Not Quite a Bride

( 9 )


A hilarious and heartwarming debut novel of big dreams, big days, and even bigger lies. . .

Molly Harrigan has always dreamed of the perfect wedding, she just never thought she'd be in scores of them as the bridesmaid. Now on her thirtieth birthday-after her younger, married sister announces that she's pregnant-Molly's old dream takes on an all-new urgency.

It doesn't help matters that her best friend Brad drops the bomb that he's engaged to ...

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Not Quite A Bride

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A hilarious and heartwarming debut novel of big dreams, big days, and even bigger lies. . .

Molly Harrigan has always dreamed of the perfect wedding, she just never thought she'd be in scores of them as the bridesmaid. Now on her thirtieth birthday-after her younger, married sister announces that she's pregnant-Molly's old dream takes on an all-new urgency.

It doesn't help matters that her best friend Brad drops the bomb that he's engaged to his spoiled brat of a girlfriend. Devastated, Molly does what almost no one in the same situation would do. With a giant wedding fund burning a hole in her pocket (courtesy of her late, beloved grandmother), Molly hires a fiancé.

Now armed with the perfect boyfriend, Molly stages a whirlwind courtship, engagement, and grand-ballroom-style wedding. Lying to her friends and family is a small price to pay for cake-tastings, gift registries, and dress fittings. But lying to herself could cost Molly her one chance at true love-with a man whose feet are turning as cold as her own. . .

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758216632
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Pages: 318
  • Sales rank: 1,306,516
  • Product dimensions: 8.04 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Not Quite a Bride


Kensington Publishing Corp.

Copyright © 2007 Kirsten Sawyer Abdo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7582-1663-7

Chapter One

One Year Earlier

I'm sitting alone on the subway ... it's Sunday, so there are hardly any other people. The few people in my car-a woman who looks like she may live there, an athletic couple in workout clothes, and a man with a cranky little girl-are staring at me. I close my eyes and lean my head back ... why wouldn't they be staring at me? I must look like I came from The Night of the Living Dead prom.

I'm wearing one of the ugliest bridesmaid's dresses I've ever worn ... and that's saying a lot, because I've worn a lot. It's lavender and chiffon and huge. I think my friend, Maggie, was going for some sort of Gone With the Wind theme ... for her bridesmaids; of course, her own gown was sleek and sophisticated and amazing.

I've been in the thing since 2:00 P.M. yesterday when we began the marathon three-hour photo session. My makeup is no longer where it started ... it's all streaked down my cheeks. My fancy hairdo that I thought had enough spray to go through a wind tunnel looks like some squirrels took up residence and then had a domestic disturbance. And one of my adorable lavender Hype sandals, the only thing about my ensemble that didn't nauseate me, is missing a heel. I can only imagine what a sight I am.

I'm sure you're wondering why someone who looks as bad as I currently do would opt for the publichumiliation of the subway and not take a private, less shameful taxicab? Well, I had some problems ... let me explain. I guess all the problems can be traced back to one big problem-namely, alcohol. I had too much of it. Then, at 11:00 P.M., the open bar ran out and switched to a no-host bar ... meaning: buy your own booze. At that point I'd already had too much alcohol to accurately judge that a) I didn't need any more drinks, or b) spending my cab money on rum and Cokes was a really dumb idea. The second problem, and the reason I'm on the subway during daylight hours with other human beings and not in the dead of night, is Kevin (I think it's Kevin), the extremely handsome (I think extremely handsome) groomsman.

Too much rum and not enough Coke allowed me to think for a brief, blurry moment that perhaps Kevin was "the one" (a common problem for single girls ... every human with a Y-chromosome could be "the one"), and so I joined him in his hotel room for a high-school-caliber make-out session that would have gone farther had another groomsman not been kind enough to pass out in the same room (I am a strong believer that after college it's wrong to have sex when other people are asleep-or awake, for that matter-in the same room). I ended up passing out in the room as well and didn't wake up until the pounding in my head got too loud at the crack of dawn this morning when I crept out (without disturbing Kevin, the other groomsman, or the third guy who I didn't even know had come in) to do the walk of shame.

Thankfully, we arrive at my stop just as I feel the chunks of last night's "wedding chicken" start to rise in my throat. You know what I'm talking about, right? The standard hotel chicken, in sickening sauce with smaller-than-usual vegetables to make them fancy and creamier-than-usual potatoes to ensure stomach problems, particularly for anyone in a hoopskirt. I get out of the station as quickly as a girl with a missing heel can and take a deep breath of fresh air. Well, as fresh as Manhattan air gets in July.

As I arrive at my apartment-an apartment I've lived in since I graduated from college-I feel enormous relief. It's only 8:45 A.M., but I think I've sweated one or two pints in the three-block walk. I climb up the three flights of stairs and I am living proof of Dorothy's wise words, "There's no place like home!"

I absolutely love my apartment, and although it might not be as fancy as some with elevators or doormen, it really is a Manhattan gem. It was my grandmother's for as long as I can remember. She passed away shortly before I graduated from college and left the unit to my dad. He and my mom agreed that a two-bedroom in a great Upper East Side location was the perfect place for my sister, Jamie, and me to live upon graduation. The plan was that I would live alone until Jamie graduated three years later; then she would move in with me. Only Jamie graduated from college madly in love and got engaged and then married and never moved in. Thankfully, I was able to keep the place all for myself.

The apartment wasn't the only thing left behind by my beloved grandmother when she died. She left me an extremely generous "wedding fund," which has been cruelly burning a hole in my pocket. Nana and I had an extremely close relationship, and we both shared a passion for weddings. Nana really started it all. She was a hopeless romantic, married to her high-school sweetheart from the day after their graduation until the day he died. Up until the very end, she still put her wedding dress on every year on her anniversary. According to her, this was so she could relive the happiest day of her life. When questioned by my father why his birth wasn't the happiest day of her life, all she could do was shrug. She loved weddings. Nana could describe all eight of Elizabeth Taylor's weddings (and wedding dresses) in detail. She was up at the crack of dawn to watch every second of coverage of Princess Diana's marriage to Charles, she kept me up late to watch Joanie Cunningham marry Chachi Arcola, and she talked my mother into letting me stay home from school when Luke and Laura were wed.

Ever since the day she presented me with my first Barbie bride doll clad in a miniature white lace gown, she and I had been planning my special day. With Nana, no wish was too indulgent. Together, we planned for five-foot trains and six-foot cakes. All through my adolescence, I believed that these plans could and would come true. I was certain that, like Nana, I would marry my high-school sweetheart. It didn't turn out that way ... instead I found him having sex with my best friend in the girls' bathroom at our prom. As I entered my twenties, still alone, I started to have my doubts, but Nana never did. He's out there, Molly, so you'd better think about these plans now so that you're ready when you find him, she'd say.

I believed her, and kept planning. As my friends started to marry off, at first it gave me hope. I saw how it was happening to people around me-dreams were coming true-so my day in the sun must be just around the corner. The block kept getting longer and longer, though, and the corner was still nowhere in sight. When my grandmother passed away, a significant portion of my devastation was that she would not be around to share the day that she and I had planned for so many years.

Then my father informed me that Nana had specifically left me an inheritance to be spent on my dream wedding. While I knew the day would never be the same without her physically there, her gift made me feel like whenever Mr. Right came along, my wonderful grandmother would still play an important part in what she promised would be the happiest day of my life. My father was kind enough to help me invest my wedding fund until the day came when I was ready to use it. Thanks to him, what was an extremely generous gift to begin with had grown into what I was quite sure would afford me my dream-fantasy wedding. The only thing missing, of course, was that dream-fantasy guy ...

Chapter Two

Hangover Pains

I struggle through the door trying to juggle the mail, the hoopskirt and my cat, Tiffany, greeting me with the excitement that only a cat can have toward a massive amount of lavender chiffon. I drop the stuff onto the table and add some kibble to Tiffany's dish before I drag myself to the bedroom and remove the pastel monster that has been strangling me for twenty-six hours (but who's counting?). I kick it into the back of my closet where there is a pile of pastel puffiness in a variety of disgusting shades and materials. My cat loves this bridesmaid's-dress graveyard, so I haven't had the heart to heave them down the garbage chute or start a bonfire-yet. I've been fantasizing about doing it, though.

Other than the "graveyard," my apartment is adorable. I really love it; it kind of looks like Monica's apartment on Friends, but less funky and more feminine. I am so happy with it ... the only problem is that if I could ever get a man to want to come upstairs, he'd probably take one look at my pink-and-green Pierre Deux couch and run for his masculinity.

Okay, so now you know my secret ... I'm one of those women. I live alone in an overly feminine apartment with a cat.

I pull a tank top and boxer shorts on (so much better!) and collapse on my bed, not even bothering to pull my Ralph Lauren quilt back or remove the seventy-five bobby pins poking me in the skull.

I don't stir again for many hours, and by the time I finally do manage to heave my body off the bed it's starting to get dark. I head back out to the living room, where I am faced with an angry white cat (cats don't like to be ignored for two days straight) and a stack of mail, which I flip through, only halfway paying attention.

"Wedding invitation, wedding gift thank-you, shower invitation, baby shower thank-you, engagement party ... what?!? When did she get engaged?!?" That gets my attention because it's the story of my life.

Oh, I should tell you at this point ... I talk to myself, sometimes under the guise of talking to my cat, but sadly, she's not always in the room. As I'm flipping through the mail, rubbing salt on my wounds, I notice the answering machine blinking and hit the button.

"Time of call: 6:57 A.M.," the friendly, computerized voice tells me.

"Jeez, who called that early?!?"

Okay ... I also talk to the answering machine man ... and occasionally-all right, often-to TiVo.

"Good Golly Miss Molly ... it's hard to believe ..."

My mother ...

"... that thirty years ago at this time my first baby was born. Daddy and I love you ... we will see you next weekend for your birthday dinner? I hope you had a lovely time at Maggie's wedding. Did you meet a man?"

I can hear my father grumbling something in the background, and then my mother hissing something with her hand over the receiver. "It doesn't matter if you did or not, 'cause we love you very much, Molly." CLICK.

Ugh ... I'd kind of forgotten ... and I was kind of trying to keep it from you. Today is my thirtieth birthday. So now you know the rest of the secret ... and I'm sure you have a clear picture of me in your head. Oh, wait ... and did I mention I'm a schoolteacher? There you have me: a single, thirty-year-old schoolteacher who lives with a cat. It's not what you think, though. I'm not a spinster or old-maidish at all ... at least, I don't think I am.

"Time of call: 12:04 P.M."

"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthda-" a voice sang. CLICK.

My sister, Jamie ... she sings every year. I don't need to hear it and you definitely don't need to hear it. Jamie is wonderful, but she's always happy and upbeat and that can be exhausting. She's also a schoolteacher (maybe that helps explain why she's not opposed to leaving musical messages for people?) and so is our mom, just so you understand the genealogy. Jamie and I are exactly the same in some ways and couldn't be more opposite in others. The similarities mean that we are really close but sometimes that can cause us to bicker like we are still little kids ... plus she has some middle-child issues. Jamie is three years younger than I am, she's much trendier, and she's way more "cutting edge." I'm so uncool that I say things like "cutting edge." People are always shocked when she tells them she teaches third grade, whereas they look at me and nod like it's an obvious fact. The biggest difference, though, is that she's married to her college sweetheart. They were together five and a half years before they tied the knot, and if I didn't love Jamie and her husband, Bryan, so incredibly much, I'd hate them both to death.

"Time of call: 2:42 P.M." "Molls, it's me ..."

"Me" is my best friend, Brad.

"I hope you don't feel as bad today as you looked last night. Hahaha ... just kidding! Be ready at seven tonight ... I'm coming by to pick you up." CLICK.

Brad Lawson has been my best friend since the first weekend of rush parties our freshman year of college. We both had bad first experiences with something called jungle juice-it's a highly potent fraternity concoction that tastes suspiciously like Kool-Aid. Anyway, Brad and I ended up puking our guts out on the same bush outside the Phi Kappa Psi house. He ended up pledging there, and many of our happiest college nights finished up on that same poor hedge. When we met, we were both awkward freshmen, but by senior year my sorority sisters were both thrilled and confused by our strictly platonic relationship. I cannot count how many girls begged to be fixed up with him, thinking he was some kind of California surfer stud. He did grow up in Southern California and has blond hair and blue eyes ... but actually he's from somewhere called Tarzana in the San Fernando Valley, and he's never been on a surfboard. He made me swear to keep that a secret, though.

But really, once you learn to ignore his West Coast good looks, he has an amazing soul. Brad is the kind of friend you can count on to come pick you up in the middle of the night when you're driving home from a boyfriend who has just dumped you and it's raining and you get a flat tire. He'll show up at your door with an Egg McMuffin when he knows you are nursing a hangover. He'll even send you a dozen long-stemmed roses on Valentine's Day when you're sad and single. A better friend could not be found ... honestly, he has done all of these things (and more) for me.

I glance at the clock on the microwave and can't believe it's practically 4:30! I only have two and a half hours to recover from last night and be ready to go, looking twenty-five years old, to celebrate my thirtieth birthday! Perhaps I should have checked my messages sooner?

First stop: bubble bath.

Chapter Three

The World's Worst Birthday

Somehow, and don't ask me how I did it, only two and a half hours later I am ready to go and looking adorable-I really am-except for the slightly funky tan line from the hour we spent outside taking pictures in the lavender curse. And even with the strange stripes around my shoulders, the hours I have spent with the free weights have left my arms looking anything but thirty. I'm telling you, prepare to watch me get carded tonight. I'm also working really hard on my positive attitude. I will not let turning thirty make me bitter.

At 7 P.M., practically on the dot, my front door buzzes. I'm in the final stages of the getting-ready process ... final sprays of perfume, buckling of sandals, lip gloss, etc.

"Crap ... who is that?" I ask Tiffany ... as if a cat knows who's at the door. "Hello?" I holler into the intercom.

"Molls, it's me ... buzz me up."

"Brad?" I question Tiffany, who looks at me, confused. "Why is he so early?"

Brad enters my apartment carrying a single chocolate (my favorite) cupcake with a burning candle in the shape of a three.

"You bought a new candle for me?!?"

The birthday cupcake isn't a complete surprise ... it's more a tradition, really. Since my 21st, Brad has always "surprised" me with a cupcake. What is a surprise, though, is that the wax candle in the shape of a two that was used to celebrate the past nine birthdays (he never bothered to specify where in my twenties I was, which was always appreciated) has been replaced.

"Nothing but the best for you. Happy Birthday, Molly. Make a wish."

I blow the candle out ... we all know what I wished for.

"It's going to come true, I promise," he says as he kisses my head.

I smile at him as I take the cupcake and start peeling off the paper. Whoever said, "Life's uncertain, eat dessert first," was definitely onto something.

"You're so early-thank goodness I'm dressed!"

Brad looks at his watch, "I'm not early-it's seven on the dot."

"Exactly-who's on time? On time is today's early."


Excerpted from Not Quite a Bride by KIRSTEN SAWYER Copyright © 2007 by Kirsten Sawyer Abdo. 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.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I loved it!!!

    I love a book that can make me laugh, cry and blush, and this one did it all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2009


    This book was unique! It was funny and you love all the characters. Pretty much predictable, but what book isn't. Everything works out at the end!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2007

    Drop to your knees laughing

    I read this book a few months before my own wedding and couldn't put it down, in fact I finished in one day. This book has it all Love, Friendship, Laughter, and Romance, but mostly just laughter. I couldn't stop laughing. This is deffinately a must read for all of you romance novel buffs!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007


    This was one of the best book I've read in a long time! It had me laughing all the way through && to be honest from the moment I started reading it i couldnt put it down....I was so hooked i finished it in 1 daY!!! This was a great debut book for the author && I hope it wont be the last! She writes the story in a way that you start to love the characters (personally i fell in love with Justin) however the story is great!! I'd recommend this book to any one who loves a great love story!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2007

    Laughed through the whole thing!

    I can't remember the last time a book actually made me laugh out loud! This book was amazing and I couldn't put it down! I've never really been much into the chick lit genre thats really exploded over the last few years but this one caught my attetnion. I, like the main character, have been one of those gals who has been planning my own wedding since I got my first bridal Barbie doll. Which makes our heroine, Molly, so outrageous is that she resorts to hiring a man(the lovely Justin) to play her boyfriend and then fiancee so she can use her huge wedding fun - courtsey of a late beloved grandmother - to plan her dream wedding at the Plaza Hotel in NYC. While trying to plan her own wedding Molly is trying to deal with a pregnant sister and a beloved little brother who has a big secret to tell the family. The ending is fantastic and perfectly put together - I can't wait to read the next book by this author! Its a wonderful debut!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This is an amusing chick lit tale

    In high school, Molly Harrigan assumed that by the time she turned thirty, she would be married, own a home and have two kids to raise. Now that she is turning thirty, she remains single, a Manhattan renter, and has no kids to raise. Even worse is the fact she has no prospects as she has no boyfriend. Her younger sister Jamie, married to Bryson, is pregnant her best friend Brad Lawson is engaged to the evil Claire Reilly. There is also Logan. She loves all three of them and wants the best for each, but what about her also getting her desires achieved?---------------------- Though no male to call her own, Molly decides to have at least the wedding she always wanted by hiring an actor Justin to play the groom. He provides a perfect performance as her family and friends adore him especially her brother Logan. When Brad suddenly seems to wants his relationship ended, so does Logan for different reasons still in his role Justin secretly agrees with both men. However, the complications of courtships make it seem inevitable that Molly will say I do to Justin even if it is staged.------------------ This is an amusing chick lit tale starring an incredibly fully developed support cast and a likable lead protagonist who just wants her soulmate to appear. The story line is fun to follow as the complications of the fake courtship makes it increasingly difficult to back out of it especially since everyone loves Justin. Though Claire is a selfish shrew, readers will enjoy the escapades of the extended Harrigan family.-------------------------------- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2006

    An outstanding debut for Kirsten Sawyer!

    I had the pleasure of reading an ARC copy of this book. It is excellent! It has comedy, romance, friendship, everything you could ask for. This is Kirsten Sawyer's first book and I think she will be having a very long career if she keeps on this path. This book was about a girl who wants to get married but doesnt have a fiance or boyfriend. So she hires a man to pretend to be her fiance so she can throw herself a fabulous wedding. The only problem is, the girl's night and shining armor is right under her nose and she doesnt know it. Will she go through with this sham of a wedding or will she run off with Mr. Right? Read this book to find out! Also if you enjoyed Karyn Bosnak's book 20 Times a Lady, I am sure you will find this similar with the humor and love this one too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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