Always the Bridesmaid

( 5 )


It's bad enough when your love life is going nowhere fast -- it's worse when everyone else's is soaring!

That's the personal tragedy that appears to have befallen Amy O'Sullivan, asshe careens toward the "Big Three-O" with what she laughingly refers to as a "career" at a dead end. Amy's little sister has come home with her "Golden Delicious" Australian fiancé in tow. Amy's girlfriend Beth is also planning on tying the knot with her own Mr. Right in the near future. And another ...

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It's bad enough when your love life is going nowhere fast -- it's worse when everyone else's is soaring!

That's the personal tragedy that appears to have befallen Amy O'Sullivan, asshe careens toward the "Big Three-O" with what she laughingly refers to as a "career" at a dead end. Amy's little sister has come home with her "Golden Delicious" Australian fiancé in tow. Amy's girlfriend Beth is also planning on tying the knot with her own Mr. Right in the near future. And another "friend" has just slept with the man Amy figured she herself might end up marrying! So what's a perennial bridesmaid to do . . . after she's spent more than enough time and energy lying in bed, wallowing in self-pity?Why, move on, of course! She's needed (sort of) at the bookstore where, as"Story Princess," she's expected to enliven young lives, even as her own sinks deeper in the mire.

Then again, perhaps there are actual Prince Charmings out there in the real world. And a pitiful princess never knows what -- or who -- is going to come walking in the door holding the hand of an eager little girl . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
About to turn 30 and still single? Here are all your favorite chick-lit stereotypes once again, complete with heaps of exclamation points! Brace yourself for lots of trite dialogue and complaining about clothes! Laugh at standardized mishaps! The Dublin setting may be the only new wrinkle here, though this sanitized and prissy Ireland seems not even remotely real. Amy's well-groomed mum is a retired Aer Lingus hostess, and her dad runs an architectural salvage business. Naive but nice Amy works in a children's bookstore-Winnie the Pooh always makes her smile-and she often dons a pointed hat to read fairytales aloud to adorable little customers. Other than that, her life is ordinary, lacking only a Prince Charming. Hmm-any likely candidates? Amy wouldn't mind meeting Stevie J. It could happen. But maybe not. After all, he's "one of the most famous children's book personalities in the world. His books, based on the adventures of a young wizard called Henry, had sold in the millions and Spielberg was filming the first one." How amazing! He just popped in and he wants to talk to her! Stevie couldn't possibly be serious, of course. Besides, Amy is preoccupied with wedding plans for her baby sister Suzi and gorgeous, rugby-playing Matt, who's from Australia and is so, so tanned. Life just isn't fair. But brave Amy soldiers on through minor plot complications toward her very own, very special happy ending: she becomes the star of a children's TV show and gets engaged to-oops! That's a secret! Cloying tone, unoriginal story, published previously (2001) in England.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060571665
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/17/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Webb lives and works in Dalkey, Ireland. A children's bookseller for many years, she now writes books for children and adults, including the novel Three Times a Lady, which was a bestseller in Ireland and Great Britain. She currently works part-time as a marketing manager for children's books and appears regularly on Irish television.
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First Chapter

Always the Bridesmaid

Chapter One

The paranoia all started to kick in when my "baby" sister Suzi came home from Australia last December at the tender age of twenty-four, with the Golden Delicious rugby-playing Matt in tow. I thought things couldn't get any worse.

I was wrong.

"Suzi, have you told Mum and Dad?" I asked as we were loading my Golf with the bags in the airport car park. Matt had kindly offered to get rid of the baggage trolley.

"About what?" she asked quickly.

"About Matt," I replied. "Do they know he's come to live in Dublin?" She certainly hadn't told me and I'd got rather a shock when I'd seen the whole hunky six-foot-something of him coming through the arrivals gate with his arm draped over my sister's shoulders. Although I must admit that I'd thoroughly enjoyed the firm, muscular hug his brown arms had generously given me.

"Not exactly," she said nervously, "but they'll love him and there's loads of room in the house and ..."

"The house?" I interrupted, trying to keep my voice level. "You and Matt are planning to live at home?"

"Well, we want to save for a house and I'm sure Mum and Dad won't mind."

"Right," I muttered darkly. First me, now Suzi -- it wasn't as if we were Italian. Surely we were supposed to have our own homes at our age.

"Do you think it'll be a problem?" Suzi bit her lip.

"No," I lied. "They're so excited about having you home, I'm sure they won't mind."

Suzi nudged me. Matt was smiling at her across the car's roof.

"Let's go," Suzi said.

"You're very quiet," I said to Suzi who was sitting in the back with Matt as I drove down the motorway. Matt was looking anxiously out the back window at the driving rain and the dark gray sky. She leaned forward and popped her head through the space between the two front seats.

"I'm a bit worried about Mum and Dad. You're right. I should have told them. I just thought I'd surprise them, you know."

"I shouldn't have said anything," I said. I felt bad -- I should have kept my mouth firmly shut. I was always putting my Yeti-sized in it.

"Can we go for a drink before going home?" Suzi asked. She turned her head. "Matt, how are you feeling?"

"Fine," he stated. "Did you say drink?"


"Sounds cool."

"How about Johnnie Fox's?" I asked. "Show Matt a bit of real Ireland."

"Tourist Ireland, you mean," Suzi giggled. "Good idea."

As we drove up the steep, almost vertical, road toward the pub, I thought about the "lovebirds" and where they would sleep. Although neither of the parents are priests or vicars (unless they secretly belong to some strange sect who only practice early on Saturday and Sunday mornings when normal mortals, myself included, are dead to the world), we live beside the local church, which gives the term "what will the neighbors think?" new meaning. And directly opposite the house lives Father Lucas. So you can see why Suzi and Matt "living in sin" might not appeal to Mum and Dad.

When the church sold off some of its land and buildings to pay for a new roof, Dad and Mum bought a run-down, cut-stone Victorian house, originally the rectory. It was described as being "full of charm and old-world character." Bloody cold is what it really was. There was no central heating, no hot water as the immersion was on the blink, cold stone-tiled floors on the ground floor and bare pitch-black floorboards in the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs.

At the time we didn't give a monkey's about "the original Victorian iron fireplaces," or "the hand-glazed stained-glass window panels" or "the ancient white claw-footed bath with brass taps." We were freezing our tits off and destined to be woken every Sunday morning in the wee small hours (well, ten o'clock is very early if you've had one too many the night before) by the deafening clanging peal of the "original" Victorian church bells!

Mum and Dad had, to give them credit, turned the cold Psycho-house on the hill into -- as an estate agent would say -- "a delightful residence full of original character and untouched by the scourge of rabid modernization." But it had taken over twelve years and a lot of trips to house auctions, antique shops, not to mention rummages in skips and derelict houses. Dad always claimed they were completely derelict but we often wondered. Suzi and I had learned to spot old pine, original cast porcelain tiles, brass fenders and other weird and wonderful Victorian "housey bits" at a tender age.

Several years ago Dad opted for early retirement from his job as an architect with the Civil Service and set up The Architectural Salvage Company. A few weeks into the work and he was as happy as Larry and wondering why he hadn't packed in the office job years ago. He was dead right, if you ask me. Life's short and if you're going to spend years of your life working you may as well pick something you like. I should have taken my own advice ... Anyway, as I said, he loved the work and soon filled the garage and back garden with his "finds," much to Mum's disgust. Mum used to be an air hostess for Aer Lingus, and she's still always perfectly coiffured and immaculately dressed. She'd look glamorous in a polyester housecoat! I don't know what happened to the rest of the family. Neither does she for that matter.

Mum and Dad make an interesting couple, chalk and cheese really. Dad is never out of his jeans, which are usually covered in rust or mud or paint ...

Always the Bridesmaid. Copyright © by Sarah Webb. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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( 5 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2007

    Extremely disappointing!

    The heroine is a depressing, emotional, needy drunk for so much of the book! Please, would you stop drinking, crying and whining over everything. She broke up with her boyfriend, then wants him back. True everyone was hooking up around you, but could you please stop with the pity me scenes. And everyone tiptoes around her instead of telling her to 'woman up!' By the end I agreed with her ex and sympathized with her new man Steve.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2004

    Forced myself to finish!

    I love easy reads like this one seemed to be...however the main character was so irritating and there were so many inconsistencies...for example, one of the bridesmaids was said to be the grooms sister, but later the groom didn't even know her! I love books and hate critizing any of them...but this one was just so hard to read...If you want a book about bridesmaids, read Always the Bridesmaid by Whitney Lyles, and definitely skip this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2004

    Grumble, groan, sigh......

    I really wanted to like this book and I think it had great promise; however, the author made Amy the most whiney, complaining, negative, irritating, pessimistic main charachter I have ever run across - it was a draining chore just to get through the first 50 pages before I had to give up from sheer annoyance! Read Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes instead, at least you will laugh instead of wanting to scream!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2004

    Warm Irish Romance

    I must say I liked this book. It was an easy read and I liked the main character, Amy a lot. If you like your fiction light and frothy this is a great read. I can see why it was a bestseller in England and Ireland. I'll look out for any of Webb's books in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    Good chich-lit

    As she closes in on thirty, Amy O¿Sullivan wonders how she failed at life. It is bad enough that she just broke up with her boyfriend who is sleeping with an ex friend of hers, but she now lives in her parents¿ home. Adding to her despondency is her younger sister Suzi has brought an Australian fiancé Matt Street to live with the O¿Sullivans and Amy¿s best friend is engaged too. Perhaps her only satisfaction is her place of employment as the ¿Story Princess¿ telling tales to children, but depressingly to Amy none of her own................................ Alcohol fails to take the edge off her jealousy that her sibling and buddy are both getting married while she will play second fiddle as a bridesmaid. Her dejection makes her miss a real opportunity with a hunk of a children¿s author who likes Amy even though she acts nasty towards him. Will she overcome her sad fog to see the light of love or will she remain a melancholy loser?........................... Sarah Webb enables the audience to see very deeply inside the soul of Amy, but that is a two-edged sword as the audience feels empathy towards her, but they will also dislike her destructive behavior especially how she treats the men in her relationships. Fans of a serious chick lit character study will enjoy this tale in spite of detesting Amy¿s behavior and hope she will find happiness...................... Harriet Klausner

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