Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop: Sequins and Snowflakes
(The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea #2)
By: Jane Linfoot
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 30 September 2016
Format: Ebook, 401 pages
The snow is falling around Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s cutest little wedding shop, and wedding dress designer Seraphina East is in her cosy studio designing exquisite dresses to make even the most demanding bride’s dreams come true.
Unless the bride is her big sister Alice of course. Saying that the two sisters don’t always see eye to eye is an understatement. Alice hasn’t even asked Sera to design her wedding dress. But when an absent groom and ill-fitting dress threaten to ruin Alice’s happiness let alone her big day, Sera’s determined to give her sister the winter wedding of her dreams – even if that means keeping not one but two irresistibly gorgeous best men under control…
Is Sera going to end up being the maid of dishonour…Or will repairing her frozen relationship with Alice be the icing on the wedding cake? (Goodreads)
This second book features characters from the first, yet can easily be read as a standalone, with only a couple of obvious spoilers. It focuses on Seraphina East this time, the wedding shop’s up-and-coming designer who recently got the chance to design a celebrity gown. Sera is a free spirit and gets most of her inspiration whilst sitting on the beach, having made a home for herself in the tiny seaside town. Despite her laidback manner, Sera is about to find herself plunged into the stress of organising a wedding, as her glamorous big sister, Alice, makes her head bridesmaid and demands every minute of her attention.
Putting together the wedding of the year also means coming face to face with the two best men, Johnny and Quinn, making Sera feel even more uncomfortable about being in charge. One of them is a face from Sera’s past, as Johnny was one of her flatmates at university and she had a huge crush on him at the time. Although unclear what has transpired between them, it is obvious that Sera still holds some feelings towards Johnny, and would rather not be spending an abundance of time in his company.
Then there is the complete contrast to the quietly mannered Johnny in the second best man, Quinn. He is a whirlwind from the get go and makes no secret of his attraction to Sera. He goes out of his way to spend time with her, claiming that every aspect of the wedding plan needs them both to ensure it goes right. However, it is no secret that Quinn is a womaniser and would sooner ditch the plans for an afternoon in his bed if given half the chance. Is Sera right to give him the benefit of the doubt, or is she best to steer well clear of his troublesome ways?
With the wedding of the year throwing up unexpected complications in the form of starry ceilings and flashing disco floors, Sera has her work cut out for her if she is to ensure that bridezilla Alice’s wedding goes without a hitch. The demands placed on Sera are almost comical throughout this book, with Alice having produced wedding manuals and spent the last three years planning the perfect day. There is more than their fair share of mishaps, proving that no wedding ever goes smoothly, and it falls on Sera and her Brides by the Sea companions to save the day on more than one occasion.
As far as the plot goes, Alice’s wedding is more of a backdrop for Sera’s relationship woes, lightening the mood where necessary and giving a definite time scale for Sera to decide what she wants. All along Sera has been happy by herself and content to be alone with the sea. She has never felt that her life was lacking anything, as she has her dress designing and her wedding shop friends. They have become her family, after her own showed disappointment in her choice to study fashion. Johnny was the only man she felt close to, but seeing him again is increasingly difficult as Sera feels rejected and as if she never really knew him at all.
I found it hard to form much of an opinion of Johnny, as he doesn’t come into his own until past the halfway point. Up until then, it is pure speculation about whether anything happened between him and Sera, or whether he is interested in spending time with her once more. He almost keeps to himself and only steps in when Quinn gets a bit too much for Sera to handle, seeming overprotective without due cause. From then on it is obvious that he is interested in her, but as there wasn’t an immediate connection created from the outset I found it more difficult to root for him.
On the other hand, I liked Quinn’s cheeky demeanour from the outset and loved seeing him exchange banter with Sera. She can be quite shy in social situations, but seems able to rebuff Quinn’s advances in style and often providing some comedic moments. I was hoping that there would be more to Quinn than his womanising persona, with a more caring nature underneath, as he does display some moments of tenderness with Sera. He was bubbly and brightened up the book, even if he wasn’t perfect leading man material.
I thought that this book was a great follow up to the first, again using weddings to bring together more couples. Seeing the various demands of Alice’s manual was enlightening for all the possibilities of planning, with the extravagance providing both comedy and splendour. Such a backdrop made for a pleasant romantic tale, although I did love Sera as a solo protagonist and could quite happily have coped with her staying single and enjoying her life by the beach. Nevertheless, this is a suitably uplifting story for the holiday season and the smooth flow of the writing makes this an author I would recommend highly.
A sparkling and festive return to the little wedding shop by the sea, this novel focuses on an understated character from the first book and gives her a romantic story alongside the other returning characters. Easy to read as a standalone, this book is entertaining and comedic, with the backdrop of planning a wedding to heighten the romantic atmosphere. This book is sure to cheer you up with plenty of festive cheer to go around.