Grab a box of tissues because this one is a tad emotional! Yes, I know, that is coming from the Queen of Ice Queen’s herself, TWG, but still. It is. I am so excited to be able to share my review of ‘The Almost Wife’ by Jade Beer, for the last stop on the blog blitz. Huge thank you to Bookouture for the Blitz invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:
Jessie has always known she doesn’t belong, but she thought that would change when she met Adam. But pretending to be someone you’re not isn’t easy… and she’s already cracking under the pressure of keeping her past a secret from Adam’s uptight family.
Dolly works hard to keep up appearances – but what’s the point of only eating salad when her boyfriend Josh always seems distracted. Dolly is sure he’ll change once they’re married with a family; Josh did say he wanted those things… didn’t he?
Emily couldn’t be happier: she’s got funny, loving parents and a job she looks forward to. And then her boyfriend Mark proposes… just as some shocking news sends her life spiralling out of control.
Perfect strangers on the first page, Jessie, Dolly and Emily’s paths will cross in the most unexpected of ways. And as their stories collide, their lives will take a turn you’ll never predict.
What does TWG think?
You may be sitting there thinking that the title of this book gives you a hint about what’s to come, and whilst that is true to an extent, it also couldn’t be further from the truth if it tried. Confused? Don’t be – you just need to read the book for yourself.
Three women, three weddings, and a minimum of three dresses – simple. Or is it? Even though I have never been married and never planned a wedding, I am still aware that planning a wedding isn’t a stress free event, with the lives of the three women in this story cementing that fact on more than one occasion.
Just in case you wanted even more grit to sink your teeth into, ‘The Almost Wife’ isn’t told from the voices of the three brides to be, it is in fact told by four women. Yes, that’s right! This storyline switches between four different characters and whilst I would usually think ‘ohmygawd I’m confused’, the author blends the different viewpoints in such a seamless manner, I sometimes forgot that I was reading about different women and not just the one.
I ADORED the parts set in the wedding shop as everything was intricately described and written absolutely beautifully. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought I was standing with Helen in her shop instead of laying in my bed reading the book. Just like the three brides to be, Helen has her own distinctive, emotional story. It was a shame that she never gave herself enough credit for how strong she was.
Whilst the blurb gives enough details about the three brides to be, I want to add that a lot of readers may relate to Jessie, Dolly, and Emily’s situations, as they come across incredibly genuine and very apt to modern day society. Jade Beer clearly has done her homework, that’s for sure!
Speaking of which, the author clearly knows her way around a wedding shop, and I can guarantee that her knowledge wasn’t taught via re-runs of ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ on TLC! I have always said that I don’t see myself getting married, but after meeting Helen and feeling the beauty of the wedding dresses jump out of the page thanks to Jade Beer’s enchanting words, I can envision myself walking into a wedding boutique without coming out in a cold sweat.
I said at the very start of this review that you’ll need to grab a box of tissues. I stand by that 100%. As I don’t wish to give spoilers, I won’t tell you the why’s and wherefores about the emotion, all I will tell you is that this beautiful story absolutely broke me and made me sob my heart out. It is incredibly sad, but in a weird and wonderful way, ‘The Almost Wife’ is one of the most captivating, beautiful, and flawlessly written book I think I have ever read.
Jade Beer doesn’t only know what works when it comes to A-line wedding dresses or ball gowns, she also knows what works when it comes to telling a story to her readers as she has nailed it ten times over.
‘The Almost Wife’ is a heartbreaking, yet outstanding novel which highlights the beauty of love in all of its various formats, hugging you from the inside out as you make your way through the story on an emotional journey. I won’t be forgetting this book in a hurry, I can promise you that.
Stunning, emotional, and everything I could have ever dreamt of, ‘The Almost Wife’ isn’t ALMOST perfect – it is PERFECTLY perfect in every way. Step down Mary Poppins, there’s a new girl in town!
About the author.
I’m Jade. I’m a novelist, mother to two young daughters and the editor of Conde Nast Brides.
I love writing about women and all the challenges we face in our daily lives. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented women throughout my career as a journalist and editor – ones who juggle the most all-encompassing careers with family and friendships and everything else that life throws at them. They often make it look so easy. But we all know it’s not. And that need to present one version of yourself to the world, while keeping the grittier, less polished reality under wraps, is a thread that runs strongly through my debut novel, The Almost Wife.
In my day job as the editor of Conde Nast Brides, I share my working life with editors of some of the glossiest, luxury brands in the world – Vogue, Tatler, Glamour – and I have the enormous priviledge of travelling the world and sitting front row at beautiful fashion shows and working with the world’s leading florists, cake makers and stylists. But I also take a daily peek into the lives of young women who are engulfed in one of the most exciting times of their lives – planning their wedding days. This, above everything else, is the really fun bit. Being on the front line if you like. Hearing their thoughts, fears, worries and ambitions for the future. This really powerful cocktail of glamour and reality dances across every page of The Almost Wife and is currently being poured into my second novel which is due out in October this year.
I’m not sure I could have written The Almost Wife without making it personal too, feeding some of my own quiet fears into the mix. I’ve sat in important meetings, dropping huge clangers that years later still make me cringe. I’ve got more than my fair share of self-doubt and suffer like many other women from the dreaded imposter syndrome. I worry constantly about my family. How much time I have left with them. Am I doing any of it right? Will I be riddled with regret in later years? Will my daughters be critical of the choices I made? Am I failing the people I love the most?
Although work places me full time in London, my heart is in the countryside where I live with my husband and our two daughters. The Cotswolds is where my husband and I used to spend romantic weekends plotting our future together long before children came along and is now where I watch them both run free, hoping I will keep them close for many years to come.
Take a peek inside my life on Instagram @jadebeerbrides