Member Reviews

“Phoebe had been so jealous – but not just of Mia. Her husband felt alive again. She couldn’t even imagine it.”

Phoebe is not doing well. Failed IVF, stalled career, divorced from her cheating husband, dead cat. Stuck in a major depression, she heads to a gorgeous resort in Rhode Island she previously wanted to visit with her husband. Everyone is there for a wedding except for Phoebe. She is there to kill herself.
Over the course of the week, Phoebe connects with the bride and the other “wedding people” in a way she hasn’t connected with anyone in years. Maybe ever. She finds a new way to be in the world.
I absolutely loved this book. Incredibly well written, with dialog that sounds exactly how people talk. It was funny and tender and heartwarming and all the things you want in a book. I was so sad to see it end. I adored Phoebe and the rest of the cast of characters who all seemed so flawed and wonderful and real. I’ll be seeking out everything written by Alison Espach.

There was such a beautiful message about what it really means to live and how the way you feel one day won’t necessarily be the way you feel on another day. I recommend this book to everyone!

Thank you to @netgalley and @henryholtbooks for an advanced reader copy.

Was this review helpful?

I had impossibly high hopes for “The Wedding People,” and Alison Espach still managed to blow me away.

I had really enjoyed “Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance” even though it’s not my usual taste in books. But Espach’s voice is addictive, and she crafts characters in a way that makes them real enough to step off the page.

Like “Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance,” “The Wedding People is a study of grief. It manages to be heart wrenching and life affirming at the same time. I was obsessed with Phoebe’s story from the very first page. The coastal Rhode Island setting was a fabulous bonus to an incredible cast of characters and storyline.

This is one of my 2024 favorites.

Was this review helpful?

This book walks the tightrope between light and dark, fully belly laugh and crying your eyes out, moments of pure unconditional love and moments of suicidal ideation with such frankness and grace that you cannot stop reading and thinking about the book.

The premise of the book is a suicidal forty something divorcee named Phoebe runs away from her problems to a fancy hotel on the other side of the country and intends to kill herself on the night of her arrival. Bride-to-be Lila intends on having the best and fanciest six day wedding celebration and does everything she can to convince Phoebe that she can’t ruin her wedding by killing herself. The book is witty and craftily juxtaposes rich people problems and depressed people problems in a way that nuanced and shows us that we’re all people who are hurting (our hurt just doesn’t look the same).

On a personal note, I’m so glad I read this book at this pivotal moment in my life (two months away from my own wedding day). I felt so deeply connected to both the main character Phoebe and bride-to-be Lila.

Was this review helpful?

I was Wary of this book when it started with suicide ideations. Trigger warning, hello!

However, I have never read anything quite like it. I love the disruptive bride, the cast of characters you'd only encounter over "a wedding week", and the liminal space a hotel always provides—especially for one booking their stay during a time of personal turmoil.

I loved The Wedding People.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC!

This was a total surprise! I thought it'd be a classic cutesy summer romance but it was really very heartfelt and deep, thought provoking. I'm going to add it to my book club list it was such a well rounded, well thought out story.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars

I loved Alison Espach's THE WEDDING PEOPLE publishing July 30, 2024. Light enough for summer reading but deep enough for those who are looking for insight in their books.

1. This is a unique premise. Phoebe Stone, after a failed marriage and the untimely death of her beloved cat Harry, retreats to an upscale hotel in Rhode Island to commit suicide. Once she gets there, Phoebe finds a fancy wedding has booked the rest of the hotel, and she gets swept up in their festivities once she meets the bride Lila.

2. While a bit farfetched of a plot at times (for example, Phoebe fills in for the maid of honor who can't make it after knowing the bride a day), these characters are so REAL. Phoebe has taken several personal hits, compounded by the years of lockdown, and she needs the distraction of these zany characters along with a platform for her to find her next steps. Lila is excited to be married and put on the wedding of the century, but is she really excited about her groom Gary? Gary's daughter is none-too-excited for her father to be marrying again in an authentic tween way. I loved how Phoebe connected with Gary's daughter.

3. At first I thought this novel might be too "sad girl," but it truly is one of the funniest books I've read in a while. It's not funny in a rom com way. I'd say it's funny in a more insightful way that may not resonate with ALL readers, but it certainly resonated with me.

4. I really want to see where the characters of Phoebe and Lila go next. I want to check up on them and see where they are in a couple of years, and that indicates to me when a novel has really impacted me.

#netgalleyreview #bookstagram #theweddingpeople #alisonespach

Was this review helpful?

I think if there was one book I could push into people's hands this summer, it would be Wedding People. It's the story of Phoebe, a woman who has reached a crossroads in her life. She leaves her marriage and job and winds up at a hotel in Newport, Rhode Island where she accidentally becomes involved in a wedding taking place there. It's the perfect mix of funny and serious, filled with light-hearted moments that counteract the heaviness of reality for these characters without diminishing the importance of what they're going through. I thought Espach walked that tightrope beautifully in this novel. Added points for the portrayal of the tween daughter in this book. How authors write kids can be tricky and I thought Juice felt very true to her age.
Thank you to Netgalley for this title. Wedding People publishes on July 30th, 2024.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you the publisher and netgalley! This touches on some really difficult topics with humor and love. I loved the two characters of Phoebe and Lila our two fmcs! It’s an inspiring read that really touched my heart!!

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars !!! I loved Alison Espach's last book so much, This one was so different but so good. The characters are so relatable and all going through their own struggles. It is nice to follow Phoebe during her journey of finding herself again. I wish the story kept going, I did not want it to end. All of Phoebe's interactions with the wedding guests were so entertaining and made me laugh out loud so many times while reading. The setting of the hotel on the coast is perfect. This novel will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend giving this a read this summer.

Thank you Netgalley and Henry Holt and Co. for the digital arc in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

What a refreshing book. The life lessons and wisdom sprinkled in was tasteful and impactful as we follow the main characters journey of finding herself again. This book reminded me the power of challenging oneself, being real and never overlooking the relationships that can come from strangers.

Each character in this book is authentically themselves, and yet it felt effortless for the author Alison to create them.

You can read this book when you’re happy, sad, or lonely. You’ll probably pull different perspectives with each emotion but you definitely won’t regret reading it.

Thank you Alison Espach and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Was this review helpful?

Warning: Not a romance book! Also, the first 25% is very depressing.

Don't be fooled by the cute cover and the GoodReads tag of "Romance." This is not a romance book at all. It's Women's Lit, and the central relationship is between Phoebe and The Bride. Unfortunately, that's my fault for expecting one thing, not reading the genre classification, and then feeling disappointed. Managing expectations is everything.

The first quarter of the story is all about Phoebe's marriage falling apart and all the horrible things that have cascaded down on top of her (emotionally) to be in the place where she decides to go to the fancy hotel. It's super depressing, but it's needed for the story to work. Be mentally prepared for that slog.

Then we pass through the darkness and enter the light: joining the wedding people. This is a comedy. The writing and situations at the wedding are hilarious. There's a hint of romance, but the central pivot revolves around Phoebe and The Bride discovering what they truly want.

There was one writing stylistic choice I found odd. It won't bother most people, but it stood out to me as distracting. When in a scene where two characters are talking to each other through dialogue, between two statements in quotes will be a short paragraph describing in summary the dialogue that was omitted for time or space. But this summary is written in the POV of the speaker, not Phoebe. The switching of POVs was so noticeable that it took me out of the story for a second. I'd have to reread and remind myself this is a style choice.

I did end up enjoying this book, but it took a while to not feel depressed.

I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Story: 3 stars
Character development: 4 stars
Writing: 3 stars

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt and Co. for providing me an ARC of this book.

I stepped away from The Wedding People feeling a mix of emotions. The book balances dark elements, such as infertility, infidelity, depression and suicidal ideation with good humor and a big heart.

The philosophy of the book is pretty straightforward: people-pleasing doesn’t actually endear yourself to the people around you, and you sacrifice your own wants and needs in the process of trying to make other people happy. Phoebe spends much of her life trying to be what she thinks other people want her to be. She goes through challenging times with her husband, but doesn’t want to burden him with her depression for fear of pushing him away. When he ends up cheating on her and leaving her, she bottles up her feelings to try to be amicable. It is only when she is at her lowest and feels that she has nothing to lose that she lets herself be open and honest with other people and herself, and this is what starts the chain events that begin the story. The growth of Phoebe as a character felt heartwarming.

I think this story offers a lot of insight that many people will love. Phoebe as a narrator offers a lot of wisdom to the reader through her own experiences and mistakes. The tone of the story is ultimately hopeful, and I liked that the author didn’t have a man come into Phoebe’s life and magically fix all of her deep seated issues. If you’re looking for a story that offers insight and humor after dark times, this is for you.

Was this review helpful?

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

This is one of my favourite reads of the year so far! It is touching, refreshing, and hilarious at times. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did honestly but I quickly liked the main character Phoebe and her unlikely friendship with the bride-to-be. My heart broke for Phoebe and I just became invested in her journey. In the end, I'm so happy she got out of her comfort zone and learned to choose herself again. Thanks so much for the eARC!

Was this review helpful?

This is a good drama with lots of serious elements and dark humor. I enjoyed reading it, but it's important to know it's definitely not a romance novel. :) Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I almost passed on the Wedding People. The synopsis, while intriguing seemed a bit morbid and sad and not the type of book I like reading by the pool.

I’m glad I was wrong and picked this one. Phoebe is struggling- her marriage has just ended, and she’s struggling in her job as as an adjunct professor ( where she also has to work around her ex and his new girlfriend). This is at the end of the pandemic and so she decides to take a last vacation to a fancy resort.

Upon arriving, the entire resort has been rented out for the wedding except for her room somehow. A few chance encounters with the bride and a Maid Of Honor who cancels due to COVID, lands her a spot among the wedding guests and as she gets to know the family and friends of the bride and groom, she unexpectedly gets a new perspective of life and her future.

I enjoyed getting to know Phoebe Lila and even Gary. I found this book refreshing and at times laugh out loud funny. This book does touch on some tough themes (in fact most of them)- depression, suicide, infertility, infidelity, cancer, death of parents. You name it and Phoebe has encountered it in some way, but I think that it was presented in a very realistic way. There is pain, but there is also life that goes on and people that continue living. This is not the most lighthearted read, but it is really good and well-written and not too heavy with all those trigger-warning topics.

Was this review helpful?

When I read Alison Espach’s most recent novel NOTES ON YOUR SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCE, I was blown away by its emotionality and uniqueness. It was devastating and funny and propulsive, so much so I thought it was a thriller at first. When I wrote my review, didn’t have any books to compare it to.

And well, I guess now I do. Because while THE WEDDING PEOPLE is very different, it has the same sharp edges complemented by humor and beautiful, self-reflective writing. The story follows Phoebe, a professor who’s going through the lowest point in her life and decides to escape at to a fancy Rhode Island hotel. When she gets there, she realizes the majority of the hotel’s been booked for a wedding, and immediately has a run-in with the bride, who she’s both deeply annoyed and compassionately intrigued by.

The magic of this book is in its humanity. It’s about friendship, marriage, infidelity, infertility, loneliness, death, and disappointment. And while it packs a lot into its pages, at no point did it feel overwhelming; it just feels relatable, the characters people you’ll want to root for.

Was this review helpful?

I would like to thank Henry Holt and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this as an ARC. This was a hard book to read, for me at least. When a blurb uses the words-uproariously funny, I think it will make me laugh. It did not. Phoebe is an adjunct professor in St. Louis. Prior to the pandemic,she and her husband Matt,( also a professor) were trying to have a baby. After the the IVF failed, he had an affair with a fellow professor and Phoebe's friend, Mia. Now Matt and Phoebe are divorced and Phoebe is depressed. She flies to Rhode Island to a big hotel she wanted to visit when she and Matt were married. She checks into the hotel, with no luggage , wearing a long green dress. Her plan is to commit suicide. Then she meets the wedding people. Every one else at the hotalis pa=rt of the wedding. And, almost against her will, she is drawn into the bride's orbit. The book is well written, and has very interesting characters. However, the central story line is extremely depressing and may be triggering. I see that a lot of people really like it, but it is not my cup of tea.

Was this review helpful?

The Wedding People is supposed to be funny but I didn't see the humor in it. Instead, I find it dark, depressing and negative. Too much focus on death. I didn't like Phoebe or Delilah. Far from a fun or entertaining read.

Was this review helpful?

The Wedding People is full of themes - of life, death, love, redemption, recovery and happiness. A thought-provoking read that goes by quickly but dramatically and with much needed humor.

Thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for the opportunity to read this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

The Wedding People is like a warm hug. Phoebe books a room at a high end boutique hotel fulling intending to end her life. What she didn't count on was having the entire hotel full of wedding guests for the upcoming nuptials of Lila and Gary. What follows is a heartwarming look at what happens when things don't turn out exactly how you planned, but they turn out exactly the way they should. It's a great summer read when you're looking for something with interesting characters, charming wit and a lot of heart.

Was this review helpful?