Modern Lit: A Wedding in September, by Anita Shreve

A Wedding in December

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bridget and Bill, prep school sweethearts who married others, are now, in middle age, marrying each other. The venue is an elegant country inn run by a former classmate, and the guests, with a few exceptions, are also alumni and old friends. Author Shreve’s plot is a simple one, though complex to tell. Their reunion after twenty five years opens up a lot of baggage that contains items not in the clothing category. During the wedding weekend, each of the seven principal characters undergoes a personal crisis of conscience. Their current encounters with each other, their school memories, and their ensuing choices are told and retold from their own perspectives, giving the reader glimpses into how their collective past affected their individual futures. Each crisis is of the sort that we all experience at one time or another. Each classmate goes home a changed person.

A Wedding in December is beautifully written but slow paced and introspective. There is little suspense here, but plenty of tension, and in some passages, angst. Don’t look for happily-ever-after endings for any of these characters, for happily-ever-after only happens in fairy tales. This is a realistic story about love, duty, and redemption.

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