January 4, 2009

A Wedding in December

A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve
Contemporary Fiction
2007 Little, Brown and Company
Finished on 12/29/08
Rating: 2.5/5 (Fair)

Publisher's Blurb:

At an inn in the Berkshire Mountains, seven former schoolmates gather to celebrate a wedding—a reunion that becomes the occasion of astonishing revelations as the friends collectively recall a long-ago night that indelibly marked each of their lives. Written with a fluent narrative artistry that distinguishes all of Anita Shreve's bestselling novels, A Wedding in December acutely probes the mysteries of the human heart and the endless allure of paths not taken.

Meh. I picked this off my shelves on a whim, looking for a comfort read to settle into during the Christmas season, and decided on A Wedding in December simply because of the title. It took quite a while to get interested and I considered throwing in the towel on several occasions. Initially, I didn't care for the story-within-a-story about the Halifax Explosion of 1917, but ironically, it was that piece of history that held my interest once I got further along in the book. I never came to care for any of the characters in this novel and I'm fairly certain they'll be long forgotten before the end of the month. Shreve is one of those hit-or-miss authors with me. I loved Fortune's Rocks and The Pilot's Wife but didn't think much of Light on Snow or The Weight of Water.

For more information about the Halifax Explosion, go here.


  1. Tried commenting a minute ago, but Blogger did a weird thing. Second attempt:

    I loved The Pilot's Wife but The Weight of Water weighed me down. Blarrg!

  2. Shreve is hit or miss with me too... Actually, the same books and the same response for me! I probably won't like this one, then

  3. I hate it when I really want to like a book/characters, but just can't. I think I'll pass on this one.

  4. I just got a copy of this one from Daniel's girlfriend -- and then she became the ex. Does that mean I don't have to read it? LOL

  5. I liked The Weight of Water -- not sure why -- but I did. I'm always hesitant to pick up a Shreve novel. I have Body Surfing and this one you just read but I haven't read either.

  6. Shreve has never been consistent for me either. I really liked Fortune's Rock, but left The Weight of Water on a beach in Cancun years ago. I would like to read her new book, Testimony, though.

  7. This has been on my TBR shelf for a long time. I thought Testimony was good (tough subject but well-written).

  8. You know I've not read this one of hers and I don't think I'll be in a hurry too. My favorite remains The Pilot's Wife. I'm going to read Resistance for the War Challenge this year-I hear it's quite good.

  9. This wasn't a favorite of mine, either, but I also enjoyed learning about the Halifax explosion which I knew nothing of.

  10. Andi - If you haven't read Fortune's Rocks, I highly recommend giving it a chance. It's my favorite so far.

    Kailana - Glad to hear I'm not the only one who isn't head-over-heels with Shreeve. Funny that we had similar reactions to the same books.

    Tammy - Yeah, life's too short. Give Fortune's Rocks or The Pilot's Wife a try, if you haven't already.

    Nancy - You have my permission to pass. :) Sorry about the girlfriend situation! Hope he isn't heartbroken.

    Katya - I know a few people who really enjoyed The Weight of Water. It just never really grabbed me the way her other books have. I have Sea Glass and Body Surfing in my stacks. I'll go into them with an open mind. :)

    JoAnn - Funny how she's inconsistent with so many of us! I've heard good things about Testimony, so I'll probably give it a try someday.

    Mary - I'll be interested to hear what you think (of this one) if you ever decide to dust it off and give it a read. Glad to hear Testimony was good.

    Dar - I want to read Resistance, too. I love war-related books. Just finished a winner (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford).

    Tara - I had read a little bit about the Halifax explosion in another book, but can't think of the title right at this moment. I probably wouldn't have finished Wedding in December had it not been for this bit of historical fiction.

  11. Anonymous3:26 PM

    I felt the same way about this one, nothing to write home about.

    Found your blog through a link trail and thought I would say hello :)

    - Lu

  12. The only book of hers I've read is The Pilot's Wife. Somehow, I haven't been compelled to pick up all the others and read them, even though I own them (given to me from assorted acquaintances). It's sort of like Jodi Picoult: I know I should read more of them because of all the praise, but somehow my interests are never fully there.

    I notice you're reading In The Woods in your sidebar which is a book I've picked up (at the store) and put down again 1,000 times. I guess I'm too afraid to be scared since it deals with children. I'll be very interested in your thoughts when you're done.

  13. I agree with your take on Anita Shreve - hit or miss. You may be interested in Barometer Rising by Hugh Maclennen who is a Canadian author. His family moved to Halifax in 1914 when he was 7 years old. I thought it was an excellent work of fiction that dealt with the Halifax Explosion in a touching way.

    Thank-you for sharing that site about the Explosion - interesting and very sad.

  14. Lu - Maybe the next one we read by Shreve will be a hit. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

    Bellezza - Fortune's Rocks is one of her best, in my opinion. If you've got a copy of that, give it a try.

    I'm about 100 pages into In The Woods and so far I'm really enjoying it. Yeah, it deals with the death of a child, but it's the mystery and detectives that I'm really enjoying. Trying not to dwell too much on the murder victim.

    Booklogged - Isn't it interesting how so many of us have a love/hate reaction to Shreve's books. Wonder why that is? Thanks for the recommendation for Barometer Rising. Sounds like a book that would appeal to me and my husband.

  15. Anonymous10:22 AM

    I loved Anita Shreve's books when I first read them- Fortune's Rocks in particular. I wasn't too keen on Sea Glass and then A Wedding in December was disappointing as was Body Surfing. Testimony is very different and I struggled with that. I suppose it's the variety in style that is unsettling.

  16. Margaret - Wasn't Fortune's Rocks great?! What a shame about Sea Glass and Body Surfing! I have those in my stacks, but won't rush to read them for a bit. Maybe this summer. Since I don't own Testimony, I may wind up skipping it. Thanks for your input.

  17. Anonymous3:44 PM

    I've only read a couple of her books and it was years ago, nothing really stands out either way. I've had this one on my bookshelf for a while, bought because it deals with the Halifax Explosion. I lived in Halifax for many years and that event is still very much remembered as a terrible time in our history. Several of my friends had family members injured or killed. Interestingly, we received so much support from America, particularly the Boston area, that every year Nova Scotia sends Boston a huge Christmas tree which is used as their main tree.

    A book about the HE that I very much enjoyed is Burden of Desire, written by Robert MacNeil (of PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer hour).

  18. Lesley - The only one I've read that really stands out is Fortune's Rocks. It was so good, I'd read it a second time if I had a chance.

    Burden of Desire sounds like an interesting book. I'll have to track down a copy. Thanks for the rec! And thanks for sharing the story about NS sending Boston a Christmas tree every year. Aren't Canadians great? :)

  19. Oh, I DID like Fortune's Rocks. I forgot about that one, it's my favorite, too.


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