Chicklit Club



Always a Bridesmaid - Cindi Madsen (2020)


Violet’s life has taken a downward turn – she caught her long-term partner cheating on her, ironically at a wedding where she was the bridesmaid. If this wasn’t galling enough, she was about to force his hand to set a wedding date, tired of his never-ending excuses and of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride.
With her self-esteem taking a real knock, she heads back to her hometown of Uncertainty in Alabama to make over her sister Maisy’s bakery. In keeping with her current run of bad luck, her arrival there is memorable too: not only are her well-loved yoga pants see-through and giving everyone the chance to espy her colourful underwear, when she offers to mind the bakery for her sister, because of her ditzy nature, she puts some cupcakes in the oven on the wrong setting and causes a fire.
Enter Ford Maguire, the local heartthrob firefighter. It is lust at first sight and it’s not only the oven’s electrics which have gone into overdrive. Violet finds herself getting roped into helping with a local girl’s wedding arrangements where Addie, the bride-to-be, is having an unconventional wedding, not least as her best friend, Ford, is taking over the best girl duties. Ford and Violet gradually find themselves becoming more and more attracted to each other. Yet, although the inevitable sparks are there, their respective pasts weigh heavily on their minds: Violet has been burnt before and wary of being hurt whereas Ford has had a troubled past with his no-good family and is essentially just a man out for “adventure”.
Neither expect the feelings they quickly develop. But just when it seems their relationship is set to go to the next level, Ford gets cold feet. Can Ford and Violet overcome their pasts and find true love? Or is love simply not worth the risk and merely just another “adventure”?
I really enjoyed this story. The author dealt with a lot of themes in her narrative: second chances, the importance of friendship, the influence of our parents and our pasts. It was interesting that both the main characters had issues with their parents: both have been abandoned or neglected by them which has obviously had repercussions on their psyche and outlook on life. The story was well plotted and flowed, helped by the fact that the main characters were developed in such a way that I really warmed to them and their plight. The secondary characters were also designed brilliantly and helped the overall narrative, giving plenty of background and dimension to the story.
A very heart-warming, well-told tale – perfect escapism. I will definitely read more of this author’s work. (JP) 7/10


Cinderella Screwed Me Over (2013)


This is the story of Darby Quinn, who through her many experiences with men realises it may not be worth waiting for her prince to arrive. Many of these exs can be compared to Disney princes (for instance Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid is likened to Evan, who turns out to be anything but a prince).
The comparisons of past relationship to these princes is clever and it's interesting to watch Darby as she swears off love forever and then finds Jake, the owner of her favourite restaurant, by getting her shoe stuck and him having to help her out. Darby is a fun character and easy to cheer for.
The only question is can she give up on the rules she has about finding Prince Charming and fall in love with Jake after all? This is a fun, light-hearted read. (JP) 7/10


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