I don’t know if I’m just getting more critical or what, but apparently I need my chicklit at a certain standard these days. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether Lucy Kevin reaches that standard. As for the first of her series “Four Weddings and a Fiasco”, The Wedding Gift? I feel inclined to go with no.
“After Julie Delgado’s restaurant closes, she temporarily takes over the catering position at the Rose Chalet, a full-service San Francisco wedding venue. She plans to dazzle the bride and groom so the Chalet’s owner will keep her around, but fate has other plans for her when the bride’s brother shows up for the first food tasting.
Andrew Kyle is not only the Cuisine Channel’s Edgy Eats host and chef, but his recent review of Julie’s restaurant was the final nail in its coffin. Once he meets Julie at the Rose Chalet, he’s certain she’s playing it safe. And he wants nothing more than to be the one to break her guarded passions loose.
But despite the undeniable sparks between Julie and Andrew–and the fact that he seems to believe in her when no one else does–can she afford to be taking risks with her cooking, with her career…or with her heart?”
If all of that sounds like a tremendous cliché? That’s because it is. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. I usually find that one of the things I tend to love most about the entire chicklit-genre, is exactly that level of predictability. I love being able to read something and know for sure that the characters will get their happy ending!
Julie Delgado and Andrew Kyle are truly the only characters we get any kind of an insight in. Sure, there’s some mention of Andrew’s family who don’t understand how “cooking” could be a real job.
And we know that Julie has an aunt, a friend and a boss. But that’s about it. Seriously, does this girl not have any colleagues? What did she do before she opened her own restaurant? How did she get enough money to open up a restaurant at her age to begin with?
I’m not entirely sure whether the author felt that, just because there would be other books about some characters mentioned in this one, she didn’t really need to put the effort in? You know “background story, what’s that?” That kind of stuff. But still, the amount of things we don’t know about the two main characters feels almost unnatural.
Sure, we’re only following them for a limited amount of time, but, you know… I would like to know how they got to that point. And preferably have it explained in more than all of 3 sentences.
And yet again, this is where it goes wrong.
The best word to describe this entire book would probably be “rushed”. I’m not entirely sure over the course of how many days this story takes place, but it feels like a matter of days.
And I’m sorry, but nobody is going to meet someone and hate them, then fall for them, then start loving them, then push them away for security, and then change their mind again all in the matter of 2 weeks.
Sure, there’s a certain level of predictability that’s to be expected in chicklit. And as I already mentioned above, I usually really appreciate that feeling of knowing it’s all going to be okay. But in this book, it basically just felt as if the author was trying to push every single trick into the story. I could honestly just imagine the checklist lying next to her, ready to see if you really did hit every single mark.
As is probably pretty blatantly obvious by now, I didn’t really enjoy this book all that much. I try to keep my 1 stars only for those books that really do something wrong – think blatant homophobia, transphobia, racism, etc. Of course, there’s the occasional book in there I just plain old disliked as well. And, honestly? I was very seriously tempted to give it that rating, just because it was so rushed. The story did have some potential, though, and even if that wasn’t realised? That potential did end up being this books “saving grace”.
Well, you know. In as far as 2 stars can be considered “saved”…