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Melanie and Fran are two charmingly wisecracking young Londoners who simply can't believe it when their old schoolfriend Amanda, Satan's own PR agent, manages to get herself hitched to a laird (Scottish for lord). Who cares that Fraser McConnel has worn the same ratty Converse sneakers for years and that his castle is really a pile of rubble — all the social -climbing queen of preen cares about is the title she'll soon have. She's got Fraser by the nuptials, and she has no intention of letting go. Gentle, decent ...
Melanie and Fran are two charmingly wisecracking young Londoners who simply can't believe it when their old schoolfriend Amanda, Satan's own PR agent, manages to get herself hitched to a laird (Scottish for lord). Who cares that Fraser McConnel has worn the same ratty Converse sneakers for years and that his castle is really a pile of rubble — all the social -climbing queen of preen cares about is the title she'll soon have. She's got Fraser by the nuptials, and she has no intention of letting go. Gentle, decent Fraser is completely innocent Amanda's wiles, so Mel and Fran, still smarting from Amanda's evil misdeeds years ago in school, join forces with Fraser's adorable younger brother Angus to sabotage the mismatch of the century. Between fighting off the attentions of a love-crazed accountant, dealing with a ne'er-do-well rockstar wannabe boyfriend, keeping Fran's deadly maneuvers with the opposite sex under control, finding herself at the heart of a bachelor party controversy, consuminglarge quantities of alcohol, and throwing out hysterical barbs that would make Oscar Wilde proud, Mel will break some hearts and win over those of readers by the score...all of whom are certain to enjoy the mayhem — and hilarious mishaps — in store in "Amanda's Wedding!"
This one did, though. It definitely did, and I remember it extremely clearly. Well, in a fuzzy kind of way.
Thank God-it was my bed. So, one, I was actually in a bed; and two, it was mine. I was beating the odds already. I prized open one very sticky eye and attempted to focus it, to try to work out where the smell was coming from. I appeared to be jammed between the wall and an extremely large and unidentifiable chunk of flesh.
The chunk of flesh was connected to lots of other chunks, all in the right order: But I didn't notice this until after I'd sat bolt upright in terror at a potential Godfather-type situation in my bed.
Everything seemed weirdly out of proportion. Maybe I was still drunk. I pawed at the sticky stuff at the corners of my eyes. No, something was still very wrong.
An inappropriate hand was slung across me. It appeared to be about the size of my stomach, and my stomach is not renowned for its tininess.... A thought began to worm its way into my head.
I knew that thought and tried to avoid it for as long as possible, but alongside my hangover voice that was howling, Fluid! Fluid! the thought whispered, Oh, my God ... it's Nicholas ... again! I grimaced like I'd just swallowed something nasty, which, let's face it, I probably had.
Slowly creeping my way off the end of the futon, and feeling worse and worse, I crawled into the kitchen in search of aspirin and Diet Coke. Fran, of course, was lying in wait. She didn't live here, but she made herself more at home than I did. Her own place was a three-foot-square studio that induced immediate Colditz fever, so I'd got used to her wandering in and out.
"Good morning!" trilled Fran, bright and breezy. She must have been putting it on. Through a strange fog-which I supposed was the alcohol in my system filling me right up to the eyes-she actually looked quite good. I couldn't focus on her mass of fuzzy hair, but I did notice that she was wearing one of my T-shirts, not quite covering thighs that didn't even meet in the middle. I hated that.
I summoned all my energy to pipe, "Hello!"
"No, no, absolutely fine. I've just suddenly developed a taste for a half bottle of warm flat Coke, okay?"
There was a pause. Then she said, "I take it you'll be wanting two glasses?"
"Aaaaaaargh!" I put my head down on the kitchen unit.
"Mel. Mel Mel Mel Mel Mel!"
Fran backed away.
"I know, I know, I know," I admitted. "Oh, my God. Shit. Shit! I think maybe I'll just move, starting now."
"In a towel?"
"You're right-all my clothes are in my bedroom, and I'm never going in there again! Why don't I start a fire?"
"Well, it's a bit risky, and I don't think Nicholas would fit in a fire engine."
"That's okay! He could die! In fact, that would be good!" Fran poured us both a cup of tea and looked sorrowfully at me.
"Come on, don't worry. Look on the bright side."
"There's an eight-foot-tall accountant in my bed who smells like a polecat whom I have now woken up with twice, thus ruining any potential excuses, and you're telling me to look on the bright side?"
"Ehmm, how about ... if you spill any tea on the towel, it won't matter, because you'll have a towel handy? Okay, then ... ehmm ... it means you're not the type of girl who has one-night stands?"
"Oh God, what am I going to do? Is Linda around?" Linda was my dumpy flatmate. I saw her only about once a fortnight. Possibly she hid from me.
"She scuttled past about twenty minutes ago. She looked pretty tired. We might have been a bit noisy last night. Wasn't Nicholas trying to pretend he could play the trumpet?"
I grimaced. "That wasn't a trumpet."
Fran grimaced back at the memory. "Bloody Amanda!" she said. I nodded vehemently. Whenever anything really bad happened, Amanda was always mixed up in it somewhere.
Fran, Amanda, and I had gone to school together in Woking, one of those dreary endless London surburban towns, not city or country, just lots of people hanging round bus shelters wondering if they were missing something. I'd met Fran when she ran past our house at age four, chasing my older brother with a cricket bat.
Amanda lived next to us, and the three of us walked to school together for years, Amanda usually in possession of the latest Barbie doll outfits and extra sweets from the man at the corner shop with slightly dubious tendencies. Despite her blue eyes, strawberry blond ringlets, and general air of pinkness, she was pure evil and played Fran and me off against each other with the talent of a Medici poisoner.
Our biggest wish as children was to grow up famous and be on Celebrity Squares. Twenty years on we were all still following this wish: Fran in the time-honored method of going to drama school, then hanging about for years and years and years, usually round my flat. I'd decided to do it by marrying someone very handsome and famous. I kept a close eye on Hello magazine to check out when celebrities got divorced. However, Amanda trumped all of us totally while still at school by getting her dad to invent a new way of opening milk cartons or something and suddenly becoming utterly, stinking rich.
We didn't really notice at first, just that all through the last year of secondary school she kept sighing and talking about how boring everything was-but then, we were teenage girls. Then we saw the new house, with the pool and the built-in bar, and realized something was seriously up. Her dad had left her mum by this stage and was too busy chasing totty our age to really care what we did, so we had big parties, shopped, and got tipsy in the new Jacuzzi with the gold taps: It was a fabulous year.
Eventually Fran went off to Central School of Drama to pretend to be a lizard for three years. Amanda was heading for Durham University, and not having much imagination, and rather less sense, I applied there, too.
I hardly recognized Amanda when we went up on the first day of freshmen week-mainly because her hair had changed color and she talked differently. She gave me a lift up in the open-topped sports car her dad had given her for getting accepted into the university and cut through the town like she owned it.
I knew when she dumped me in my eight-foot-square midden in the nasty students hall with damp running down the walls and shouted, "There you are, darling! See you around, yah?" that somehow things had changed. Things had. She never spoke to me again, except every six months when she'd condescend to take me out for a drink to remind me how wonderful everything was for her. I don't think it meant as much to her if she didn't have someone to look down on, and that was my job. I fell for it every time: The next day she'd ignore me in the corridor.
If things were fair, I reckoned, it would all go wrong for her one day. As things were, she got a good degree and as a result of her blondeness qualified for a job in PR and now got invited to lots of showbiz parties. I got a terrible degree, probably something to do with the bile marks on the paper, and ended up reading copy for a boring marketing company in Paddington.
But I still saw her. Every so often she'd phone, Fran and I would go see her, she'd gloat, and we'd get her to pay for all the drinks. And that's how it had started last night, when the phone rang.
I'd finally worked out that darling is PR code for inferior acquaintance.
She hated that.
"Listen, how about you and Francesca and I meet up for a drinky tonight?"
Tonight? As if we had nothing better to do.
"I have news!" she trilled.
"Oh no, this is definitely drinky kind of news."
"Okay. Fran!" Fran was lying on the sofa, drawing a mustache on herself.
"Fancy a drink with Amanda tonight?"
Fran made a snarling noise, shook her head violently, and contorted it into the face of a cougar, which apparently they teach you at drama school.
"Great," I said into the phone. "We'd love to. Where?"
"The Atlantic?" she simpered. No chance. Cocktails and nob ends. Plus she lived in posh North London and we lived in Kennington, one of the nice but scruffy ends of South London, so it was like trying to arrange an intergalactic alliance.
I parried with the Ship and Shovel-both dirty and potentially dangerous.
"Oh, for goodness' sake, Melanie. All right, the Ozone, then."
"I'll raise you to the Pitcher and Piano and no further."
There was a sigh on the end of the line. "Well, if you must," she pouted audibly, which had zero effect on me, as I don't have a penis.
"What did you do that for?" Fran groaned once I got off the phone. "She'll only have been promoted or been asked out by some poof in a West End musical or something."
"You never know," I said. "Maybe something's gone horribly wrong. Maybe she's up the duff by some sailors or something, and we, as her oldest friends, are the only ones who can truly comfort her. Heh heh heh."
"Did she have an up the duff voice on? Or perhaps a twee gloaty voice?"
I thought for a minute. "Ehmm, twee gloaty voice."
"Well, that's it, then. Sean Connery's son asked her to lunch or something. And we're going to have to listen to two boring hours of how fantastic everything is for her, and we'll be so bored we'll get accidentally drunk, then she'll drive off somewhere much more exciting completely sober and we'll stay and get totally plastered out of bitterness and self-loathing and hate ourselves for days."
"Uh-huh. So, what are we going to wear?"
Amanda flounced into the bar right on time. She was a four P's girl-pert, pretty, petite, and prompt.
"Darlings, hi!" she crowed across the bar. I forgot: When she got posh, she also got loud. "White wine okay?"
"Special brew for us, Amanda," shouted Fran. "But in a glass." Amanda finally wandered over with the drinks after checking to see if she knew anyone, perched down on her perfect arse, and turned to us with a smile like a morning weathergirl.
"What's your news, then?" I asked helpfully.
"You'll never guess what, girls!"
"Ehm, you've won the lottery, for double world fairness? You're actually a man? You're pregnant by forty sailors?" Fran said the last bit under her breath.
"Oh, my God! Who to?" we yelled simultaneously.
"You know him, Mel. You remember-Fraser McConald, from Durham."
"Fraser who?" said Fran.
But I remembered. Sweet, big, gentle Fraser, with the scraggy hair and old clothes. I'd fancied him madly, he'd ignored it, so I'd followed him around pretending to be his mate instead. For years. Not one of my proudest moments. God, did this girl have to win all the time? Fraser was ... well, the pick of the bunch, as far as I was concerned.
"You and Fraser! Arse bastards!" I said. "And also I mean, Wow, you're getting married! Congratulations, that's wonderful! God, and quick!" Fraser never did anything quickly, I seemed to remember. I had a flash of him mooching about the college, trying to find somewhere to sit down and stretch out his incredibly long legs. I was usually trailing about ten feet behind, just in case he dropped anything and I could pick it up for him.
"Oh, I know." She displayed the ring on her tiny finger. "He says I just swept him off his feet! Hee hee hee!"
Swept him off his feet? Or ran him over with a steamroller?
Fraser didn't even like being swept off his feet, I thought mutinously.
Fraser liked striding about in hills and reading Viz magazine and failing his engineering exams.
"I remember him," Fran said. "A couple of times when I came up. Lanky bloke. Lank. He didn't seem like your type."
"Yes, well," simpered Amanda.
"How did you meet him? Chess club?"
"No, actually, it was the funniest thing ... I was purring ..."
"What?" I said.
"Oh, my job, darling, you know."
"I was working for these clients in Edinburgh who are launching some ancient royal castles guide. Anyway, who should I see in the portfolio brochure but my old friend from Durham, Fraser." I didn't point out that she can't have said two words to him the whole time, as he blushed a lot and wore the same pair of Converse trainers every day for three years.
"Anyway, so I thought I'd go see him for a drink-"
"Hang on," Fran interrupted. "What the hell was he doing in a brochure? Was it a brochure for Converse trainers?" Amanda tinkled her tinkly laugh. "No, actually-and you'll think this just mad, me, little Amanda Phillips from Portmount Comprehensive...."
"What?" demanded Fran.
"Well, actually ... he's a laird!"
I knew, though.
"Oh, I know, isn't it cute? Well, it's like a lord-only Scotch!"
"Is this true?" Fran looked at me.
"Ehm, I knew his uncle was. Maybe if his dad died, I suppose ..." Amanda looked at me in shock. "Melanie, you knew all that time and you didn't tell me!"
"Amanda, you met him once at a party, and you said he smelled funny."
"Noo, that can't have been me." She laughed again.
"Did he smell funny?" Fran asked me.
"Only when it rained."
"Darlings!" Amanda said with an edge in her voice, "this is my big news!"
We settled down, and her coy smile came back.
"Anyway, we got together and we just had so much in common; we just laughed and laughed ... then he was down in London looking over land deeds, so we went out again, and one thing led to another at the Caledonian ball, and now I am going to be Lairdess Amanda Phillips-McConald!"
"Hey, his name's Phillips, too?" Fran said sarcastically.
"No, no, you see, I'm keeping my name and taking his name.
It's a feminist statement, really. Didn't you see me in Tatler?"
Fran said later my eyes were like saucers. So she asked, "Is he rich?"
"Don't be silly, darling, what's in Scotland?"
"History? Great natural beauty? Mel Gibson?"
"Sheep and alcoholics, darling. No, he hasn't a bean ... and there's a castle to do up-how do you think he could manage that on his salary?"
Then Amanda went completely off on one about her interior design plans for the castle. I'd actually been there. (Fraser had asked a bunch of us along, but I'd tried to pretend it was a private outing for me alone.) It was less a castle, more a few old stones, and his uncle had then lived in the only staff cottage still standing, but she clearly didn't know that yet, given the lengths she was prepared to go to give it that cozy Amanda style.
"I thought we'd go for a cutting-edge, post-industrialist look," she was saying.
I knew I had to say something-anything-at this point.
Excerpted from Amanda's Wedding by Jenny Colgan Copyright © 1999 by Jenny Colgan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted March 15, 2014
Posted February 18, 2010
Posted August 11, 2003
While Ms. Coogan's writing is peppered with lighthearted, as well as funny moments, I only had one problem with this novel. Nearly all of the characters seemed confused about whom they wanted to be with, which I felt was trite and downright silly. A decent novel otherwise, but not entirely a memorable one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 18, 2003
Posted January 1, 2003
I loved this book! It sat on my shelf for months before I finally read it, and I'm still kicking myself for not reading it sooner! I immediately fell in love with Fraser and Angus. And I'm laughing out loud over the smoke bombs! Please tell me there'll be a sequel!!!!! Melanie's Wedding????Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 8, 2001
After the first hillarious chapter, I was hooked. One twist after another in this plot, kept me guessing. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. I was addicted to Amanda's Wedding. Mel is my hero.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 20, 2001
Posted December 9, 2008
In Woking, England, Melanie, Fran and Amanda walked to school together for years. Amanda cleverly using Mel and Fran by playing each one against the other like a Machiavellian puppeteer. The trio wished to one day be rich and famous, starring as a celeb of ¿Celebrity Squares¿. However, after completing secondary school, the three girls go their separate ways even though Mel went to the same university as Amanda attended. <P>Two decades have passed since they first walked together to school. Amanda is now engaged to marry Scottish nobleman Fraser, a person that Mel secretly coveted in the university. Fraser¿s brother Angus thinks Amanda is a ¿castle¿ digger only wanting Fraser for his crumbling rocks. Though she has two beaus of her own, a rock musician and an accountant, Mel agrees to help Angus separate Amanda and Fraser. Mel enlists Fran to help her with her madcap adventure. <P>Often humorous yet as often nasty, AMANDA¿S WEDDING is an amusing screwball romantic comedy reminiscent of the works of Bridget Jones and some of the Cary Grant movies (with profanities) of the 1930s. The story line is well written, centering on the ruses of Mel and Fran as narrated by the former. Readers, who enjoy a light comedy of errors will find this tale quite entertaining, but fans that want substance propping up their comedies need to pass on Jenny Colgan¿s whimsical novel. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2001
I picked this book up because of a review that said it was a cross between 'Friends' and 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' and i love both of those! The book was hilarious. I was laughing out loud within the first few pages! The main character makes you feel relieved that you're not the only one who thinks that way! Amandas Wedding is a great book to read if you're looking for something entertaining and fun, which it certainly is!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 6, 2000
I luaghed out loud during this book. I thouroughly enjoyed it, though at the start I wasn't sure I would. I could identify with the main character and her annoyance with her perfect (and evil) friend Amanda. If you liked Bridget Jones Diary, Getting Over it, or the Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, you will really enjoy Amanda's Wedding.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 25, 2000
In England, there was a lot of hype surrounding the release of this title. It was worth every word of it. Not only did 'Amanda's Wedding' make me cringe ('oh my God, I so do that'), laugh out loud in a public place (in my case, a train full of stuffy men with briefcases), after taking it down from my overloaded bookshelf I was compelled to postpone my life. The book was surgically attached to my fingers (well, close!)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 13, 2008
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Posted December 9, 2011
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Posted October 17, 2011
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