A Heartfelt Debut: Read our Review of The Little French Bridal Shop by Jennifer Dupee

A Heartfelt Debut: Read our Review of The Little French Bridal Shop by Jennifer Dupee

Is a lie of omission still a lie? Larisa Pearl didn’t think so and it got her into a heap of trouble.

When Larisa Pearl returns to her small seaside hometown in Massachusetts to manage her beloved great aunt’s estate, she’s a bit of an emotional mess. She’s just lost her job and her boyfriend and she’s struggling to cope with her mother’s failing health. When she passes by the window of the Little French Bridal Shop, a beautiful ivory satin wedding gown catches her eye…

Now, to the delight of everyone in town, Larisa is planning her wedding. She has her dress, made floral arrangements, and set the date. The only thing missing is the groom. How did this happen? All she did was try on a dress and let her fantasy take flight. But word about her upcoming nuptials has reached the ears of Jack Merrill. As teenagers, they spent time together on her great aunt’s estate, building a friendship that could have become something more had they chosen different paths.

Lost in a web of her own lies, Larisa must first face some difficult truths, including her mother’s fragile future, before she can embrace her family, straighten out her life, and open her heart to finding love.

This was an unexpected read. With Sydney in lockdown, I needed something light to curl up with. As it turned out, The Little French Bridal Shop wasn’t the light read I expected, but rather a beautifully told, heartfelt, and often heartbreaking story about family, life and relationships.

Set in a small seaside hamlet in Massachusetts, the town plays a big role in this book. Kent Crossing, it’s main street, its stores and its residents are beautifully and vividly portrayed. One of the stores is the Little French Bridal Shop, which isn’t French at all, but delightfully small-town American. Larisa has a lot of history in Kent Crossing, and in particular in her great Aunt’s house, a delightfully imagined colonial home with a grand winding staircase, stately library and shabby interior. Despite her affection for the place, after her aunt dies, Larissa plans to sell the house and return to her life elsewhere. But then she stops by the bridal shop … and life takes her in a different direction.

One of the strengths of this novel is that Larisa is forty. She is not a young woman looking for love. She’s older, wiser, and a little broken by life. Much of her current pain stems from her mother’s struggle with dementia, and any middle-aged woman dealing with aging parents can relate. This is the guts of this story, and it’s told with great sensitivity.

This is Jennifer Dupee’s debut, and a solid one at that. The Little French Bridal Shop is full of heart and filled with messy, intriguing characters. It wasn’t the light read I expected … it was so much better than that.

Reviews

Charming and Full of Heart: Take a Sneak Peek at Jennifer Dupee’s The Little French Bridal Shop

Review | Extract

19 July 2021

Charming and Full of Heart: Take a Sneak Peek at Jennifer Dupee’s The Little French Bridal Shop

    Publisher details

    The Little French Bridal Shop
    Author
    Jennifer Dupee
    Publisher
    Allen & Unwin
    Genre
    Fiction
    Released
    02 July, 2021

    Synopsis

    When Larisa Pearl returns to her small seaside home town to manage her beloved great aunt's estate, she's an emotional mess. Larisa has just lost her job and her boyfriend and she's struggling to cope with her mother's failing health. But as she walks past the bridal shop window, a beautiful ivory satin wedding gown catches her eye. Now, to the delight of everyone in town, Larisa is planning her wedding. She's bought the dress, made floral arrangements and set the date. The only thing she doesn't have is the groom. How did this happen? All she did was try on a dress and let her fantasy take flight. Lost in a web of her own lies, Larisa must first face some difficult truths, including her mother's fragile future, before she can embrace her family, straighten out her life and open her heart to finding love.
    Jennifer Dupee
    About the author

    Jennifer Dupee

    Jennifer Dupee grew up on the North Shore of Boston and is a graduate of Brown University, where she received her honors in Creative Writing. She is an active member of the Grub Street writing community in Boston and has published in The Feminist Press. She was a semi-finalist for the 2016 James Jones First Novel Competition and a semi-finalist for the 2016 Faulkner-Wisdom competition. Jennifer lives just outside of Boston with her family. She is currently at work on her next novel.

    Books by Jennifer Dupee

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