ideal relationship because what they did have seemed real. At each major point during their relationship in the book, I really felt terrible for Chelsea (but really never for Kit). I really cared what happened to these characters and their not-so-perfect relationship. I’m going to have to read more of the books in this series to see how everything turns out (and to see how the other main characters fare, too).
The supporting cast was interesting, too. Chelsea’s and Kit’s families were both full of interesting and quirky characters, but I especially enjoyed the household staff at Kit’s family’s home in Italy. Each of the characters (but especially Alistair and Alfie) were so full of personality and just downright fun. I think they were standouts for sure.
I didn’t really get the significance of Ruby and why she matters so much to this story that isn’t really about her, but that could be because I haven’t read the first book in the series, so I won’t pass judgment on that. I thought it was an interesting way to see into Chelsea’s past, but I didn’t always understand why those segments came when they did, or what they had to do with the main story, really. I didn’t mind them, but they weren’t all that important to me, either, for the most part.
I gave this book four stars because I liked the realness of the relationship and I enjoyed reading it from the start to the end. I can’t say whether the lifestyle of the ultra-rich was portrayed accurately, but I enjoyed seeing two people from completely different backgrounds come together. I might have given it three stars because of Kit’s completely crazy split personality if I hadn’t felt such a strong pull to the story, but as I did, I’m giving it four. This was a super quick read and my first by this author. I think I’ll read more by A.L. Michael in the future.
*ARC from Carina UK via NetGalley