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.
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.