Annabelle Pleasanton is a Monterey-based writer who’s been dating her boyfriend, Isaac, for nine months, and she knows (in some visceral womanly way) that he’s going to propose to her. Except things keep getting in the way. It doesn’t help that Annabelle’s old flame, Alex, shows back up in her life, throwing gifts and memories at her. It also doesn’t help that Isaac’s personal agent is a former model and flame from high school. Nor does it help that Isaac wants to move down to L.A., taking Annabelle away from her job — at which she’s applying for a promotion — her family, and her beloved Monterey. In addition, Annabelle has just won a $50,000 Dream Wedding — high couture, stunning settings, amazing food — and it seems that even though it’s absolutely perfect, things keep falling apart at the seams.
It seemed to me that Strain was going for a Shannon Hale-esque cutesy chick-lit humor. But I found the humor to be grating, as were all the “dear reader” asides. The dialogue was flat, and the vague Mormon-ness (it was published by a small LDS publisher) was awkward (either go all out, or don’t go there at all). But, what really bothered me was that Annabelle is shallow. She does attempt to redeem herself by being interested in philanthropic endeavors (like the company that recycles wedding flowers by giving them to women’s shelters), but even with that, she comes off as shallow, one-dimensional, and predictable, and her growth throughout the novel isn’t palpable.
There will be some people — read: wedding-happy women — who will really like this book. I am just not one of them.