• Small Lies, Big Drama
The Little French Bridal Shop Book Cover The Little French Bridal Shop
Jennifer Dupee
St. Martin's Press
March 9, 2021
Kindle E-book

When Larisa Pearl returns to her small seaside hometown in Massachusetts to manage her beloved great aunt's estate, she's a bit of an emotional mess. She's just lost her job and her boyfriend and she's struggling to cope with her mother's failing health. When she passes by the window of The Little French Bridal Shop, a beautiful ivory satin wedding gown catches her eye...

Now, to the delight of everyone in town, Larisa is planning her wedding. She has her dress, made floral arrangements, and set the date. The only thing missing is the groom. How did this happen? All she did was try on a dress and let her fantasy take flight. But word about her upcoming nuptials has reached the ears of Jack Merrill. As teenagers, they spent time together on her great aunt's estate, building a friendship that could have become something more had they chosen different paths.

Lost in a web of her own lies, Larisa must first face some difficult truths, including her mother's fragile future, before she can embrace her family, straighten out her life, and open her heart to finding love.

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave…

I really wanted to like this book: the cover art was gorgeous, and the synopsis was promising… after all who doesn’t love a good friends to lovers tale that ends in a wedding? Unfortunately, my expectations for fun and romance were not met, and I even considered marking the book DNF a few times. The Little French Bridal Shop features two main characters who could not be more unlikable, and my old fashioned soul cringed away from them for the majority of the story. Call me crazy, but a guy who cheats on his wife (and the mother of his children) with a waitress from the local bar, leading him to get kicked out, landing him in the home of his childhood friend who he then proceeds to woo and kiss, is not at all romantic. Nor is a female lead who buys into the classic “oh but my marriage has been on the rocks for a long time and I’m so unhappy” sob story; who can root for a woman who knowingly kisses the husband of someone else? Not I! Larissa and Jack were just not a match I could swoon over. Image result for bridesmaids gif

So why did I finish the book, and give it three stars if I loathed the main characters and disliked the central plot? For one, it is well written with solid character development and good supporting characters and story lines. The romance that Larissa discovered her great-aunt had enjoyed despite being the town spinster, was truly heart warming in its simplicity, and the love her parents share is equally moving. Dupee writes about Alzheimer’s with compassion and accuracy, making Larissa’s father my favorite character in the story as he cares for his wife as she declines, while also trying to help his daughter be a descent human being. In the end, the importance of the dress Larissa bought as part of her web of lies, brings her redemption and a special moment with her family, that is more priceless than any wedding could ever be.