A Wedding In December
Little, Brown and Company, 2005
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wedding-December-Novel-Anita-Shreve/dp/0316001635 (For the mass market paperback – November 2007)
Twenty-seven years after their high school graduation, seven friends reunite for a wedding at a charming country Inn in the mountains of Western Massachusetts. The occasion, while happy on the surface, is marred by the tragedy that broke the friends apart nearly three decades before, and by the secret demons each of the seven fights.
The cast of characters includes the wedding couple, Bill and Bridget, high school sweethearts separated for twenty-five years. Brought together again by a chance encounter, it would seem Fate were smiling on them, if not for Bridget’s recent diagnosis of breast cancer. Nora, the owner of the Inn, who is recreating herself in the aftermath of her famous husband’s death. Agness, the forty-four-year-old history teacher who never left their old alma mater, and Harrison, who has married well and made a good life for himself in the publishing world but has never gotten over his secret love for Nora.
A Wedding in December is such an amazing book. The story unfolds gently, with each of the characters revealing themselves in small, telling glimpses. The author’s skillful attention to detail breathed life into her creation from the opening paragraph. Though the story centers on the wedding, it is richly layered with sub-plots as each of the characters reflects on the choices they made in the past and how those choices impacted their present lives. This is a story that anyone twenty-plus years out of high school can easily relate to, for who hasn’t taken pause to reflect on their past choices, and the things that might have been?
The novel left me feeling satisfied, if not a little sad. As in real life, the character’s futures are not neatly sewn up, and one gets the sense of ongoing drama for each of them. They are the kind of characters that are not soon forgotten, and I know my thoughts will return to them often. I highly recommend A Wedding In December to anyone who enjoys a soul-searching story about friendships.