Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Wedding Party by Tracey Richardson

Publisher:         Bella Books

When is a wedding more than a wedding?  When it's the background for a group of people to find out a lot of information about themselves.

Dani and Shannon have been planning their wedding in Las Vegas for a long time.  Shannon would have preferred something less elaborate, but Dani feels like a big event is a sign of her love for Shannon.  She has paid to fly in their closest friends for a week of activities before the wedding and everything will be perfect.  It has to be because afterward Dani has to tell Shannon that she's been out of work for more than a month, she really can't afford any of their plans and their world is about to fall apart.  Shannon is hiding a secret of her own that could be just as devastating to their relationship.  It soon becomes clear that their friends Jordan and Claire and Shannon's niece Amanda have issues of their own to resolve.  Whatever answer each woman settles on will change the group dynamic significantly and could end relationships that have taken years to build.

The Wedding Party ostensibly starts out as the story of a group of friends celebrating a wedding; however, Richardson soon takes it into an exploration of what keeping secrets and not trusting people can do to relationships.  Dani and Shannon cannot admit certain truths to each other despite their long relationship.  It raises the question of how you can commit to someone if you can't trust them with the truth.  Jordan, the eternal womanizer, is afraid to admit that she's finally reached a point where she wants stability and Amanda is afraid to trust the person she has been the closest to all of her life.  Claire is hiding more than anyone, not only from her friends, but from herself.  The reader might question how this group can be so close when the members are keeping so much from each other, but the reality is that people often hide things from those they rely on the most.  What Richardson shows is the consequences of this behavior and possible solutions for these situations.

Tracey Richardson is very good at writing stories that have more depth than appears on the surface. The Wedding Party can be enjoyed as a character study of a group of friends, but a little more thought shows that it's also about the importance of openness and honesty in maintaining a group dynamic.  A standard story is used to mask a more important lesson.  Richardson writes well.  It's always easy to recommend her books.