Published November 9, 2021
A woman who wants nothing to do with love or friendship finds both in the unlikeliest ways in this hilarious and heartwarming debut by Kerry Rea.
Once upon a time, Willa Callister was a successful blogger with a good credit score, actual hobbies, and legs that she shaved more than once a month. But after finding her fiancé in bed with her best friend, she now spends her days performing at children's birthday parties in a ball gown that makes her look like a walking bottle of Pepto Bismol. Willa dreams of starting fresh, where no one knows who she used to be, but first she needs to save up enough money to make it happen.
Maisie Mitchell needs something too: another bridesmaid for her wedding. After a chance encounter at a coffee shop, Maisie offers to pay Willa to be in her bridal party. Willa wants nothing to do with weddings--or Maisie--but the money will give her the freedom to start the new life she so badly desires.
Willa's bridesmaid duties thrust her into Maisie's high-energy world and into the path of hotshot doctor Liam Rafferty. But as Willa and Maisie form a real friendship, and Liam's annoyingly irresistible smile makes her reconsider her mantra that all men are trash, Willa's exit strategy becomes way more complicated. And when a secret from Maisie's past threatens to derail the wedding, Willa must consider whether friendship--and romance--are worth sticking around for. - from Goodreads
Willa Callister, former blogger and lifestyle reporter, is trying to recover from a devastating breakup - all she needs is a little cash to help her get out of town and back on her feet. Cue Maisie Mitchell - she barrels into Willa's life at a coffee shop, begging her to pretend to be her friend so her fiancé doesn't find out her secret. The next thing she knows, Willa is agreeing to be a bridesmaid in Maisie's wedding, because the cash Maisie is offering is like a lifeline to her. However, the more time Willa spends with Maisie (and her family and friends, including handsome doctor, Liam), the more she finds this fake friendship might be turning into something real.
Why is it that reviews for books you love seem to be so hard to write? For me, when I love a book, it's mostly about the feeling I get when I'm reading it, which can be so hard to describe and also tells someone reading the review absolutely nothing about the book! So bear with me, this is going to be one of those reviews!
Within just the first few pages, this story enveloped me. It felt like a warm, comforting hug, which is weird, because it starts with our heroine Willa having a breakdown at a children's birthday party. I felt immediately connected to Willa - I wanted to know how she got to this awkward place and how she'd get out of it.
I loved Rea's writing - it was so readable. I know, what does that mean? I guess it means it was the perfect tone for the context of the story - nothing too high-brow, no purple prose. It felt like Willa was having a conversation with me, and I didn't want to stop listening.
The story, which was paced perfectly, and the characters felt so refreshingly real. This felt like a story that could happen in real life, except for maybe one situation that felt a little too convenient, and the characters were so well-drawn, especially Willa and Maisie. Maisie is so kind and charming, it made me want to know more about why this woman didn't have any close friends and needed to hire a bridesmaid. And Willa - she was recovering from a betrayal of epic proportions, so it was easy to understand why she was so guarded. As the story inches closer to the wedding, I just got the warm and fuzzies seeing Willa and Maisie grow closer and actually form a real friendship. Because even though there's hints of romance between Willa and Liam, this is much more a story about friendship and personal growth, and I was here for all of it.