This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
The last thing Ailsa wants to do is go to her cousin’s wedding. She has been in emotional turmoil since walking out on her Scottish-Italian artist husband Nick after the last in a long line of arguments, and she’s thinking about starting a new teaching job away from Scotland. She’s never been that close to her cousin Jess, and hasn’t bothered to reply to the wedding invitation. But then Jess sends her a text message, pleading with Ailsa to attend and that it’s a matter of life or death. Ailsa is reluctant, but then the thought of heading to a posh hotel in Italy on an all expenses-paid trip, and getting away from her worries for a week, is quite tempting. Even having to deal with her dysfunctional family is better than staying at home and moping.
When she arrives at the beautiful, romantic Hotel Santa Lucia and tracks down her cousin, she discovers that Jess is unhappy about the wedding preparations and her impending betrothal to Justin. She loves Justin and wants to marry him, but the plans for her big day have been taken out of her hands. Jess enlists Ailsa’s help so that she can spend some time with her husband to be, and as a result Ailsa finds herself in the middle of several sticky situations. Add to this a mischievous dog, the arrival of her sister Kitty and a couple of other unlikely appearances, and Ailsa’s relaxing holiday turns into a lesson in relationship management. Not only does she have to fix Jess’s wedding and deal with the fallout of her family being squeezed into the same hotel, but she is forced to look at her own, failed relationship.
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I loved Save the Date. It is funny and warm-hearted, and combines the key escapist read elements of a wedding and a holiday. Ailsa is a great central character; she is kind and generous, but ever so slightly prone to disastrous situations. I also loved Jess, who could have been a potential Bridezilla but turns out to have a very refreshing take on marriage and weddings. There is a swimming-pool’s worth of romance, some very funny – and dramatic – scenes, and enough intrigue and loose ends to keep me turning the pages towards the satisfactory conclusion. The Italian beachside setting is idyllic, and I could imagine strolling in through the open French windows from the grounds, a soft breeze blowing and a Martini in my hand. It’s a good thing I’ve got a holiday coming up, or I would have felt jealous of the characters!
Save the Date is a wonderful summer read. It is intelligent and funny, romantic and intriguing, with characters that jump off the page and whose actions provoke laughter, squeals and happy sighs. I also challenge anyone who reads it to resist the charms of little Arthur. Like Ailsa I’m not really a dog person, but he matches the hero in the adorability stakes.