A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Families at Christmas time can be tricky, and in this book it is family relationships that really put pressure on people. Not that it is only the other brilliantly drawn characters that cause problems; there are several people in this book that are putting pressure on themselves. Maggie and Nick are a couple who have separated, and Maggie is already missing her two daughters hugely. When Rosie announces her marriage plans she is thrown into a state of confusion for various reasons. Meanwhile Katie, Rosie’s elder sister, has many problems of her own, which contributes to her determined reaction to the news. This is a story of an idyllic setting for the perfect Christmas wedding, which exposes many feelings, some hidden for years. Despite the serious elements of this book, there is a significant element of humour, as secrets are revealed. The setting is wonderful, literally a winter wonderland of snow and beautiful buildings, but the emotions which are felt are real and painful. I found this an engaging and enjoyable read, with an excellent sense of people and place. Sarah Morgan is obviously skilful in the art of balancing extreme emotion with a light hearted situation, and creating almost comic dialogue between realistic people.
I was so pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this enjoyable book.
At the beginning of this book Maggie receives a phone call from her younger daughter Rosie. Rosie is in America, Maggie in Oxford in her lovely “Honeysuckle Cottage”, where she brought up her girls and holds many memories, and the promise of another Christmas. Sadly her husband Nick has moved out as their marriage has grown stale, especially as he has spent much of their married life abroad at academic events and archeological digs. Rosie is a great concern to her mother as she has had severe asthma attacks, but on this occasion she is calling to invite her parents to her imminent wedding at Christmas. Maggie is saddened that she will not have her daughters with her at Christmas, especially as Katie, a busy doctor in an Emergency Department of a hospital, has been strangely distant recently. As the focus of the novel switches to Katie, we see her struggling with her heavy workload and the memory of a recent event which has rocked her confidence. She is immediately concerned that Rosie is rushing into this wedding as her fiance Dan’s mother is a wedding organiser who is keen to rush things through. As Maggie and Nick, keen to keep their proposed divorce a secret after the wedding, and Katie with her determination to question the wedding, converge on the beautiful holiday resort in Aspen, Rosie herself has her own doubts.
The lightness of touch shown in this novel includes a drunken arrival, a determinedly independent woman, and romantic events which would influence the hardest heart. There is an isolated cottage which rather forces the situation after a discovery about a relationship, then all is revealed. There are twists and turns as it becomes clear that there are many surprises about every relationship. It is a wonderful combination of escapism with the underlying tensions of family relationships. A difficult book to put down, it is a lovely and seasonal read which I recommend for this time of year.