Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Helen Warner's RSVP

Helen Warner’s “RSVP” is a delightful read. The cast of characters is small enough that you can really get to know everyone, but large enough to offer a variety of personalities and plots. The book uses 4 different female view points. There is Anna, who found “The One” in college, but after a huge misunderstanding, they break up and, 10 years later, she still hasn’t gotten over Toby. Claire is Anna’s best friend and roommate, and as such does her best to help Anna move on with her life and in the process ends up in a tangle herself. Ella is the girl who finds joy in taking other women’s boyfriends- until she ends up not so happily married to an older man who alienated his family for her and is left to find another way to fulfillment. Rachel is marrying Anna’s old flame- but can’t seem to shake the doubts she’s been having ever since learning about Anna and Toby- especially since Anna will be attending the wedding. And, it’s certainly a wedding none of them will ever forget.

The characters are believable- as is the plot. Warner makes it easy to empathize with each of her characters, even though they are decidedly different. The plot, while in some ways a bit too much to be believable is revealed piece by piece in the way that life happens and is thus much easier to swallow. It is important to note that the book is not entirely chronological and does use flashbacks to show the past, but every flashback is labeled with the date and is easy to follow.

Sometimes I find the plots to chick lit novels cliché, but with “RSVP”, I was constantly surprised by how original it all was. Certain aspects of it have certainly been done before, but the way each sub plot is woven together gives RSVP a few enjoyable twists. That being said, it was not the most riveting novel I’ve ever read, but it was enjoyable. It made me laugh, it made me think, it made me hope for the characters. 

I definitely loved the ending and how everything comes together. If you believe in “the one” (or even if you don’t), or if you enjoy brides on motorcycles, and weddings that take place when all the guests have left, this book may be for your “To Read” list.