Dragged to the Wedding
by Andrew Grey
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Pub Date 17 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 16 Nov 2023
Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), Carina Adores
He’s here to slay…but will he stay?
James Petika is living the single gay life he always wanted. A police officer in Chicago, he has a good job, good friends—and he’s two thousand miles away from his family’s expectations. He also has a problem: he needs a date for his sister’s wedding in Missoula, Montana, but his family has no idea that he’s gay, and he’d like to keep it that way.
The solution? Daniel Bonafonte aka Lala Traviata, the queen of the Chicago drag scene. Lala is the real thing: she can sing, she can dance—and she can throw more shade than a solar eclipse. One drink and plenty of dishing later, Daniel agrees to help James out and be his incognito date to the wedding.
Daniel’s drag-diva skills are put to the test right away, with the bride’s ill-fitting wedding dress, a groom who’s a danger on the dance floor and more drama than auditions for a gay men's chorus. Faking this relationship—and ignoring the very real feelings developing between them—might just be the performance of their lives.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 74 members
What an incredibly fun book Dragged to the Wedding was! I wasn’t sure what to expect and sped through it soon after I was approved (thanks to the publisher and Netgalley).
James is looking for a fake-date for his sister’s wedding. It needs to be a woman because his family don’t know he’s gay - and his preferred choice is on the injured list. When a friend sets him up with ‘Daniella’ (aka a drag queen with the most fantastic moniker) who also happens to be Daniel - who for a fee will pretend to be his girlfriend for the duration of the wedding festivities. Can’t see any issues on the horizon. Can you?
What follows is a charming satire on weddings and the challenges these celebrations present within families. For James - a reportedly tough and accomplished cop, the wedding has filled him with a fear of disappointing his parents. He wants the whole thing over and done with, to go back to his closeted, reasonably emotionally safe life. He’s not prepared for the impact Daniella has on him and his family in such a short time, and he wonders what it would be like to live and love so authentically. Amongst the humour, fun and hilarity, there’s angst and wanting, challenges to gender roles and stereotypes, questions about religion, and a whole lot of discourse (eventually) about being gay, coming out, and acceptance/non-acceptance. There was also a little mystery thrown in for a bit of subplot.
Daniel was the making of this book for me. He’s the real MVP!
Loved this! So fun, so heartwarming, and bittersweet, with all the drama that weddings can bring but in the wash made totally and utterly gay.
Stop it right now, I am OBSESSED with Dragged to the Wedding and fully expect it to become my entire personality for the next few months.
I am a sucker for a fake-dating trope. But pair that with the fresh perspective of one participant being a Drag Queen and you've entered a world celebrating queer joy, self-love, and overcoming super tough obstacles.
Andrew Grey managed to weave some of the hardest topics facing the LGBTQIA+ community into this story (police presence and brutality, homophobia, issues within the church) while doing it in a way that supported the story instead of taking away from the central love story of Dragged To The Wedding.
Lala/Daniel/Daniella is simply the most wonderful character, determined to make sure James's sister has the wedding of her dreams. Holly and Margot are adorable sisters and supporting characters, and by the end of the book, I even found myself loving James's parents.