Review: Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross


Title: Five Wakes and a Wedding

Author: Karen Ross

Published: July 22nd 2019, Avon UK

Status: Read July 2019 courtesy Avon/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

Nina Sherwood believes everyone deserves a happy ending, but the retailers of Primrose Hill’s high street, seem determined to deny her her’s. Within weeks of Nina’s funeral parlour, ‘Happy Endings’ opening, she is denied membership of the Primrose Hill Traders Association, harassed by a council inspector, and presented with a £22,000 bill for roof repair from her crabby new neighbour, and when Nina finally receives a booking for a funeral, it turns out to be a cruel hoax. Will her business die a slow death, or will Nina get her happy ending after all?

The topic of death could be considered the antithesis of the romance genre but Ross makes it work, and it’s a point of difference that I found appealing. What I really enjoyed about this story was Nina’s championing of individualised, modern funerals, which Ross portrays in a respectful and matter of fact manner. I have to admit I don’t like to think about my death, however inevitable, but I was quite intrigued by the funeral ideas explored in this novel, especially those showcased at the ‘Death Expo’. I also liked that Ross framed organ donation in such a positive way, I happen to agree that it should be an opt out process.

Nina is an engaging protagonist, but I concur, she has terrible taste in men. Unfortunately I wasn’t really a fan of the romance between Nina and Barclay, whom I thought was too much of a cliche as a handsome, wealthy, lawyer with a reputation as a thrillseeker and playboy. I didn’t find him much more appealing than Nina’s very awful ex-husband, especially at first, and I think he only redeemed himself by the skin of his teeth. Nina and Endo, an artist and her housemate, seemed a more likely match.

I did like Nina’s friendship with her other housemate, Gloria (who also has awful taste in men), and her brief friendship with celebrity, Kelli. I also thought several of the other characters were interesting, even the unpleasant ones, and I was amused by the identity of wedding party.

Five Wakes and a Wedding is an easy, lighthearted romance novel, despite the spectre of death.


Available from Avon UK

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