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5 Stars / Contemporary / Review / Romantic Comedy

The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall

Sophie Breeze is a brilliant bridesmaid. So brilliant, in fact, that she’s made it her full-time job.

As a professional bridesmaid, Sophie is hired by London brides to be their right-hand woman, posing as a friend but working behind the scenes to help plan the perfect wedding and ensure their big day goes off without a hitch. When she’s hired by Lady Victoria Swann––a former model and “It Girl” of 1970’s London; now the Marchioness of Meade––for the society wedding of the year, it should be a chance for Sophie to prove just how talented she is.

Of course, it’s not ideal that the bride, Lady Victoria’s daughter, Cordelia, is an absolute diva and determined to make Sophie’s life a nightmare. It’s also a bit inconvenient that Sophie finds herself drawn to Cordelia’s posh older brother, who is absolutely off limits. But when a rival society wedding is announced for the very same day, things start to get…well, complicated.

Can Sophie pull off the biggest challenge of her career––execute a high-profile gala for four hundred and fifty guests in record time, win over a reluctant bride, and catch the eye of handsome Lord Swann––all while keeping her true identity a secret, and her dignity intact?

Title:The Secret Bridesmaid
Author:Katy Birchall
Series:n/a
Pages:359
Category / Genre(s):Contemporary
Romantic Comedy
Trope(s):Disguise Romance
Point of View:1st person, present tense, single viewpoint (heroine)
Location:London, UK
HEA:✔️
Release Date:4th May, 2021
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Funny and Delightful

This is the first time I’ve encountered and read Katy Birchall, and also the first adult fiction that she’s published – she has, until now, exclusively written young adult fiction.

Sophie is a professional bridesmaid and while that’s a big part of her personality and her life, I found her profession both interesting and surprisingly believable. I really hope there are such people in real life. But more than that, Sophie was a hugely likeable and relatable character. She tries hard, sometimes gets in sticky situations but is always upbeat and positive. I especially liked the fact that Sophie is a bit of a goody two shoes – which is a source of frustration for her. She was a rule follower but – maybe unbeknownst to her – she was also just sassy and feisty enough for me to love her.

Cordelia is such a big part of the book that I have to mention her in this review. And boy was she a pain in the derrière. However as Sophie gets to know her, so do we – and even when she was being a pain and pushing Sophie’s buttons, I had a major soft spot for her. She was pretty funny. The banter and teasing between Sophie and Cordelia became a huge source of joy for me.

I’ll admit that Tom was a bit of a mystery to me, even at the end. He was a viscount. He was hot to trot with arms that wound’t quit. He was a businessman but he also seemed to slack off work on occasion. He was confident and always had a hot girl on his arm, but equally he blushed every now and then and walked around with bed head. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him, I just didn’t get to know him as the book is written entirely from Sophie’s perspective.

“…this book was an absolute delight. I loved the characters, loved the story, laughed a lot and ended with a happy and satisfied feeling.”

There are plenty of ways in which Ms Birchall could have taken us down a tried and tested path – the overbearing mother, the continual pining for her ex etc etc. I wouldn’t have minded going down these paths but I was pleasantly pleased that we didn’t get the expected. Sophie’s mum was pretty normal – a tad pushy, a tad quirky but still a loving and kind mother who had a sweet relationship with Sophie. And while whatshisface was an issue for a hot second, luckily he didn’t play much part in the latter stages of the book – either as a character, or in Sophie’s thoughts.

I loved the writing style of the book and it just spoke to me. So easily devoured, I forgot I was reading for the most part. And the amount of times I snort laughed was immense. There were also some smiles and chuckles – and a down right belly laugh when Sophie found herself running through London in a fluffy costume! So funny.

The book is billed as a romcom and while it is romantic and definitely funny, the romance element really doesn’t take the main focus of the story. It all wraps up nicely and I was happy with that part of the storyline, but it definitely wasn’t the be all and end all of the book for me. That’s definitely not a complaint, however, as this book was an absolute delight. I loved the characters, loved the story, laughed a lot and ended with a happy and satisfied feeling. I really hope that this gets made into a movie as I will be all over that shit in a hot minute.

This book was a really good time and one I would happily recommend. I’ll also be keeping my eye out for Katy Birchall’s next novel as I’m excited to read more from her. 5 stars.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review.*

Katy is the author of several young adult novels including The It Girl series, the Hotel Royale series and Morgan Charmley: Teen Witch. She is the co-author of the middle grade Lightning Girl series and Star Switch with Alesha Dixon, and the Find the Girl teen series with YouTube stars Lucy and Lydia Connell. Katy was proud to be the author of a retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma for the Awesomely Austen series, a collection of Austen’s novels retold for younger readers. She has also written a non-fiction book, How to be a Princess: Real-Life Fairy Tales for Modern Heroines.

Katy lives in London with her partner, Ben, and her rescue dog, Bono.

The Secret Bridesmaid is her adult fiction debut.

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