The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver

'One year, Seb. Don't get any dreamy ideas. It's not going to happen.' 

Title - The Vintage Summer Wedding
Author - Jenny Oliver
Publisher - Carina UK 
Publication Date - May 22nd 2014
Format - eBook

The blurb

A Vera Wang dress, the reception at a sophisticated London venue, and a guest list that reads like a society gossip column are all the ingredients of Anna Whitehall's perfect wedding that never was...

Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she'd become a Prima ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a collective-gasp-from-the-congregation dress. 

Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition... but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her ballet shoes, she and fiancee Seb find themselves back in Nettleton, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely... 

Don't they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don't get it right... This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy... 

Becca's thoughts

Oh my gosh! I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED The Vintage Summer Wedding. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! 

I'd just like to say a huge thank you to one of my favourite publishers Carina UK! No matter what, I always seem to fall head over heels in love with Carina's titles, and The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver turned out to be another one of those beauties that I just couldn't leave alone. And of course, an even bigger thank you to author of this wonderful, smile-inducing story, Jenny Oliver. This is the first title that I have read by Jenny, and now I am completely convinced that she writes stories that are right up my street, therefore I will definitely be looking forward to and reading more of Jenny's work, without a doubt. 

The Vintage Summer Wedding is all about Anna Whitehall, who once had her life mapped out ahead of her, but is now floundering in the messiness and un-glamorous lifestyle of living in Nettleton, her childhood village. Having just returned to Nettleton with her fiancee Seb, after her dream came crashing down around them both, Anna is truly not looking forward to settling back in. The mud and wheat fields are nothing compared to the life that she once dreamed she would have, full of glam parties, expensive clothes and gorgeous shoes. Whilst Seb had managed to land himself a job teaching at Nettleton's highs-school, Anna has to make do with a job in the local antique shop; a favor pulled by her father. It's a million miles away from Anna's imagined life of becoming a prima-ballerina, but unfortunately for now, it's the best option that she has got. 

There were a hundred and one things that I adored about this title. A hundred and one reasons why I would gladly re-read it again and again and again. Jenny Oliver's writing style was just out of this world and mingled so perfectly with Anna's character. The entire plot flowed exceptionally well, leaving no holes or matters unearthed. It was like a patchwork blanket; weaved together beautifully and in the end, you're left looking back at something magnificent, something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is exactly how I felt just after finishing the last few words. 

Anna's character and story within The Vintage Summer Wedding was marvelous. I loved every single little bit. Jenny begins this gorgeous title by bringing the reader right into the scene of action. She made Nettleton sound dark, uninviting and I was immediately drawn to the feeling of apprehension, that for some reason Anna really didn't want to be there. The very first sentence in the title made me imagine a scene like Armageddon; it was just so severe and serious sounding!

"They arrived in the dark in a heatwave." 

See? Right away, Jenny sets the tone of the story, making everything that Anna comes out with seem down-beaten and points towards her not being very happy about being where she is. Rather than setting the scene by providing all of Anna's history before the story begins, Jenny chooses to begin the story first and then provides the reader with tons of little bursts of Anna's history as the plot progresses. I loved this tactic so much and Jenny ensured that I kept reading and reading! It worked a treat and I found it almost impossible to put my Kindle down. At every moment, I was dying to know what was going to happen next and it made me feel exhilarated. It was exciting and interesting and Jenny included everything that a good story should have. 

When thinking about Jenny's main character, Anna, I have to say that I loved her. From the very beginning, Anna was full of negativity but, somehow, Jenny managed to hide away this tiny little spark of something else, something positive, beneath all of the moaning and whining. Thinking about it, I can kinda' see where Anna was coming from. Before heading to Nettleton, she was immersed in the city of London. She loved the thrill of it, the buzz, the business, the masses and masses of people stampeding the concrete day after day. And then suddenly, she was back where she started, after leaving Nettleton with a suitcase full of ambition and a warning to those behind her that she was "going to be a star!, she was back once more, with her tail between her legs. The contrast between Nettleton and London was so freaking huge, I could just imagine Anna felt like a fish out of water. She had messed everything up, she'd lost sight of her dream, and most of all, she wasn't a star. She was embarrassed at being back, horrified even, and when they pulled up outside of Primrose Cottage, I could just imagine the look of sheer disgust that would have spread right across Anna's face! I loved Anna's fierce determination but she was also a very stubborn and proud person; the pride being something that had been instilled in Anna, courtesy of her mother. I noticed how incredibly hard she found it to simply apologise to a person or to even give in. This did, truthfully, sometimes really aggravate me because trying to deal with a stubborn person can be so difficult at times, but there were certain reasons as to why Anna was like that and so her stubbornness and pride was completely and utterly made sense of. I found Anna hilarious, while other times I felt kinda' sorry for her. I rode a roller coaster of emotions with this character and it was fantastic. She was brilliant and smart, and I just couldn't shake this image from my head of a diamond covered in mud and dust. All she needed was a little dusting, a bit of a shake-up, and her shine would glow brighter than anything had ever shone before. I miss Anna now that it's over, silly as it sounds. She blossomed as the plot moved forward and it was just SO encouraging to read. 

Seb, Anna's fiancee, was ridiculously cute. Adorable, even. He reminded me of a big, cuddly teddy bear, who had such a good soul and would never hurt anyone or anything intentionally. I imagined him as a really good guy; one of those rare ones. But, the one thing I will mention about Seb is that he just couldn't man up and stand up to his own mother, even when he knew that she was going too far in her little tirades. There were so many times when I wanted to give him a little shove and whisper, "Grow a pair, Seb!" Besides the whole mother thing though, Seb was awesome. The couple do go through a difficult patch through the majority of the story, which really added to the realness of it all. After all, nothing and nobody is perfect, are they? I also got the impression that Seb worshiped the ground that Anna walked on. He was ready and willing to do anything for that woman, and even after they lost everything and had to return to Nettleton, Seb kept his cool, put together a plan and told her it was going to be okay. A man in control, eh? Nothing better than that! These two were lovely, and added such a warm, and sometimes comical, atmosphere to The Vintage Summer Wedding. 

Although it was a fun, summery and up-lifting read, there was just so much more hidden beneath the surface too! Not only was it all about a wedding, but it was about Anna's dreams and ambitions, her history with her mother and her outlook on life, and most definitely a few lessons that she needed to learn along the way. There was just so many things wrapped up in this beautiful story, I would be here writing my review all day long if I were to include them all. But I will say that it made me grin an incredible amount of times, and there were moments too, where I blinked the tears out of my eyes. It was beautifully written, with so many hidden messages and words of wisdom, including a myriad of characters that were fun and stupidly easy to love and smile at. 

Becca's Books is giving The Vintage Summer Wedding by Jenny Oliver FIVE gorgeous little cupcakes. It left me feeling all fluttery and happy and I would definitely recommend this to any chick-lit lovers out there, any lovers of  that adorable aspect of community spirit, of weddings put on hold, of childhood dreams and fierce mothers. This was just right up my street and I CANNOT WAIT to see what Jenny Oliver is going to come up with next. It'll definitely be getting added to my ever-growing to-read list, I can assure you! 




1 comment :

  1. Now I'm so glad I bought this book, I can't wait to read it! Carina's on the way to become my favorite publisher. I liked all of their books I've read so far.