The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall

I was invited to take part in this blog tour by the publisher. My thanks to Jenny Platt for the invitation. This review forms my honest opinion.

Blurb

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year…Sophie Breeze is a brilliant bridesmaid. So brilliant, in fact, that she’s made it her full-time job. As a professional bridesmaid, Sophie is secretly hired by brides to be their right-hand woman, ensuring their big day goes off without a hitch. From wrangling rowdy hen dos to navigating last minute portaloo cancellations, there’s no problem she’ can’t solve. So when she’s employed by an actual Marchioness to help plan the society wedding of the year, it should be a chance for Sophie to prove just how talented she is. Of course, it’s not ideal that the bride, Cordelia, is rude, difficult and determined to make Sophie’s life a nightmare. It’s also a bit inconvenient when Sophie finds herself drawn to Cordelia’s posh older brother, who is absolutely off limits. And when a rival society wedding is announced, things get even more complicated…Can Sophie pull off the biggest challenge of her career, follow her heart and maintain her reputation – all while keeping her true identity hidden?

Review

The Secret Bridesmaid has floated into my life like a sweet smelling waft of fresh air. I absolutely adored it, and fell completely in love with Sophie Breeze.

Told from Sophie’s perspective, the novel follows her successful career as a professional bridesmaid. I don’t think this is a real thing. Or at least if it is I’ve never heard of it, and if it is a thing, please get in contact because I have so many questions! We see her in action at a few weddings, and we also get to read the quite frankly hilarious emails and WhatsApp messages as she navigates helping out her brides. These had me chuckling along, especially early on, the thread of messages regarding the organisation of a hen do, being all too familiar, resulting in a late night laugh/snort, much to the annoyance of my previously sleeping husband!

Despite being focused on weddings, this is something akin to a love letter to female friendship, and whilst there is romance, it is not the core focus of the novel. There is something very lovely in how the author really pays tribute to the bridesmaid role, and how this is turn speaks a lot about the importance of a female support system.

The Secret Bridesmaid follows Sophie as she takes on her biggest challenge to date, a high society wedding and a bride resistant to her help, all at a time when she is facing personal insecurity. There was so much in Sophie I personally identified with, and I think that is why I loved this book so much. Her personality comes across so well throughout that I couldn’t help but like her.

The real draw of this book is the relationship between Sophie and Cordelia. The resistance of the latter invokes some real laugh out loud moments as events unfold, giving way at last to some wonderfully touching scenes.

Affectionately written with great humour, The Secret Bridesmaid is simply gorgeous. Light, bright and filled with joy, I’ll be keeping an eye out for future releases from Katy Birchall – although this is her first adult novel, I truly hope it won’t be her last.

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