Cover Image: The Wedding People

The Wedding People

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Member Reviews

I’ll just begin with this disclaimer: Romantic comedies are not my usual, preferred reading genre. That said, I do enjoy reading a well-done rom-com now and then. When a trusted reading friend (whose reading opinions often mirror mine) raved about The Wedding People, Alison Espach’s upcoming release (late July 2024), I was eager to read an advance copy of the novel myself.

The Wedding People is definitely a rom-com – and a delightful, well-done, surprisingly thoughtful one at that. Like any rom-com, The Wedding People features implausible coincidences, a certain level of predictability, situations that would never occur in real life, and - naturally - a charming meet-cute. But The Wedding People is so much more than that. The characters are a bit unexpected and interesting, the dialog is fresh and funny, the pacing is good, and while, yes, the predictability factor is high, there is also more depth and thoughtfulness than you might expect in a romantic comedy.

I very much enjoyed this novel, and will look forward to reading more of Alison Espach’s writing. The Wedding People will be a delightful addition to your summer reading list.

Thank you to Henry Holt & Company and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published in the United States on July 30, 2024.

4 stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.

I don't often recommend ARCs to people before they're published, but I'm definitely telling people about this book. I love literary fiction and this book had such a unique premise. I loved the cross of reminiscence with the slice of life and commentary on a wedding by a suicidal person. I think it's a really amazing read with a lot of character depth for both the main character, Phoebe, who has such beautiful and astute observations on life and aging, and the other FMC, Lila, who is complicated even in her own spoiled bubble. I loved their interactions with each other.

Another huge note on this book is that the romance doesn't feel forced at all. It feels very empowered and inconvenient at times, but definitely has the most satisfying ending without feeling cliche. I wish I could read this again for the first time.

5/5 will recommend, think this has potential to be one of the books of the year.

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THE WEDDING PEOPLE BY ALISON ESPACH, PUB DATE: 7/30/24
I’m likely more critical of books than the average reader. I may be too critical. I often can’t help but think about what I don’t like about an author’s writing or what I would change to “improve” the story (in my eyes). As someone who is not an author and who does NOT have the talent to write a book, my critique does not mean much. However, since I am so picky, when I tell you I loved a book, it’s very high (and rare) praise for me to give! And let me tell you, I LOVED The Wedding People by Alison Espach. This five-star read is one I’ll be recommending for a long time to come.

Short synopsis: After arriving at the posh Cornwall Inn in Rhode Island, Phoebe realizes she is the only guest at the inn who is not there for a wedding being held at the end of the week. The bride, Lila, has carefully planned the week and her million-dollar wedding. Phoebe’s plan will surely ruin it. The two women will find themselves changing one another’s lives.
My thoughts: There is so much wit, humor, tenderness, and raw emotion in this novel. The writing is beautiful, and the story is touching. Phoebe’s reflective, internal thoughts and her desire to say what she thinks is refreshing. The banter, connections, and the willingness of characters to confess their private, most innermost thoughts is well executed. While the story takes place over a week, the reader learns about Phoebe’s past. The characters and their distinct, quirky, personalities are developed well. Even characters with unlikable traits have redeeming moments.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the book or potential spoilers and highly recommend you read this one without knowing too much about it.

The Wedding People will be published on July 30. Pre-order now or get it on your list to read before it is adapted by TriStar Pictures for the screen! As I was reading this book, I kept thinking about this being on screen and am excited to see who will be cast.

Thank you to @netgalley for the advance copy of this fabulous book.

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When Phoebe enters the crowded lobby at the infamous Cornwall Inn of Newport RI, she is wearing a beautiful green dress and carries no luggage. Phoebe, a literature professor from St. Louis, booked an ocean view suite for this auspicious occasion. To be alone and mourn the husband she lost and life that is no longer attainable. As she carefully observes the lobby Phoebe realizes these guests are attending a wedding. In fact, she is the only non wedding guest in the hotel. Alone in the elevator, Phoebe and Lila, the beautiful bride, strike up an unlikely friendship, confiding things in each other they probably shouldn’t be saying out loud. Before she knows it Phoebe is spending the week with “the wedding people” who are mostly named Jim and more wrapped up in themselves than to bother asking why this stranger is at the wedding. While helping Lila have “the most amazing wedding week ever” Phoebe reflects on the dissolution of her own marriage and the devastating betrayal of the man she loved. As she remembers the painful IVF failures and the family she will never have she closely watches Lila and sees the pain beneath the glitz and glamour; a difficult eccentric mother, the devastating loss of her father and the fact she is marrying a perfect man whom she may not actually love. As the two women share their lives and experiences with each other they are able to honestly face their true selves in the mirror. A million dollar wedding week filled with outrageous characters, dark humor and the ultimate search for the meaning of life. This was a unique, well written, captivating story. What is really interesting to note is that at 50% I was not completely hooked, even considered putting this down! But it pulled me back in and got progressively better. This never happens! I am so glad I finished and wound up loving it.

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The Wedding People is an excellent "slice of life" novel about the lives of Phoebe (a professor who is recently divorced and suicidal), Gary (a gastroenterologist and the groom), Lila (the bride and who works at her mother's art gallery), and Jim (Gary's best friend and the brother of Gary's late wife), the complicated situations they find themselves in, and what it means to discover one's true self.

The novel is extremely well written. Some possible triggers are suicide, infertility, cheating, and divorce, but all of these tough topics were handled with great care. I really enjoyed the dry humor sprinkled throughout the story.

I'm delighted to have discovered this author, and plan to read her other books. I learned that she is a creative writing professor, which made me wonder if the character of Phoebe is a lot like Alison Espach.

Thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt and Company for an advance copy of this book.

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Visiting the ocean, in particular the beachfront Cornwall Inn in Rhode Island, has been on Professor Phoebe Stone’s bucket list for a good while. As she descends into depression after she accepts she can never have children and after her husband divorces her and moves in with another of their colleagues and after another year of not being placed on tenure track in at the St. Louis college where they teach and after the dog she and her husband had throughout their marriage dies, she decides to indulge herself and books an expensive one-night stay in the best suite and commit suicide while she is there. The main action of the book takes place thereafter, over the course of a week. Phoebe arrives and discovers she is the only guest who is not part of a week-long wedding extravaganza. When she finds herself in the elevator with the intended bride, Lila, a self-centered princess, demands to know why she is there if she is not a guest of either side and Phoebe tells her she plans to kill herself. Lila is horrified that someone would do something to ruin her whole wedding event and ultimately spends hours and hours talking to Phoebe, telling her she will pay for her to stay for the rest of the week—as long as Phoebe doesn’t kill herself until after Lila and Gary’s wedding. Freed from all the constraints of her life back home, Phoebe finds she can be completely candid with these strangers, and they all become drawn to her. That is as much of the plot as I dare reveal; I was sucked in to the story almost from the first page, and the writing was full of keen insights on a variety of topics like infertility, divorce, job frustration, grief, and infidelity. There is also plenty of humor in the story to break up the heavy topics. In the end, both Lila and Phoebe make brave choices to take control of the direction of their lives going forward. If I had any criticism, I felt a part of the plot was predictable, but it did not impede my enjoyment.

Thanks to NetGalley, Henry Holt & Co., and Ms. Espach for making this ARC available to me. The book is scheduled to be published on July 30, 2024.

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Trigger warning: This book contains thoughts of suicide

Phoebe Stone's world is falling apart. Her marriage is over. Her academic career is flailing. So she books a trip to Newport, Rhode Island, and plans to kill herself. When she arrives at restort, everyone is talking about a wedding. And it appears the entire resort has been booked for that event. In comes the bride giving gift bags - including one to Phoebe. On an elevator ride to the penthouse (somehow got booked in a mix up) Phoebe reveals her plans to the bride, Lila, and Lila makes it her mission to stop her and keep her from ruining her wedding.

And as everything goes wrong with the wedding week plans, Phoebe gets brought into the part she puts of her plan to end her life, becomes friends with the bride, the groom and his daughter, and is there to help save the day. Phoebe starts coming back to life, realizing the possibilities that are available to her.

I really enjoyed this book - while the book is really funny, it isn’t making fun of Phoebe’s mental health and crisis in her life. It’s about her rediscovering joy and reconsidering her choices.

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This is my first novel by Alison Espach and I will be back for more! This one had a very interesting premise and had me hooked from the start.

Phoebe Stone arrives at Cornwall Inn after her husband has left her for a co-worker. She is feeling depressed and down. She decides she will have one last fabulous night at a place she has dreamed of going. When she gets there, she is met with guest after guest who are part of the "wedding people" and mistake her for one also. She doesn't correct anyone because she figures she won't be there long enough for it to matter. She didn't pack any bags/clothes. She just arrived in a dress she owned that she thought was pretty.

Then Phoebe meets Lila the Bride. And Lila, being a bridzilla, has accounted for every last scenario. She is shocked to find out that there is a guest that is not part of the wedding party. She doesn't know how that could have possibly happened. She planned a week of wedding events and Phoebe has thrown a wrench into them by telling Lila what she has planned. Lila is horrified but is still only worried about how it will affect her wedding. The two women start opening up to each other since this is a nothing to loose situation. Phoebe is at the lowest point in her life, failed IVF rounds followed by her husband leaving her for another woman. Lila thinks she is at a high point, finally the big day has arrived, her father had been so excited to get her married off.

I can't even begin to do this book justice. The character development was so wonderful and the side characters were just as charming. This story was one that I would classify as character and plot based. The author did such a great job making me care about these characters. I could go on for days. I laughed and teared up for this one. This one kept me reading quickly just to find out what was going to happen next. I was always rooting for all the characters.

A very special thanks to NetGalley & Henry Holt & Co for the ARC of this that will release 7/30/24. This was easily a 5 star read.

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The Wedding People
Arc Review- 5 Stars
Publishing Date 7/30/2024

“But life is strange, always thinking this one this is going to make you happy, because then you get it, and then maybe you’re not as happy as you imagined you would be, because everyday is still just like everyday. Like the happiness becomes so big, you have no choice but to live inside of it, until you can no longer see it or feel it. And so you start to fixate on something else”

I’m obsessed. I found a new comfort read. I immediately pre-order this book once I was finished.

The Plot-
Phoebe hit rocked bottom, She always wanted to travel to Newport, Rhode Island, so she decides to go and rents a room in an expensive hotel, but when she gets there she realizes she just crashed a wedding weekend.

What To Expect and Content Warnings:
🍾Mental Health Representation
🍾Dark Humor
🍾Wedding Week Vibes
🍾Infidelity
🍾Depression
🍾Death of a Spouse/Parent
🍾Suicidal Ideation

“Nobody can take care of you the way you need to take care of yourself. It’s your job to take care of yourself like that”

My Thoughts-
This book is absolutely amazing. This would be an amazing movie that I would pay top dollar to watch. This is one of my favorite books this year. The story is captivating, the writing is beautiful. This book is filled with humor and heart. This book at its core is about human connection we all crave and everyone we meet is for a reason.

All the characters in this story were well liked. They all had a story to share. And I was so invested in each story. I had empathy for all of them. The characters were flawed but yet relatable. You really see how most people you know are lonely and miserable but put up a facade that everything is okay.

Going to touch the two FMC

Phoebe- my black cat sassy protagonist. I LOVE her. She is such a well written character you can’t help but fall in love with her. I really wanted to take her under my wing. Her character development was top tier.

Lila- ahh the spoiled rich girl that’s getting married. Honestly I adore her. She was so delulu and comical. I was really rooting for her happiness as well.

I think that both these FMC complimented each other so well. You have two ladies that are polar opposites but mesh so well. I love their weird friendship

“At night she stared at her sagging breast and her thin skin over her hand and wondered what happened to her” “I had been too embarrassed then,” she says. “Simply put, I thought I was fat, but what a shame because now I see that I was too young and beautiful then not to be naked all the time” 🥹😭🥹😭

The authors writing style really stood out to me. I really felt like I was throw into the world of Phoebe walking besides her while she survived the wedding week. The dialogue was incredible. Filled with so much charm, humor and meaningful conversations. I see some complain they didn’t know what chapter they were one but that didn’t bother me at all cause everything meshed together so well, the narrative was crafted to well that I was emotional connected.

Overall I would recommend this read. I really hope the book gets the hype it’s deserves. I can sit and break down this book chapter by chapter and rave about it, but I truly think this is a book a lot of people will enjoy and relate too.

“It’s all about moving on. Saying goodbye to whoever you thought you would be”

Playlist-
💍Never Felt So Alone- Labyrinth
💍I'm Only A Fool For you- Dybbukk
💍Down Bad- Taylor Swift
💍When The Party Is Over- Billie Ellish
💍Happiness Is A Butterfly- Lana Del Rey
💍Water Under The Bridge- Adele
💍Lost- Frank Ocean
💍FOURFIVESECONDS- Rhianna
💍Fix You- Coldplay
💍I Feel It Coming- The Weekend
💍Landslide- Fleetwood Mac
💍Somebody I Used To Know- Gotye
💍Champagne Problems- Taylor Swift
💍Lose You To Love Me- Selena Gomez
💍Bejeweled- Taylor Swift

✨Thanks to NetGalley, The Author, & Henry Holt & Company for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ✨

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Trigger Alert: Talk of suicide, talk of attempting suicide (note: happy ending)

"The Wedding People" by Alison Espach is a fun read with a lot of issues thrown in that will make the reader think. Adjunct Professor Phoebe Stone ditches school on the very first day, unwilling to see her ex husband be so happy with his new partner, and heads to Newport Rhode Island with literally the clothes on her back to kill herself in a historic inn. Completely unaware that the entire inn has been booked for a million dollar wedding. After Phoebe accidentally slams the elevator door on the bride’s hand and admits she is at the inn to kill herself, she Lila become friends of sort. Well, at first, it’s because Lila is determined that Phoebe will NOT kill herself and ruin Lila’s wedding. But Phoebe becomes charmed by Lila’s ways and somehow has become a part of the week-long wedding party. Everything has been planned to perfection. After all, it’s certainly the wedding that money can buy. But can money buy everything?

Many thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. Although I was aghast at how much money could be wasted on a wedding, I enjoyed seeing Phoebe discover who she is and what is really important for her. She deserves a second chance at happiness.

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Pheobe is a superstar character for me in The Wedding People by Alison Espach! Who doesn't love it when an adjunct professor has an exciting experience outside the punishing life of teaching without job security, low pay, and no benefits? Phoebe's office space was in the copy room! Following awful life-altering events, Pheobe throws in the towel and travels from St. Louis to Newport, Rhode Island, to a Victorian-style hotel she spent much time researching. She is dismayed when she learns that a wedding party occupies the entire hotel. Phoebe's stalwart character naturally attracts the stereotypically rich young bride who spins out of control every five minutes. Lila manages to wrangle Phoebe into becoming involved in this random wedding event. The characters and the plot are superb, and I loved reading this novel. I am sure it will be a huge success when it is published on July 20, 20241

I loved the existential elements and humorous moments. This new novel will be a hit when it is published in July. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance was one of my favorite books of 2022 so while The Wedding People doesn't come out until August, I couldn't wait to pick it up. Our main character, Phoebe, shows up at the fancy Cornwall Inn unknowingly as the only guest not there for a wedding. This would normally cause a reaction, but Phoebe is not here for vacation. She is here to end her life. Phoebe and the bride end up making introductions upon Phoebe's arrival and they are about to influence one another greatly.

I wrote in my review for Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance that Espach is able to construct beautiful sentences that describe universal feelings and experiences, yet experiences that also feel so very personal. This was true in moments here. She gives us lines like "19th century Angelo American literature, the marriage plots, the Jane Eyres
these stories were like little bibles to her, teaching her how to be normal, how to dream, how to believe that happiness and a new family would arrive in a single moment, on a single page"... but as a whole The Wedding People reads far more commercial and predictable than Notes. It is very much a different book in a different genre. Unfortunately that means my expectations were wrong and that influenced my enjoyment here for sure. But this is a really good book!!!

Despite this being more of a predictable and endearing story than I was expecting, I still enjoyed it. The collective Wedding People were terrible and interesting and I was invested in everyone's outcomes despite seeing them from a mile away. This will be the perfect summer beach bag book and I can see why it is getting mostly rave reviews.

I'll end with....Alison Espach, how dare you spoil the ending of Breaking Bad?!

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This book has a unique premise. I found the beginning a bit depressing and the front half a bit slow but it picked up in the back half and I enjoyed it. I liked the characters and the witty banter. It’s a great portrayal of Rhode Island (spoken as a native). It’s a fun story with thought provoking themes.

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The title, cover, and description absolutely drew me to this book! Once I started, I was little weary because Phoebe was in a very dark place, but her humor and hatred towards the wedding people kept me going and then I could not put it down! From Phoebe and Lila honest and open discussions, the flirtatious hottub escapade, and Phoebe rediscovering herself, this is a book I'm still thinking about weeks later. 4.5 stars - the dark beginning was a bit of a challenging read for me.

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Wow. This is such a beautiful novel. I truly did not know what to expect with The Wedding People, but the book completely enthralled me from the start. I found myself fully committed to each character's development and wanted each of them to find happiness and understanding. Every aspect of this story is so fully developed and unfolds so perfectly, I was blown away by how great it was.

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This was truly delightful and I loved every minute of it. I was drawn to this right away by the beautiful cover! The Wedding People is raw and emotional and funny. It follows two women from completely different walks of life and their unlikely friendship that grows over the span of a week. The women are complete opposites to one another, yet complement each other perfectly.

I don’t always love character- driven books but I think the characters are written really well; they feel very realistic and human. Phoebe is very raw and you get a really good sense of how she feels and thinks. Lila is somewhat unlikable as a character, but also perfect for the story. You do find yourself rooting for her. Both of these main characters grow a lot throughout the story. The overall story is quite predictable, but there were a few things that left me surprised! I love the friendship, the healing, the self discovery. There’s even the right amount of romance. I absolutely vibed with the author’s writing style. Heavy topics are expressed, but the overall tone is quite light-hearted. I found myself laughing at the banter between characters. I was left feeling extremely satisfied.

I would definitely recommend this one! Thank you to Netgalley and Henry Holt & Co for sending me this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Content warnings: suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, depression, grief, cancer, infidelity, divorce, infertility, miscarriage

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Phoebe Stone is the only one at a posh Newport Rhode Island hotel that is not part of a private 6 day wedding celebration . Before long, however, the bride begins to confide in Phoebe, and the wedding drama and the people involved become the unusual cure for her depression and withdrawal from life.

It took me a while to get invested in this story, as Phoebe's Back story did not grab me and it took me a while to get into the sardonic humor in the book. Once in though, I was touched by the authors ability to use humor and her often ridiculous but somehow touching characters to teach us about accepting ourselves as we change, how to embrace happiness when it comes, as well as dealing with depression, and the importance of being honest with ourselves and others. As these well drawn and quirky characters change Phoebes life in a few short days, they may keep you thinking about their lessons as well.

Thank you to The publisher and Net galley for this digital arc in exchange for an honest review.

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This book was a slow burn for me. I honestly thought it would be a little more uplifting, with the book cover. If you don’t like talking about suicide or infertility is a trigger for you, this is not the book for you. As a therapist I felt the author did a good job depicting depression and suicidal ideation and I enjoyed the darker humor around it.

Phoebe’s honesty made me chuckle more than once in the book. Especially as her friendship with Lila unfolded.

Thank you NetGalley & Henry Holt for this ARC!

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The most perfectly imperfect characters, and the perfectly imperfect situation- makes "The Wedding People", by Alison Espach an enjoyable ride from beginning to end. It's the perfect Rom Com with some extra feels. This book would make a great movie. I just wished the story wouldn't end.

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4.5 stars ⭐️
This novel brings humor to sadness in the best way. There were poignant insights throughout that really made you think. You root for every character to find happiness, even Lila, whose selfishness was hard to digest in the start, but was able to help bring Phoebe back from her deepest point. Highly highly recommend!

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