Book Review #79 – Bride Squad Runaway

True friends are the most important thing of all – Caroline Grace-Cassidy & Lisa C. Carey.

This book was kindly gifted by Black & White Publishing to take part in their blog tour – all views are my own.

Take a trip to bonny Ireland with this book, where the narrative is extravagant and the loveable characters clash and fumble their way back to one another after a sharp hiccup in protagonist, Ava’s, love life.

Ava O’Hara is about to get married to the person she’s loved for the past decade. She has picked the dress – not the one she wanted; with an important man in the dressing room – not the one she is about to marry. It is Stefan, her work colleague who calls her beautiful in the changing room, whilst her fiancé, Simon, doesn’t so much as look at her. He’s more interested in her cheese toastie skills after a day of band practice for a band that hit their peak ten years ago.

Still, it is what Ava wants… but only because she is thinking of having a home, children and a family of her own. She has given up her passions to provide for a family that no longer exists and bought a house that has the spell of promise and what ifs. So when shit hits the fan, on her wedding day no less, she needs her long lost girlfriends and an escape to the countryside… an escape from her life.

Bride Squad Runaway is a brief commentary on the world we live in today – about how the roles of women have changed, how the lifestyles that we lead are not the “norm” of having a family and being at home all day long, how the stay-at-home mothers don’t have it as easy as the women in the world of work think they do, and vice-versa. Lauren and Cate – Ava’s best friends – are the epitome of the two “types” of women: Lauren is a fantastic magazine editor, who lives the life many of us dream about, whilst Cate is a mother of three young children, who’s world revolves around play dates, bottles, and nappies. Again, many women dream about having this life, especially those who cannot conceive a child of their own. There is some touching dialogue between the two, especially as they don’t particularly get on at the beginning of the story. They come to understand one another and love each other once again as old best friends should.

It is also about the impact of social media on people’s lives – how one person who you don’t even know can impact your entire life in one swift move; how social media can be fantasy, a highlight reel, and sometimes very, very fake. But, that is what it is – a brief commentary. I feel like the “influencer” debate was handled way too late in the story, and that it was a dig at influencers themselves… Yes, there are some people out there who buy bots, tell lies, create imaginary scenarios and make out that their life is one huge extravagance of luxury. However, that is only a small part of the influencer industry. People who are influencers don’t tend to enjoy the term and show a mix of real life and inspiration. They influence because they inspire, and Bride Squad Runaway didn’t reflect any of that in the story.

I would prefer to see this story on stage, as a comedy with a hint of sorrow. The characters themselves all have extraordinary personalities, are strong women, with their own beliefs that they see through. As a theatre production, I feel like this would excel in a hilarious and fun way, making women everywhere leave their seats feeling empowered and more conscious of the world around them – maybe even provoke them into picking up the phone and calling an old friend to see how they really are. These are the traits that transpire through the book too… a feeling of love and friendship, of hard times and new chapters, but with a lot of dialogue that carried the story, rather than the story itself.

Who would you pick as your runaway bride squad?

Love, Faye xo

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