Today is my first stop on the CLP Blog Tour for When Girlfriends Chase Dreams by Savannah Page. I was so excited to take part in this tour because I loved the previous When Girlfriends... books that I had read (see my other reviews here and here) and looked forward to reading Claire's story. I ended up not loving this one quite as much as the others but it was still a really fun read.
Here's the synopsis:
Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She's got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She's been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect?I've probably said it before but I'll say it again...wedding stories make for great chick lit novels. There's so much going on and so many elements to a wedding, and planning for one, that can really make for an entertaining story. I was thrilled that Claire was finally getting married (she had been nagging her boyfriend for awhile) and wondered what sorts of things could happen in the planning process. Little did I realize that Claire was going to have one hell of a time trying to plan her wedding. I felt so sorry for the poor girl! I swear, everything that could have went wrong, did. Disagreements with her parents (who are paying for the wedding...lucky girl), DIY disasters (oh the hilarious imagery in a scene with her dog), constant fighting with the groom, dress issues, a car that's constantly having problems (not really a wedding issue but it was a problem that came up way too often), and a wedding planner who's more interested in looking flashy than actually doing any work. And therein lies my issue with the book. There were just too many things going wrong. I understand a few hiccups here and there but I think there were just too many issues Claire had to face that really took away from the story.
The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can't go wrong. Whether it's wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire's friends are there in a pinch.
But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she's starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricey dream wedding planner isn't turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that's supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart?
This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It's a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn't). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams.
Claire herself was another little nuisance for me. I couldn't understand why she was putting so much stress on herself about certain things, especially when it came to all the crafts she just had to do for the wedding. Full disclosure: I've never planned a wedding so I don't know exactly what it's like but after reading this book I'm considering eloping when it's eventually my turn (and if my boyfriend is reading this: keep breathing and focus on the word eventually!). There were also times when she seemed to be completely clueless to the needs of Conner, her fiance, and nags at him instead of trying to find ways for him to be involved. She also constantly bothered Sophie, one of her girlfriends and also her maid of honour, about Chad, Conner's best man and friend to all the girls. The two had hooked up years ago and Claire just couldn't stop pestering Sophie about whether or not they were getting back together. I mean, I do think they eventually will once the series is concluded but to always bring it up to one of your best friends who clearly doesn't want to talk about it? Irritating. Claire really is a sweetheart though and I was rooting for her even when she was annoying me - a lot like how I feel about Sophie Kinsella's characters.
One of my favourite parts of this book actually didn't have much to do with Claire. I was so happy to read that Sophie was finally opening her own cafe. The scenes that took place in The Cup in the Cake helped me feel like I was really there. What also helped was the fact that all the design elements were detailed as the decisions were being made - paint colour, china patterns, seating, and so on. Now I really want to find a little cafe like this in my city!
I know it may seem like I wasn't overly thrilled with When Girlfriends Chase Dreams but I did like reading Claire's story and getting to know all the girls a little bit more. I'm excited that Savannah Page will be writing Emily's story next because her story could take us places other than Seattle. So much potential! If you're looking for a good and fun series about a group of fabulous girlfriends, make sure you check out book one (unlike me who unknowingly read book two first), When Girlfriends Break Hearts!
Check back on Thursday for a guest post from Savannah, and Friday for the Q&A I did with her.
Happy reading :)