Monday, 14 July 2014

Review: Thirteen Weddings - Paige Toon*

Last year, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After a night of passion they parted ways, and Bronte returned to Australia.
Now working on a picture desk for a magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet her new colleague, who turns out to be all too familiar. Although awkward at first, as Alex is now engaged to the girl he was on a break from when they met, they soon become friends.
But as the two get closer, and the wedding day looms, it is clear that Alex and Bronte have unfinished business

I read Thirteen Weddings when it came out back in May, May! and yet I've never seemed to get round to talking about it and how much I love it. I feel very Austen-esque, maybe if I loved it less I could talk about it more.

Paige Toon is definitely one of my favourite authors, my go to if I want a romance with that yearning, heartache quality (it's a lot better than it sounds, I promise). Toon's novels are always a bit more complex than your standard romance and that's what I love about them. The romance in Toon's books is never easy, there is often more than one obstacle standing between our hero and heroine and sometimes the choices that have to made aren't all that obvious or clear cut.

Thirteen Weddings tells the story of Bronte, who's moved to a new job in London only to find that her new colleague is the man she spent an unforgettable night with a few months ago. For his part, Alex is shocked to see that he and Bronte now work on the same magazine; newly engaged Alex can't rekindle the relationship he had with Bronte and they instead become firm friends. What I loved about Thirteen Weddings is that it's not just a love story, it's Bronte's story, it is the tale of how Bronte tries to fit in to her new life and discover who she is. During the course of her story, Bronte follows her passion for photography and discovers her talent as a wedding photographer, making new friends and meeting new love along the way. 

Toon doesn't make any choice easy for Bronte or the reader. Lachie, Bronte's wedding singer boyfriend, is just as likeable and romantic as Alex, and yet the hold that Alex has over Bronte is all to relatable. Toon keeps you guessing throughout the book as to what Bronte's going to do, she faces some difficult decisions and I wouldn't recommend starting Thirteen Weddings if you've got anything else to do - you're going to want to carry on reading to the very end to find out what she decides.

Thirteen Weddings has some similar threads to Toon's other novels, the connection to Australia as well as a character's interest in photography, but none of her books have that sinking familiar feeling that you can get with some more formulaic authors. Bronte is a complex character, she doesn't really know herself and it takes time for the reader to understand her too. One of the more interesting facets to Bronte's character is her deep-seated fear of churches (not all that convenient for a wedding photographer's assistant) thankfully this is a mystery that Toon does solve and helps the reader to begin to decipher her character. The detail that Toon uses to describe each wedding also adds an extra element to the novel, the humour and drama of each is picked out and gives the reader the chance to revel in some added romance.

Packed full of emotion, laughs and life lessons Thirteen Weddings is the perfect summer read and one of Toon's best novels so far, a book that I'd throughly recommend.

*Advanced reader's copy received in return for an honest review. Thirteen Weddings is published by Simon & Schuster UK and is available now.

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