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A Wedding in Decemberby Anita Shreve
Synopses & Reviews
The author of the New York Times bestseller Light on Snow returns with a powerful new novel about old friends, a wedding, and a gathering that will change their lives.
At an inn in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, seven former schoolmates gather for a wedding. Nora, the owner of the inn, has recently had to reinvent her life following the death of her husband. Avery, who still hears echoes from a horrific event at Kidd Academy twenty-six years ago, has made a life for himself in Toronto with his wife and two sons. Agnes, now a history teacher at Kidd, is a still-single woman who longs to tell a secret she cannot reveal to the others, a secret that would stun them all. Bridget, the mother of a 15-year-old boy, has agreed to marry Bill, an old high school lover whom she has recently re-met, despite uncertainties about her health and future.
Indeed, it is Bill who passionately wants this wedding and who has brought everyone together for an astonishing weekend of revelation and recrimination, forgiveness and redemption. This is Anita Shreve's most ambitious and moving novel to date, probing into human motivation with the grace and skill that have made her "one of the finest novelists of her time" (Boston Herald).
"A Big Chill-like group reunites for a 40-something wedding in this melancholy story of missed opportunities, lingering regrets and imagined alternatives by Shreve (The Last Time They Met). Bill and Bridget were sweethearts at Maine's Kidd Academy who rediscovered one another at their 25th reunion. Bridget was already divorced; Bill left his family; the two have now gathered their Kidd coterie to witness their hasty wedding — Bridget has breast cancer — at widow Nora's western Massachusetts inn. The death of charismatic schoolmate Stephen at a drunken high school party hovers over the event. Stephen's then-roommate, Harrison, now a married literary publisher, remains particularly tormented by it, especially since he had (and still has) romantic feelings for Nora, who was Stephen's then-girlfriend. Abrasive Wall Street businessman Jerry, now-out-of-the-closet pianist Rob, single Agnes (who teaches at Kidd and has a secret of her own) and various children round things out. Tensions build as the group gets snowed in, and someone gets drunk enough to say what everyone's been thinking. Though Shreve's plot, characters and dialogue are predictable (as are her inevitable 9/11 rehashes), she sure-handedly steers everyone through their inward dramas, and the actions they take (and don't) are Hollywood satisfying." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A]another crowd-pleaser....Shreve offers some lovely moments of perception — about the nature of marriage, the ways we survive tragedy, and the indomitable sturdiness of the human spirit." Providence Journal
"Shreve's poignant story of lost love and hidden truths is a compelling read. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"[A]n excellent novel....[Shreve] once again provides engrossing storytelling that conjures laughter and astonishment....A Wedding in December is further proof that Shreve deserves her sterling reputation." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"In this novel, as in her others, Shreve maintains a thoughtful balance between reflective storytelling and accessible entertainment." BookReporter.com
"Shreve covers old ground...and not in a good way....Her writing is fluid, and the plot points interlock seamlessly, but readers may well feel that they have stayed too long at the party by the time this Wedding is over." USA Today
"Unsatisfactory though it may be, Shreve doesn't tie up all the ends. She hints as to the way things might go, but as she illustrates so well, man makes plans and God laughs." Boston Globe
"I really liked this book. It's beautifully and imaginatively written. But I also have to admit that [it] works at one level as exceedingly high-class domestic porn — a paean to how we all wish we could live if we had the time, money, discipline and dedication." The Washington Post
"Happily, Shreve's knack for engrossing storytelling mostly makes up for the bourgeois malaise." Chelsea Cain, The New York Times Book Review
"This novel has many of Shreve's hallmarks: simple and elegant prose; characters who are entirely convincing in their portrayals of human fallibility; and a plot buildup with a twist toward the end that packs a wallop." School Library Journal
"The skillful, prolific Shreve...seamlessly moves her story between the horrific events of Halifax Harbor and the nearly as horrific reunion, underscoring the fleeting nature of happiness and the painful trade-offs it often requires." Booklist
"[A]ll the masterful detail leads up to a predictable climax....An impressive display of literary talent from Shreve that deserves to be employed in a riskier undertaking. Readers, however, will not be disappointed." Kirkus Reviews
In Shreve's national bestseller, seven former schoolmates gather at an inn in the Berkshires to celebrate a wedding and to recall a long-ago night that marked each of their lives.
Gathering to attend a wedding in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, seven former classmates find the reunion marked by the death of a spouse, a traumatic past event, a shocking secret, and health issues. By the author of Light on Snow. Reprint. 500,000 first printing.
About the Author
Anita Shreve is the author of many acclaimed novels, including The Last Time They Met, The Pilot's Wife, Sea Glass, All He Ever Wanted, and Light on Snow. She lives in Massachusetts.
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