Review: A Wedding on Primrose Street by Sheila Roberts

Review: A Wedding on Primrose Street by Sheila RobertsA Wedding on Primrose Street (Life in Icicle Falls, #7) by Sheila Roberts
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: contemporary romance, women's fiction
Series: Life in Icicle Falls #7
Pages: 384
Published by Mira on July 28th 2015
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository

There's nothing like a wedding!
The joy, the fun, the memories—the stress. As a wedding planner, Anne Richardson has seen mothers of the bride turn into Momzillas, and she's determined not to do that when it's her daughter's turn to get married. But once Laney gets engaged, all bets are off. Anne becomes obsessed with giving Laney the perfect wedding she herself never had. And that wedding needs to be held in Icicle Falls at Primrose Haus, the perfect setting.
Roberta Gilbert, owner of Primrose Haus, has been hosting events at her charming Victorian for thirty years. She's an expert on weddings, but not on mother-daughter relations. When her daughter, Daphne, comes home and decides to help with the business, the receptions become truly memorable—and not in a good way. Then there's the added complication of Roberta's gardener, who seems more interested in Daphne than he is in planting primroses…
Tying the knot is a business that has everyone tied up in knots!

My Review:

Although there are a lot of weddings in this entry into the Life in Icicle Falls series, this one isn’t really a romance. The weddings are all for romances that have already reached their happily ever after, we hope. Or to paraphrase one of the wedding planners, her job is to create a perfect wedding, a perfect marriage is not in her job description. Or capability.

Instead of a romance, this story is all about relationships. Specifically, mother/daughter relationships. And it’s mostly about the number of ways they go wrong, although things do get straightened out before the end. Mostly.

The story centers around two women who are both in the business of perfect weddings. Anne Richardson is a Seattle wedding planner who has just found out that her daughter Laney is engaged. Anne wants Laney to have the perfect wedding, a day that she will remember for the rest of her life with no regrets.

Roberta Gilbert is the owner of Primrose Haus in Icicle Falls. Roberta rents out the beautiful Victorian house for perfectly beautiful weddings, and helps coordinate the services of the caterers, florists and all the other myriad minions needed to pull off the event of a lifetime. But Roberta’s daughter Daphne is back home after her third failed marriage. Daphne wants to help her mother in the business and take few weeks or even months to get her life back on track.

Both Anne’s relationship with Laney and Roberta’s relationship with Daphne go through many trials by fire as the two mothers get together to create the perfect wedding for Laney. The only problems are that Roberta really doesn’t want her disappointing daughter Daphne anywhere near her business, and Laney (and her fiancee) don’t want anything like the wedding that Anne has her heart set on.

Readers get a ringside seat as both sets of mothers and daughters have to struggle their way through to a happily ever after for their relationships, as each of the older women has to reconcile themselves to the regrets in their own pasts before they can repair the present, and hopefully the future.

Although love does help conquer all, in this story, it’s really truth and understanding that finally win the day.

Escape Rating A-: Unlike most of the series so far, A Wedding on Primrose Street is a lot more women’s fiction than anything like a romance. There are a couple of romances that get off the ground in this story, but they are background to the main event. That main event is the relationships between mothers and daughters in both Anne’s and Roberta’s families.

Roberta ran away from home in the early 1960s, a pregnant high schooler whose boyfriend abandoned her and whose mother cared much more about her standing in the community than the plight of her daughter and future grandchild. Roberta’s escape to Icicle Falls to have her child was the best thing that ever happened to her. But she never did resolve issues with her own mother, and while she loved her daughter Daphne, held her to such high standards that Daphne never felt capable. When Daphne comes home, all Roberta sees is another result of her daughter’s terrible choices, and another round of disappointment. As far as Roberta is concerned, the only thing that Daphne has done right is to successfully raise her own now-adult daughter.

When Daphne comes home and wants to help her mother, who is in her early 70s and needs to slow down a bit, all Roberta sees is an endless series of business disasters until Daphne falls in love with another loser. She doesn’t see her own part in Daphne’s issues, nor does she see the woman that Daphne has become.

Anne Richardson, although more of a generation with Daphne than Roberta, has also spent her life in a tug of war with her daughter and her own past. Anne always wanted the traditional big church wedding, but married in haste at the courthouse when she found out she was pregnant, and that her fiancee was due to ship out with the Army for the Middle East. Anne is very happily married, but has always regretted that hasty wedding. She’s determined to pull out all the stops for Laney’s wedding, whether Laney wants those stops pulled or not. Laney is just young enough to want to please her mother, even knowing that what her mother wants is not what she wants. Laney is caught in the middle between her mother-the-steamroller and her fiancee who wants to have a destination wedding in Vegas. A wedding that is much more in line with Laney’s (and Drake’s) artistic and very non-traditional life and tastes.

Anne turns into something she dreads, a “Momzilla” and Laney runs and hides from the preparations she doesn’t want. It takes an intervention for Anne to be forced to look at what she is doing to her relationship with her daughter. And her husband.

This is a story that got me in the feels. The ways that things go right and wrong seems so true to life, that it hit too close to home, and to my own issues with my mother. So it was sometimes a rough go for me, not because it wasn’t a good story (it definitely is good) but because it often felt too real.

A Wedding on Primrose Street is a terrific story for anyone who has unresolved issues with their mother, but still wants to see a happy ending. And don’t we all?

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