A review copy of this book was provided by Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
I requested this book on NetGalley mostly because the concept sounded so interesting – it focuses on a wedding dress that has been passed through many generations of weddings and the lives of the latest women to wear it. It definitely felt like a breath of fresh air in a genre that repeats itself all too often.
Prized and stored away for safekeeping, the timeless ivory wedding dress, with its scooped neck and cleverly fitted bodice, sits gently folded in its box, whispering of Happily Ever Afters. To Kendra, Brianna, and Lauren it’s a reminder of what could have been, the promise of a fairy tale, and a friendship torn apart. But as Kendra knows firsthand: it wasn’t the dress’s fault.
Once closer than sisters, Lauren and Bree have grown up and grown apart, allowing broken promises and unfulfilled dreams to destroy their friendship. A successful author, Lauren returns home to the Outer Banks, fiancé in tow, to claim the dress she never thought she’d wear. While Bree, a bookstore owner, grapples with the realities of life after you marry the handsome prince. As the former best friends wrestle with their uncertain futures, they are both certain of one thing: some betrayals can never be forgiven.
Now on the eve of her daughter Lauren’s wedding, Kendra struggles with a secret she’s kept for far too long. And vows to make sure the dress will finally bring Lauren and Bree back together—knowing they’ll need each other to survive the coming storm.
The thing I value most about this book was how realistic it was – everyone has lost a friend over a misunderstanding or over something being blown out of proportion. That’s what happened to Lauren and Bree – they had a small fight that snowballed into years and years of misunderstandings and assumptions. It was this realism and relatability that really got me emotionally invested in the lives of Lauren, Bree, and Kendra (Lauren’s mom and Kendra’s surrogate mom).
The story itself was fairly straight forward – Lauren comes home to visit her mother, Kendra, and ends up learning a bombshell truth about her past. It rattles her to her core and forces her to reevaluate her life and relationships. While the concept is simple, the author really took the time to add the emotional weight to the plot – I was invested within the first 50 pages. Once the plot really got rolling, I didn’t put the book down until I had finished – it was that addictive.
Lauren and Bree’s lives provide a fascinating contrast of how one small decision can change your entire life. They were both aspiring authors and had decided to go to New York when they graduated, but in the end, only Lauren went. Because of this decision, Lauren ended up being a ultra-successful bestselling author while Bree started her family and took years to write her first book. It’s this contrast that really brings richness to these characters – the author really takes the time to develop their relationship and dive deep into the misconceptions they have about each other. Kendra is also an interesting character – she’s been holding onto a massive secret for decades and she is forced to deal with the fallout when it comes to light. I’ll be honest – I didn’t love how she initially started dealing with the consequences, and I definitely didn’t enjoy her relationship with her love interest. Eventually, she corrected course and became an enjoyable, interesting, and key character for the remainder of the book.
My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding brought a unique new story-line to the romance genre and was definitely a breath of fresh air. Overall, this book was pretty fun and it’ll definitely make a great beach read this summer. I’m really looking forward to reading more of Wendy Wax’s books in the future. 4/5.