Jane Austen in the 21st Century

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Summary of Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Lottie knows her boyfriend is going to propose to her. He's been dropping none too subtle hints, and she is so ready to be engaged. When it turns out his "big question" had nothing to do with marriage, Lottie is completely crushed, and her sister, Fliss, is afraid Lottie is going to make one of her "Unfortunate Choices" again like getting a tattoo or going abroad for a year. Unfortunately for Fliss, this time Lottie's "Unfortunate Choice" is to marry an old flame she hasn't seen for fifteen years. No dates, no moving in together, they'll just get married. Fliss thinks Lottie is making a big mistake and will do anything to stop her. Lottie, on the other hand, is determined to tie the knot for better or for worse.

Review

Wedding Night is the second book by Sophie Kinsella that I've read. The first was I've Got Your Number. Both books are hilarious romantic comedies with characters you can't help but like. If you are looking for a fun romance Sophie Kinsella's books are definitely for you.

What I loved so much about Wedding Night was that it is essentially a modern day version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Fliss is one part Elizabeth Bennet and two parts Emma Woodhouse. Her sister Lottie is basically Lydia Bennet. While Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite classics, I never really cared for Emma which is why I am surprised to find I enjoyed reading Wedding Night so much.

Kinsella has a truly remarkable ability to make me like characters I normally wouldn't. For example, Lottie is so desperate to get married and is so in love with the idea of marriage that she is blinded to what's actually important in life. Normally, I strongly dislike characters (and people in real life) like Lottie. They are vapid and are only concerned with appearances. However, Kinsella makes Lottie so unbelievably human and relatable that I couldn't help but see her side of the story. The "Unfortunate Choices" (planning to get a Masters degree, getting a tattoo, getting a drastic haircut, losing weight, reading more) Lottie makes after going through a breakup are so realistic. When something bad happens in our lives, and we feel like we have very little control over what's happening, it's natural to want to make a change. We're not happy with the way things are, so obviously we need a change. While I don't think I would ever go to the extreme of planning to marry someone without truly getting to know them first, like Lottie did, I can understand wanting to make a big change in your life to be happier. Lottie is a less annoying version of Lydia Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.

Another Jane Austen character I never particularly liked was Emma Woodhouse. I found her poking her nose into other people's business distasteful, and I couldn't believe Knightley saw anything in her. In Wedding Night, Fliss shares a lot in common with Emma. She is constantly interfering in her sister's life, even going so far as to try to ruin Lottie's honeymoon so as to convince her to get an annulment. It is exactly the type of heavy-handed, cringeworthy action Emma would take. By rights, that means I should dislike Fliss as well, but I found the exact opposite to be true. I found myself rationalizing Fliss's actions by saying to myself "she just wants her sister to be happy."  It took another character pointing out to Fliss that it was Lottie's life, not hers, for me to realize I was buying into the Fliss/Emma crazy logic. I have been in similar situation as Fliss where a friend of mine was thinking of getting back together with her horrible ex-boyfriend who was emotionally abusive to her and basically made her life miserable. It is sorely tempting to want to stop someone from making what you think to be a horrible mistake. While I never went to the lengths Fliss goes to, I can definitely see why she does what she does. I applaud Kinsella for being able to make me relate to Fliss, something I never had been able to do with Emma.

Besides the well-rounded characters, Wedding Night is also chockfull of the normal romantic comedy shenanigans, misunderstandings, and grand declarations of love. It is the type of story which will make you laugh, shake your head, yell at the characters for being so stupid, and then make you believe that maybe there truly is someone out there for everyone. I stayed up way past my bedtime reading the book yet at the same time I didn't want it to end.





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