RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

A Wedding in December, by Anita Shreve and Linda Emonds (Narrator)

A Wedding in December
Add an intimate wedding celebration at a bed and breakfast in the Berkshires between reunited high school sweethearts to a reunion of their best friends from prep school, and you have a feel-good book about happy endings, right? Wrong. Just as in everyday life, things are not as they seem, and as the weekend progresses the former best friends discover truths about themselves and each other that they've hidden or dodged since the tragic death of Steven, the golden boy of their youthful alliance.

As the friends disclose the circumstances of their lives, either through conversation with others or through narrative passages, their stories become the fragments that comprise the history of the group. Set just a few months after 9/11, the 40-somethings discuss their reactions to the World Trade Center catastrophe while one of the friends, Agnes, continues to write pages of her short story about the tragedy of an explosion in Halifax that killed 2,000 ordinary citizens and blinded many others.

As in her earlier books, Anita Shreve has created a cast of characters who speak the words we hear in our heads as we ponder life's obstacles. She develops characters who are likable but flawed, and she makes them so familiar to us that we almost expect to see them sitting across from us at the next family gathering. Linda Emond's narration gives the listener the sensation of hearing a story told by a concerned, sympathetic observer.

Just as she's crafted books based on a house, as in The Pilot's Wife, Sea Glass, and Fortune's Rocks, Anita Shreve has written another wonderful book with characters who deserve to be revisited in a sequel or prequel. Perhaps the next time roadtrippers check into a bed and breakfast, they will take a closer look at their fellow guests and imagine the histories they bring to their stay and the memories they will take away.

Ruth Mormon

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