Tamsyn appears to have it all. A lush apartment in Paris, a job working at the best design agency and a hot boyfriend – albeit a secret one.
But after five years away she’s back to her quiet hometown to celebrate her brother’s wedding. Cue a flood, the discovery of a mystery newborn and the impossible task of rustling up a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses in only a few days.
And then there’s Jed Edwards, the attractive priest, whom she can’t help but keep running into. Suddenly Poldore is looking a lot more appealing than her glamourous life in Paris. But will she have enough faith to risk it all on someone she just met?
Apologies for the break in posting my reviews, I’ve been spending time with my family – but I’m delighted I’m back in time to review this latest book by Scarlett Bailey in advance of its publication tomorrow (June 19th). While the recent novels by the author’s alter ego hold a special place in my heart, you’ll already know that I’m a pushover for Christmas reads and I’ve absolutely loved Scarlett Bailey’s previous books: I reviewed Just For Christmas back in December (I think you can tell how much I enjoyed it…), and would equally recommend The Night Before Christmas and Married By Christmas, as well as the digital novella Santa Maybe. But this is a rare and welcome treat – both a return to Poldore, with its wonderful cast of characters, and a book set at a time other than Christmas. You really don’t need to have read Just for Christmas to enjoy this one, but it was particularly lovely to revisit the same setting and the familiar characters, with an absolutely enthralling story and the same wonderful writing.
We’re back in Poldore for the wedding of Alex and Ruan, but this time they’re not the central characters. Tamsyn, Ruan’s estranged sister, has returned from her job with a Paris fashion house to be a reluctant bridesmaid, and arrives in Poldore in the middle of a storm and flood and the evacuation of the village. The wonderful Sue – the supreme organiser, but with hidden sadness – provides a refuge for the evacuees, and the book moves from drama to drama, full of twists and misunderstandings, moments of humour and emotion that draws a tear, as the date of the wedding approaches.
At the centre of it all is abandoned baby Mo – sharing care for her with vicar Jed sees Tamsyn’s personality undergo a complete change for the better (when you first meet her, you might not warm to her – I know I didn’t!) while the search continues for the baby’s mother. Then there are the ongoing preparations for the wedding amid all the devastation, with the whole community pulling together to avoid disaster – it’s a wonderful story, really well told, with familar and new characters merging seamlessly and both characters and setting vividly drawn. One much-loved character is still at centre stage – the wonderful Buoy the dog, a little older and quieter, but still overflowing with doggy personality and carrying out his everyday acts of heroism.
I absolutely loved it, and devoured it in one glorious sitting. This really is chick lit at its very best – superbly written, real characters to engage with, the romantic elements combined with a rollicking good story, a vivid sense of place. When you pick it up, I guarantee you won’t want to put it down until the last page either.
Two Weddings and a Baby will be published in paperback and for Kindle by Ebury Press on 19 June. My thanks to netgalley and the publishers for my advance reading e-copy.
Scarlett Bailey has loved writing stories since childhood, before becoming a novelist she worked as a waitress, cinema usherette and bookseller. Passionate about old movies, Scarlett loves nothing more than spending a wet Sunday afternoon watching her favourite films back-to-back with large quantities of chocolate. Scarlett also writes novels under her real name Rowan Coleman. Currently she lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, five children, her new puppy and a very large collection of beautiful shoes.