Cover Image: The Wedding People

The Wedding People

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The Wedding People is a story of a woman who goes to an upscale seaside hotel with plans to end her life, but instead finds herself roped into a week-long wedding extravaganza.
The book started off slow for me, but I was quickly drawn in to the quirky characters and all of their drama. While predictable at times, the story of Phoebe was both uplifting and inspiring, sprinkled with plenty of absurd and comedic moments.

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This novel floored me and was nothing like I was anticipating. This was my inner monologue while reading this book:
"well, this is kind of slow and dull."
"depressed people in the pandemic, shocker"
"OH, I didn't see that coming"
"Didn't see THAT coming"
"What will happen next! I love these characters! I NEED to know how this ends"

The novel centers on Sophie who is reeling after her career hasn't taken off like she anticipated, a devastating divorce, and the terrible, depressing effects of the Pandemic and just gets FED UP! She picks up an flies across the country to Newport, RI to stay at a high-end hotel where she learns she is the only guest there who is not part of the wedding being hosted there. Sophie goes from viewing "The Wedding People" from afar to somehow becoming so entangled with all of their lives she becomes one of them.

The setting was gorgeous and having actually grown up close by to Newport, RI, it was lovely to read about the history and landmarks I have also seen and heard of. Growing up in a place that some would consider a tourist destination taints your view of a place so this was refreshing to see RI through they eyes of someone who has never been there, seen the ocean and been able to experience the feeling of driving with the windows down to feel the ocean breeze caress and embrace you, making you feel so alive.

This book felt like a love letter to women embracing middle-age, learning to speak up for themselves and realizing that you don't really know yourself until you LIVE your life. Time gives you the benefit of perspective but you don't realize this until you are much older. As I mature and move through my 30's I find that I really appreciate books that center on mature women with more life experiences. This book was deep and thought provoking but also very funny at times. The ability of Sophie's character to embrace her independence and own her life led to her having some great lines that made her become quite the straight-shooter who just gives zero Fs, and don't we all wish we could be like that sometimes?

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"Every wedding, even a successful wedding, is a waste."

There are some books that you just forget, even if they were "good", and some like The Wedding People, where you simply wished never ended.

Phoebe decides to book the most expensive room at a Victorian Hotel in Rhode Island for the night, not to vacay, but to commit suicide. After a failed marriage, she decides she wants to end her life by taking all of her cat's medicine, that smells like tuna. She has a chance encounter with Lily in the elevator, who has booked a wedding WEEK, and they quickly become friends, much to Phoebe's dismay. Soon, they become the "best" of friends, all to heartwarming and hilarious results.

Despite the topics of suicide, failed marriages and IVF, and death, The Wedding People excelled in so many ways. Often hilarious, but still touching, the characters just bounced off the page. The characters were completely relatable, never were annoying, and even though there are a handful of characters, you were never lost or confused by back storylines.

The impatient bride - Lily while completely self absorbed with her overpriced affair, was hilarious. A daughter of a former waste management company owner, who was given an inheritance - to spend on a wedding, and this wedding did not hold back. I loved the Rhode Island setting.
"But how many times do I have to explain that I'm godless? That I can't get married at a church, because what church?"

Insert Gary, Lily's soon to be husband, who is introducded in the most surprising of ways. Wedding People is all one big surprise. While you think you know what is going to happen, it never does, and the banter between this virtual stranger Phoebe and the wedding people was never completely unrealistic.

The blended families were fun, witty, and hard to dislike. Gary's daughter named "Juice", while is only 11, is smart beyond her years. The staff at the hotel reminded me of some of the employees on White Lotus.

Phoebe, was one of the smartest characters I've encountered in awhile. Espach wrote her knowing we had to take her wisdom seriously. She's a professor specializing in 19th century literature and she definitely proved her worth.
"You have to pluralize the head noun, not the modifier."
"Blond and dazzling in the way that suggests she's never bough a loaf of bread at the store. And Gary, so handsome and sturdy, a man who is always bringing bread home from the store."
"I mean, I never think of historical figures as hot. They're just these bodiless, dusty, sepia-toned entities."
"She devoted her career to these books because she needed them. She didn't care that most of the other graduate students thought this was boring. These stories were like little bibles to her, teaching 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, like the sudden crescendo of a symphony."

By the end of the book, I did not expect it to turn full circle the way it did. There is plenty of humor to be had, a few tears to be shed, and you will root for everyone in this book.

"A story can be beautiful, not because of the eay it ends. But because of the way it's written." This sums up the Espach's book when she wrote The Wedding People. Can't wait for her next one, and the inevitable movie just picked up with Nicole Holofcener adapting.

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Phoebe checks into the Cornwall Inn with zero luggage, ready to end it all. Her husband had an affair with her best friend, her cat has passed away, and she no longer feels passionate about her career. Then she meets Lila. Lila is getting married at the hotel and can't have a death ruin her perfect day and makes it her mission to keep Phoebe alive. This book wasn't anything like what I expected but I loved it. It was a beautiful love story between two complicated women and challenges they face throughout the week as they make some tough decisions together. The author threw in the perfect amount of humor throughout the book and I was rooting for each of the characters the entire time. This is going to be a great beach read this summer. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Phoebe, a lonely and people-pleasing 19th centuryist literary professor has had enough. In an uncharacteristic impulsive moment, she passes over her normal professor attire and dons the fanciest dress she owns. Leaving behind her students, her cheating ex-husband, and that morning’s counter strewn breakfast crumbs, she hops on a plane to visit a hotel she has always dreamt of visiting with only the silk on her back and the cat’s prescription meds in tow.

Unbeknownst to her, the entire hotel has been booked for the guests and the week-long festivities of a wedding. Phoebe is the only person in the hotel who has not been invited. When the bride mistakes her for a guest and discovers her true reason for being there, an unlikely friendship emerges. Really though, it’s Phoebe’s discovery and exploration of honest communication both with herself and the wedding guests that make her the most vital person at the event.

This is a unique exploration of grief in its many forms: loss of a loved one, loss of self, loss of a relationship, and even loss of an imaginary pet. Espach’s writing is compelling. And while she makes the heartbreak and gravity of certain moments feel visceral, she intertwines humor into the conversations to make those moments also bearable and accessible. The multiple dimensions of each character make me love them even in the moments I kind of want to hate them.

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This book was an unexpected treat! When Phoebe books a room at her dream hotel after her life has fallen apart, she never imagines she’ll be the only person who’s not a wedding guest. When the bride, Lila, meets this mysterious “guest,” she finds a friendship she never expected.

TW: suicidal ideation

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*Thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I enjoyed this book so much! I would describe it as a beach read with a serious side. The plot point that brings the two main characters together was a lot darker than I was expecting, but that doesn't stop the book from being very funny at times. I found the characters really entertaining and well-developed, and I enjoyed that the romantic plot lines didn't dominate the story. Overall, I definitely recommend this! 4.5 stars.

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I really enjoyed this book! i liked seeing Phoebe and Lila change over the course of the book and their dialogue between one another. Nice reminder how sometimes in life we meet certain people at certain times in our life.

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Loved the dialogue in this book... it was quick, witty and insightful. The post-pandemic setting worked and was relatable. And while I figured what the outcome would be, how it was written still keot me guessing and was true to how life and relationships go.

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Having spent my college years and after in Rhode Island, I was intrigued that this novel took place in Newport (plus the cover was divine). The Wedding People by Alison Espach was a heartwarming and touching story about people who have gotten sidetracked in life and reach for each other to find their way. Phoebe and Lila are at different stages of their lives: one at the end of a marriage, the other just beginning. They become intertwined at the weeklong wedding celebration that Lila threw for herself at a fictional resort in Newport, the same resort where Phoebe went to die. As the relationship between Phoebe and Lila grows, so does the depth of each of the characters. With this growth comes revelations and life changes. It is smartly written; the dialogue is touching and witty. And I am a sucker for a happy ending.

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Truly believable characters make an unlikely story believable! When Phoebe arrives at the hotel she’d always wanted to visit, she’s mistaken for a member of the wedding party that’s taken over… well, everything.

Hilarious story, strong dialogue, and excellent character development!

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When the weight of everything – her divorce, dead end job, cat’s death – gets to be too much, Phoebe checks in to the Cornwall Inn to kill herself. She is the only one at the inn that week who is not there for Lila and Gary’s 6 days of wedding festivities. Honestly, I expected something different. I thought this was going to be a great big comedy of errors. I couldn’t have more wrong and I am delighted I was. This book made me laugh, but it also made me think. At one point Phoebe muses that she likes books more than real life because she can predict what will happen in a book. To be alive is much harder.

When the bride finds out Phoebe’s plan (not a spoiler – this is the first chapter) she insinuates herself into Phoebe’s life to stop her from ruining her perfect wedding. In fact, Phoebe becomes Lila’s only confidante – the person she shares her worries and troubles with. I love that Covid in not ignored and some of Phoebe’s struggles result from her husband leaving her 5 months into the pandemic and her eventual return to the university where she is an adjunct English professor.

This book explores our relationships and the ways we change to please others. It was fascinating to hear different characters views on events in the past and how that affected their relationships. As the week goes on, Phoebe becomes more and more involved in the wedding and the lives of the bride and groom and their closest family. I received an advanced copy from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I will be buying a copy for my library when it is released. Definitely a 5-star read.

Content warning: Miscarriage, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt

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The Wedding People is an engrossing read that drew me in from the start. Phoebe is a 40-year old, dealing with the aftermath of an unexpected divorce. The beginning is rather dark and emotionally raw, but also so familiar to so many of us. It's not all misery, though. Phoebe's journey throughout this book was deeply moving, with just the right amount of humor expertly blended in.

There was a lot of depth to many of the characters, not just the main character. And the interactions between all the characters were real and often fun. The author, Alison Espach, voices those things that we all think, but rarely dare to say out loud. Things that are sometimes quite ugly or crass, but honest. Things that you wouldn't want to burden your friends or family with, which is why I think Phoebe and Lila, and later Phoebe and Gary, are able to talk so openly to each other as strangers.

The ending is satisfying with a feeling of closure, hope, and new beginnings.

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For a book that starts with a planned suicide, I was so surprised to read this story of second chances. What a delight! Full of heart and hope and a cast of wonderful characters.

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It was refreshing to read a nontraditional wedding/divorce story from the perspective of a character like Phoebe. I was at a 5 star until the last quarter of the book. While the ending seemingly brought appropriate closure, I was still a bit unsatisfied though I did leave with a renewed sense of optimism.

Grateful to NetGalley & Henry Holt and Company for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The Wedding People by Allison Espach is very easily my favorite read of the past 12 months. Phoebe Stone is a college professor who finds herself at a crossroads in life. She books herself a room at The Cornwall Inn without any belongings and her husband. Phoebe finds herself in the middle of a large wedding party that is also at The Cornwall Inn. The bride and Phoebe form a special bond that changes the trajectory of both their lives. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved the premise and was excited to read the book. I found parts of it to be a bit confusing, especially towards the end. The pacing was a bit slow at times and felt like the book could have used a bit more editing. Overall, I enjoyed the story and writing.

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I just loved The Wedding People! At first I was afraid I'd picked up a breezy romcom, which isn't really my thing. But I was very quickly sucked into this engaging story that is so much more than meets the eye. The characters are so vivid and real, and the themes are so relatable. This is a story about understanding yourself, finding happiness, about what's important in life, about love and friendship.. It's funny, poignant and insightful. I really could not put this one down!

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It started off very strong and it was not what I was expecting from the cover and the title - which was an interesting surprise. However, it became a little more depressing than what I was expecting, then a tad repetitive, then predictable. I liked the variety of characters but they seemed like caricatures and not real people.

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This story gave me so much hope. Hope for what is unknown, yet to come, and what could be. Within the pages I grew comfortable about the ability to start over from rock bottom and thrive.

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