We meet Beth Eleanor Evans (aka BEE) aged 29 as she is writing her seating plan on a whiteboard (the type you see in a boadroom). It’s the last thing to plan and she’s getting married in less than 48 hours. She spends ages trying to strategically place the five singles that are attending when along comes her mother, Donna, places them. Job done. This is the only time we spend with Bee seeing things from her point of view.
Told in a third person narrative, we switch between each ‘singles’ point of view which is told from the time of the bridal party getting ready on the top floor of the Tower Gardens Country Club, through the wedding/reception and on until the morning after.
Three of the singles have history together having been at college in Syracuse but since drifted apart. Bee’s uncle spends the majority of the wedding with one of them. One of them doesn’t turn up until the next morning but is a part of it through phone calls … and one of the singles is a substitute having taken the place of his mother who is a close friend of the groom’s mother.
The focus of the story is more about the emotional lives of the singles rather than the wedding itself although it is obviously the wedding that is in the background and the reason that brings them together. We get to read their reflections and learn about hopes and dreams that have been put to one side although not forgotten. Bee’s wedding is a pivotal point in all their lives.
It’s easy for the reader to identify with each character’s profile and get caught up in the story. The characters on the periphery add even more colour with their personalities. The pace of the story is fast – there’s no time to be bored! There’s always something happening. There are some hilarious/embarrassing scenes and one poignant scene in particular that had me on the floor sobbing alongside the character.
The ending is satisfying although we don’t know the outcome for them all. However, we do know there are changes …
If you’re looking for a holiday read then I would definitely recommend you add the The Wedding Guests to your reading list.
I would like to thank the publishers, Penguin, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest opinion.