By: Stacey Ballis
Publisher: Penquin Random House
Publication Date: May 2016
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: July 15, 2016
Stacey Ballis gets the party started immediately in her latest novel, Wedding Girl.
Sophie Bernstein is a beyond talented pastry chef. She is getting married to an equally talented guy, sommelier Dexter Kelley IV—DK to his friends (and Dex to Sophie). This will be the wedding of the century. The bride-to-be and her groom personified work at Chicago’s two Michelin-starred restaurant: Sale et Sucre. The reception will be at one of Chicago’s iconic turn-of-the-century mansions. There will be a smoking room for the cigar crowd and anterooms for intimate conversation. The attention to detail continues when the entourage is escorted back to the first floor library for breakfast and the all-night snacks buffet. Sophie is an image of rapture and beauty in her stunning, custom-crafted Vera Wang gown. There’s only one problem, where is Dex? On the day when Sophie plans to cross her line from maiden to happily ever after bride, imagine her horror when she learns Dex won’t be coming. Rather, he has fled to the islands with another woman—the woman who he really intended to marry and the rest to put it quite bluntly, is history.
The aftermath of the debacle sinks in for Sophie. She is in debt beyond her eyeballs, her once coveted job sucks and the once happy-go-lucky, overflowing cup of positive now holds the remnants of a jaded and cynical view of her being. She is forced to give up her condo before foreclosure makes the decision for her. She opts to move in with her beloved grandmother, Bubbles, and begins her journey back to where it is she is destined to go in life. She has lost her job and is the subject of pity in many eyes of her beholders. Sophie realizes it’s time to rally and start over. She finds a job in a local neighborhood bakery, Langer’s Bakery, making it clear to its owner, Herman Langer, that she is not committing to anything long-term. She just needs something to keep the creditors at bay until she figures out her next step. When bride-to-be Amelia happens into the bakery in a quandary of what to do for her wedding cake, she leaves ecstatic after not only receiving the perfect cake recommendation, but solid advice of do’s and don’ts for her upcoming wedding. Unbeknownst to Sophie, Amelia has a brilliant idea to set up a website for Sophie. She may not realize it quite yet, but Sophie has a knack for dishing out terrific advice when it comes to planning the perfect wedding...even if the outcome of her wedding was a colossal train wreck.
Stacey Ballis has hit it out of the park with Wedding Girl. Her tenacious and colorful persona through the development of main character Sophie Bernstein is fantastic. She fires on all pistons when it comes to credibility. The whimsy of Sophie and her tightknit community of a Jewish family unit is delightful and lovable and it brings the reader to a place where family is the centerpiece of molding a balanced and wonderful life. She steps the reader through chapter upon chapter whose titles are named after some of the constant and iconic black and white movies in time. There is a sublime notion of romantic melancholy that builds to a terrific crescendo at story’s end without selling the plot down the river before the reader arrives at the proverbial end. This is a great romantic comedy and it will entice anyone who is in search of ‘...and they lived happily ever after...’ Thoroughly enjoyable read and Ms. Ballis’ writing ability makes the outcome seem effortless!
Quill says: Wedding Girl is wholesome and laugh out loud funny that provides great entertainment for Ballis' intended audience.