Sunday, September 06, 2009

Book Review: Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah

Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah is the final book in Melody Carlson's 86 Bloomberg Place series. It features four young women who are housemates.
  • Megan is dating Marcus. Evidently he is a relatively new Christian. In his previous career in finance, he made lots of money; now he is planning to be a missionary. He heads off to Zambia without her and she isn't sure where they stand. She has been working at an interior design firm, but quits to teach middle school art.
  • Kendall is the keeper of the house in which they are living. It belonged to her grandmother, who is now in a nursing home. Evidently in an earlier book she put an ad in the paper and ended up with the others as housemates. She is pregnant with Matthew's baby but is engaged to marry Killili, who is from Hawaii, which I guess is where they met. Her parents are loving, but overbearing.
  • Anna is dating Edmund, with whom she works. However, she has always played it cool with him, not letting him get too close emotionally. Now, however, there is a flirtatious young intern at work who sets her cap for Edmund. Who will get the guy? Anna's brother Gil is engaged to Lelani, another housemate. They belong to a large Hispanic family and have a very bossy mom.
  • Lelani is from Hawaii. She has a one year old daughter, whose father is a married doctor. She is in college, wants to go to medical school and is engaged to Gil, Anna's brother. There is bad blood between her and her mother.
We follow these four young women through the months before Lelani and Kendall's weddings, which happen on the same day. The girls are in each other's weddings. Besides these two weddings, that same weekend Megan attends another wedding and Anna attends a bar mitzvah. Each chapter is titled with one of the girl's names and it tells about her part in the events.

This book is definitely part of a series. I haven't read any of the other books in it, and as such I could definitely see that there were things I was missing; however I was still able to enjoy this book. Like The Potluck Club books, Debbie Macomber's yarn shop books or her Cedar Cove books, it is a "group of women" slightly soap-operaish book where the characters and their relationships to each other were more important than the plotline--and yes, everyone lives happily ever after here.

The characters in this book pray together, and Marcus and Kendall discuss how he feels called to the mission field and how he wants to follow God's will in his life. As a Catholic, the book had a couple of minor irritants to me. First of all it mentioned that Gil was marrying outside his culture and faith. Secondly, at one point Anna gets a horrible attack of conscience and heads "to a place she seldom visited. Well, besides Christmas and Easter. She drove to church, parked her car and went inside the sanctuary, where she sat for a while. Finally, she went to confession...." Why is it that the Catholic girl is the one who doesn't take her religion seriously (and no, missing mass is not what sent her to confession). While religion is not the main focus of the book, there may be enough of it to turn off someone who doesn't like Christian fiction.

I enjoyed this basically fluffy piece of Christian chick-lit. First Wildcard will tour it September 28. Check back then to read the first chapter and learn about the author.


  1. Anonymous11:00 AM

    Im not sure it made sense to review the last book in a series without reading the ones preceding it. It weakens the review.

    Why is marrying outside of one's culture bothersome? Faith I get- but culture?

  2. Thanks for stopping by. There are people who won't review series books unless they've read the ones that came before. I'm not one of them. This is not the last part of a long book; it is marketed by itself and while I'm sure the author hopes you will buy all of her books, IMO a book sold by itself should stand by itself, and if it doesn't, I will point that out--that way you as a reader can decide whether to read the whole series, skip it altogether, or just read this book.

    Marrying outside one's culture isn't necessarily bothersome to me; but it was to the mother in this book.


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