A Wedding in Tuscany – Sandy Barker

Having read one of Sandy Barkers books before, I was very excited to given the opportunity to read this new book, ’A Wedding in Tuscany’. Although it is actually one of a series of books, I found it read perfectly as a standalone book.

I really liked the way this book was written, with individual chapters dedicated to either of the Sisters, Cat and Sarah.

Cat is the most wonderful, uplifting character; the more you read about her, the more you want to read about her. She is a veritable rose amongst the gritty, thorny reality of contemporary fiction characters. I simply couldn’t get enough of her, and having read the first few chapters of the book, it really mattered to me, whether or not she got the romantic wedding of her dreams or not. I really do not know how Sandy Barker gets the inspiration for her wonderful, inspiring characters! I love the dynamics within families, particularly those involving the women in the families, and I was tickled by the ‘And this is her special day, so let’s just start deciding things then move onto the next’ comment made by Cat’s Mum to Cat’s Sister, Sarah, when they were discussing the organisation of Cat’s upcoming nuptials, and what Cat might want for her special day! Sarah too was a wonderful character and an an amazing Sister to Cat. An example was when she offered to swap venues – to let Cat have her mystery 40th birthday venue for the wedding, whilst Sarah would have ’Creepy Towers’ for her Birthday party. Cat refused this kind offer of course, and I was relieved for Josh, when he had spent so much time arranging Sarah’s Birthday party. Cat’s betrothed, Jean-Luc sounded simply delightful in both senses of the word; indeed I’m sure my insides turned slightly more towards mush, every time the utterance ’Cherie’ came out of his mouth, intended for Cat.

I love Italy, and the thought of a wedding in Tuscany sounded particularly endearing; the food, the scenery and some fabulous characters – what’s not to love! I couldn’t agree more with Cat’s suggestion of taking the time to soak everything in; indeed this is one of my favourite ways to make the most of a new place – letting the sights, sounds and smells just seep in. Wonderful. I particularly relished the selfless generosity of the author, in allowing us readers these moments.

Something that had me puzzled, was Cat’s reluctance to not only live in Paris, but to even broach the subject. There must surely be something more than Cat’s rocky relationship with her In-Laws, to which this reticence to even talk about the future must be attributed? Regardless, it warranted fairly urgent discussion, preferably before the wedding! Sarah also had me puzzled, with her reticence to have a joint wedding/40th birthday celebration. It seemed that at times she was overcompensating with wedding preparations, in order to avoid her looming 40th celebration. Both Sisters seemed to be in major avoidance mode, with little evidence as to why. However, once it had been ascertained that Cat really had lost her wedding dress, it transpired that the over – exuberant wedding preparation might actually be justified!

I loved the idea of the ’bad-ass’ gal that was Adventure Chick, nut I think its one of those concepts that you will need to read about for yourself, in order to fully grasp its gist!

I really did feel for Cat, when it came to choosing a room wIthin their chosen wedding venue for the actual ceremony; the author had done a fantastic job of making both options sound equally awful – swathed in darkness, cobwebs and various deceased creature memorabilia! Sandy Barker’s gift for descriptive language came to the fore, in the way that she made the dreadfulness of the situation seem so equally real, yet pressing. Cat would have been forgiven, had she gone into full Bridezilla mode at this point, having already discovered that her wedding dress was missing, but she remained relatively calm at this point. Humour was kept alive throughout the book though, an example being the flippant suggestion of an Indiana Jones themed wedding! I must also confess to having had a terrible ‘snaughing’ moment over the revelation of Roberto the masseur! Conversely, I confess to shedding a tear at Cat’s vulnerabilty

Snaugh /snaːf/

snaugh noun – when something is so hysterically funny that your sides hurt as you laugh energetically, whilst simultaneously snorting unattractively (often involving copious amounts of snot), captive to laughter. A solitary moment – nobody else tends to have the slightest clue what is quite so uproariously hilarious, which makes the whole situation even funnier!

I felt terribly sad that Cecile and Cat didn’t get on; again it is a genuine testament of the author’s fabulous writing, that I find I care so much. we didn’t initially have too much information about the relationship, other than an inkling that Cecile had previously been a bit of a bitch towards Cat, and that she liked Jean-Luc’s ex. I must confess though, to liking a bit of drama and I was starting to have doubts over whether or not the wedding would actually happen or not, when you looked at the Cecile situation and combined it with the fact that Cat and Jean-Luc still hadn’t spoken about where they were going to live, post wedding – and we are not talking about something simple as which apartment to live in – but about which country to set down roots.

So many questions. Will the pre-weds find a venue and a dress?

What is Sarah’s problem with her 40th Birthday? I am not going to spoil things for you – you will have to read the book to find out.



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