The Blurb

Hazel never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Ollie’s summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel’s expertise soon spreads.

But Hazel’s clients expect the very best – she’s promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say ‘I do’? And will she find her own happy ending if she does?

The Review

Having only ever read one book by Abby Clements before, I was unsure what to expect from The Winter Wedding. The last book I read was a short story and it was that long ago that I read it that I can’t remember much about it (sorry!). I needn’t have worried.

The Winter Wedding is, like most romantic fiction, a story of relationships. Clements not only focuses on romantic relationships but familial and working relationships too. The working relationships are shown through the cutthroat media industry and how main character Hazel is victim to her boss’s whims; the romantic relationships come in many forms: Lila and Ollie, Eliot and Gemma; mix Josh, Sam, Amber and Hazel in the mix it almost becomes a recipe for romantic disaster. However, for me, the strongest showing of relationship was the one between Lila and Hazel; twin sisters who haven’t grown apart but have grown up. It was so refreshing to see such a strong connection between two female characters.

It is also a story of figuring out who you are. Your late twenties are a minefield of being pigeonholed into tick boxes. Married? Check. Mortgage? Check. Children? Check. Not everyone has it all figured out yet; the fact that Hazel is in the exact same position made her very easy to relate to.

The Winter Wedding was a really lovely read. It wasn’t taxing or an agonising read; it was a genuine pleasure to just sit down and pick up a book that I felt so comfortable to be a part of.

Well done, Abby Clements.

The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements is available now.

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Ove is a man who is set in his ways. He has a routine that he sticks to daily. He is angered by people who pay no heed to the rules. He is grumpy, cantankerous and a right old curmudgeon. He is also a man with more yesterdays than tomorrows.

The thing with Ove is that he dislikes change and all of a sudden everything in his life is changing. He has new interfering neighbours; his working hours have been cut due to his age and he cannot get his head round new fangled technology. Ove is a simple man. However, all the recent changes begin to open him up to a word of possibilities – possibilities that Ove reluctantly begins to accept.

Can Ove open himself up fully to these changes?

I was initially dubious about this book. I saw similarities to Mr Frederickson from Disney’s Up and if I am really honest I saw similarities to my own granddad who spends his days bemoaning that things aren’t like they used to be. It was through these similarities that I really fell in love with Ove. He tried his very hardest to be unlikeable but your just couldn’t help but become enamoured with this unlikely hero.

As a whole, A Man Called Ove tackles the larger issues of loss – loss of loved ones; loss of time and mostly loss of control. Ove strives to right the wrongs that the authorities, his bosses, the man sets for him. As I have said, Ove is a simple man but he knows what it right. And he diligently fights for the right thing throughout the book. You see this grumpy old man open up to the people and possibilities around him and grow; he is warm and loving he just didn’t have a chance to show it.

For anyone unsure about reading this book I would implore you to give it a try. If we are lucky we get to grow old but that doesn’t mean that we become feeble or helpless or unable to make decisions for ourselves. The elderly should be shown compassion and reverence not shot down for being older. This book reminds us to have empathy and respect for those who are older than us. A Man Called Ove – like the older generations around us – should not be ignored. Read this book.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is available now.

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