by Curtis Edmonds
Please see below for info on the giveaway!
This book, the author’s first, is about Will Morse, a virtual recluse after the death of two of his daughters and the breakdown of his marriage. He is stuck in the grieving process, seemingly with no prospect of recovery. Without warning, he is visited by his surviving daughter, who announces she is getting married and wants him to give her away. As the wedding comes closer, Will is torn between his ‘safe’ retreat in his remote Atlanta cabin, or the unknown and probably painful journey to see his daughter get married. Along the way, he meets Dot, a woman with more to her than meets the eye. Will he find redemption, or is he destined to hide for the rest of his life?
When I picked this book up, I was expecting a formulaic romance novel, having not read anything about it beforehand except for a brief description. I was gladly mistaken; it is a unique story. It is described somewhere as a ‘modern Southern Gothic’ novel. It is modern, and wonderfully descriptive of the South, but is certainly not a Gothic novel. That is not to say that I don’t recommend it: I wholeheartedly do.
Rain on Your Wedding Day is a well-written and presented book. The story is constructed well and flowed. I was engaged from the start and did not want to put it down.
For me, the sign of a good book is if the reader stops ‘reading the words on the page’, and just gets drawn into the story, like an invisible observer. This definitely happened to me with this book. The writer is very descriptive when it comes to setting the scene, but I did find it harder to picture what the central characters looked like.
The story is written in the first person, from the point of view of Will Morse. This is interspersed with occasional conversations that he has in his head with his two daughters who have died. These were particularly effective and emotive dialogues. One daughter, Trixie, veers between resentfulness, rage and love in her dialogue with Will, giving the reader an idea of just how hard it must have been to live with her when she was alive.
This book shows an incredible insight into living with mental illness, from the depression and grief Will is plagued with, to managing the severe bipolar episodes that Trixie suffered from when alive. I particularly liked the truthfulness about this book – that people don’t always magically get better; it can be a long, slow painful road with lots of relapses. For some, recovery may not even be possible. This was brave.
For me, the novel also opened a thought-provoking debate about self-harm. Just how should a parent handle it? Cosset and suffocate their child, or allow them freedom at the risk of tragic consequences? I thought the writer had a refreshing perspective on this issue.
As time goes on, the reader discovers more about the deaths of Will’s daughters. The truth about Trixie’s in particular is heart wrenching, when it is revealed what part Will played in this.
It was impossible not to empathise with the character of Will Morse. At the outset he is locked in a painful world of his own making, but towards the end there is the message of hope – hope, belief, and love, which is the beautiful central theme of this book. I did find it difficult to believe how easily Will forgives someone who has wronged him in the course of the story, considering what a breach of his privacy there was, and the deception that was committed, but maybe this showed just how needy Will Morse is? He is obviously a deep character, and I felt this could have been explored more, along with the physical difficulties he has – more of a story behind this would have been nice. The feeling of possible redemption for Will at the end of the novel gives it a happy ending, though not of the usual kind.
I liked the way the writer wove a Coca Cola theme into the narrative, with references to the drink throughout the book. This was a nice quirk. The main characters seemed to eat an awful lot of fast food though!
The acknowledgements really helped paint a picture for me of what the author is like, and how very important his family is to him. This is very much reflected in Rain on Your Wedding Day.
I would love to read a sequel to this book, picking up on Will and his daughter further down the line. From looking at his website, it seems like Curtis Edmonds is writing another book, which I would definitely read.
The author has so kindly offered a paperback copy of this book for a giveaway! If you would like to get your name in the drawing, simply comment below or at this review's associated Facebook thread.
Curtis Edmonds is an indieBRAG Medallion winner for RAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY and apart from being a writer, he is an attorney living in central New Jersey. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Untoward Magazine, Liberty Island, The Big Jewel, Yankee Pot Roast, and National Review Online. His book reviews appear on the Bookreporter website.