cover image The Wedding Girl

The Wedding Girl

Madeleine Wickham, . . St. Martin's/Dunne, $24.95 (337pp) ISBN 978-0-312-38343-5

The usually reliable Wickham (Shopaholic series author Sophie Kinsella's alter ego) falters with this overplotted and heavy-handed smorgasbord of weddings and family shenanigans. Upon meeting wedding photographer Alexander Gilbert, Milly Havill realizes that he had photographed her when she first married 10 years earlier. Since that wedding was done as a favor to help keep Allan Kepinski, the American half of a gay couple, in England, Milly never told anyone about it, including her now-fiancé, Simon Pinnacle. The thought of Alexander revealing her past sends Milly into a panic. But that's just the beginning: Simon is bent on bettering his multimillionaire father in business and in marriage; Milly's bitter father, James, seems to appreciate Milly's independent older sister, Isobel, more than Milly; Isobel gets pregnant and is certain the father would not want a baby; and Rupert, the other half of the couple Milly had helped out, is now a born-again Christian. Unfortunately, the characters' struggles with identity, abortion and homosexuality are filtered through strained prose and too-obvious setups. A lighter touch and a tighter story would have helped. (June)