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{short description of image}Once Upon a Wedding
Author: Kathleen Eagle
Published: 2002
Publisher: W. Morrow Publisher
Address: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 0066214726
Price: $24.95
Page Count: 295
Reviwer: Linda Sappenfield


Many a story has begun with The Big Moment when daughter arrives home to announce her engagement. Hilarity is supposed to ensue as one family member presupposes an understated family ceremony and another envisions a fairy-tale extravaganza. Once Upon a Wedding does rehearse this premise--that the walk down the aisle is paved with good intentions but also strewn with once-in-a-lifetime consumer opportunities. Fortunately, Kathleen Eagle’s version also includes a few contemporary issues and a sensitive treatment of the behind-the-scenes life crises that weddings inspire.

Camille Delonga, mother of the bride and long-time advocate of the “small tasteful ceremony” approach to weddings, only now realizes that daughter Jordan fancies a more elaborate to-do. Grandmother Rosemary heartily seconds the larger-scale plan, since, owing to Camille’s elopement, she missed the opportunity to apply her considerable tailoring skills to the bridal gown. And Rosemary, currently under treatment for a life-threatening illness, is not alone in harboring a renewal of hope. Jordan’s engagement draws father Creed Burke back into the family picture, underscoring Camille’ s sense that their several-years-old divorce has provided neither relief nor closure. For his part, Creed expresses a depth of paternal concern for Jordan’s future happiness that reveals his own need for atonement.

Wedding aficionados (and veterans) will appreciate Eagle’s use of visual detail-- descriptive but not exhaustive—and her subtext, which suggests that the loveliest effects are achieved by virtue of loving motives. Although dialogue is at times a bit too stagey for verisimilitude, Eagle generally plots characters’ interactions to great effect. Once Upon A Wedding’s gentle mix of humor and drama will appeal to romance readers and others seeking an intelligent rendering of a well-loved story device. Camille’s wry observation that “…once you get started, a wedding seems to take on a life of its own” clearly refers to more than gowns and reception costs. Readers may react with smiles or horror as Camille discovers hidden depths of decorating fervor, but they will cheer the resourceful collaboration of grandmother, mother, and daughter.
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Last Updated 10/10/02