‘The Wedding Dress’ by Dani Atkins was really a series of three shorter stories with the wedding dress in common, owned first by Suzanne, then Bella and finally by Mandy’s gran, Amanda. It’s interesting how the three part division, labelled clearly as part one, part two and part three, interferes somewhat with my ability to rate it out of five stars. For me, there was clearly one story that stood out far in front of the others, and another that I really didn’t enjoy nearly so much. Therefore I will offer my thoughts on each individual tale.
Part One – Suzanne. I must admit to being rather irritated by Suzanne’s story, and her wedding to the apparently ‘perfect’ groom, Darrell – who is very obviously ‘not perfect’. To the other characters and readers alike it is clear that something is very ‘off’ about this wedding: even Suzanne isn’t oblivious to the discrepancies in her engagement to Darrell, that are virtually yelling out to be noticed! It was somewhat of a relief to me when Darrell was finally called out at the end of part one, fortunately before the wedding to Suzanne. This, for me, was a 3 star story.
Part Two – Bella. In contrast, the opening passages of Bella’s story gripped me from the first few lines. The Hen party, the visit to the theme park, the rollercoaster ride and the ensuing crash were all related with a keen eye for detail, to the point that I almost felt like I was there! The unexpected romance that develops between Will and Bella as a result of the carnage is beautiful…and of course there’s the dress. This, for me, was a 5 star story.
Part Three – Mandy. The third and final story is a sweet and sentimental tale of second chances and finally finding love in old age…with a twist. Mandy’s adores her gran, Amanda, after who she is named and visits her often at the nursing home where she now resides. What Mandy wasn’t expecting, was for her gran to share a secret with her; a secret that could tear her family apart, but which must ultimately come out if her gran is at last to find the true love and happiness she deserves! This was just about a 4 star story for me.
The concept around which the book revolves, of the wedding dress being passed on from bride to bride, is an interesting one and makes for a good read. As a complete package, I rate ‘The Wedding Dress’ a 3 and a half stars.