This debut by Boston Globe “Love Letters” columnist Goldstein chronicles the wedding of lawyer Bee Evans and Matt Fee from the viewpoints of five protagonists—dubbed “The Singles” by Bee—who each decline to bring a guest to the nuptials. The book starts out as the stale story of college friends shakily navigating adulthood—frequent flashbacks from the day of the wedding reveal trite plot points, like bridesmaid Hannah Martin’s clandestine hookup with Syracuse University buddy (and fellow Single) Rob Nutley, who proves himself a flake when he doesn’t show up at the wedding, leaving Hannah to face her old flame, Tom Keating, without the welcome distraction of Rob. Vicki Clifford, another college pal, lends Hannah support despite needing some herself.The plot picks up substantially once noncollege folks enter the mix. Forty-something Joe Evans, Bee’s uncle, is attracted to the much younger Vicki and spends the reception with her imagining a different outcome than she does. These additions transform what could have easily remained a generic slog through old friends’ unresolved love lives into a relatable tale with good momentum. Despite a few tired chick lit tropes, readers won’t regret accepting Goldstein’s invitation to mingle with these Singles. Agent: Katherine Flynn, Kneerim & Williams Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Anyone who's ever attended a wedding solo, will feel an immediate kinship with the five, wonderfully complicated characters of The Singles. Meredith Goldstein's witty prose follows these guests as they gather to celebrate, reunite with friends, drink too much, dance inappropriately, worry about their careers, struggle with jealousy, and negotiate family dynamics. This book is full of dark humor and heart, and you won't want to put it down.” -Jennifer Close, author of Girls in White Dresses
"For anyone who has found herself hitting a wedding solo, Meredith Goldstein's The Singles is a charming debut noveland a thoroughly enjoyable plus one." -Laura Dave, author of The First Husband and The Divorce Party
“Realistic and romantic by turns, The Singles totally captures the alienated feeling you get when you're stuck at a wedding without a dateand the accompanying hope that maybe you'll meet someone special there. This novel is a sheer delight.” -Claire LaZebnik, author of Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts
"This smart, witty debut takes the original approach of turning the spotlight on five people who attend a wedding alone. As it turns out, these vivid, endearing characters have the very best stories to tell." -Sarah Pekkanen, author of These Girls
“A relatable tale with good momentum . . . [R]eaders won't regret accepting Goldstein's invitation to mingle with these singles." -Publishers Weekly
“Charming . . . Funny and sad with easily identifiable characters.” -Kirkus Reviews
The bride and groom are not the focus of this wedding novel, in which five single guests complicate the seating chart. The bride, Beth "Bee" Evans, asks her invitees to bring a partner, but these five attend on their own. Three of these singles—Hannah, Vicki, and Rob—went to college with Bee. Hannah is apprehensive about seeing her college sweetheart for the first time since he left her, while Rob, who has to follow the wedding via phone calls while caring for his sick dog, won't admit his feelings for Hannah. Vicki, meanwhile, is suffering from depression and travels to the wedding with a seasonal affective disorder light. The bride's uncle is also flying solo, although he makes every attempt to pick up a younger copilot. The fifth single, Phil, wasn't even invited; he's filling in for his mother, a friend of the groom's parents, who has taken ill and has been keeping a secret from her son. This wedding is transformative—especially for those who've chosen to decline their plus one. VERDICT This will interest fans of wedding fiction and chick lit and will have local appeal in Boston, as Goldstein is the author of the Boston Globe's "Love Letters" column.—Karen Core, Detroit P.L.
Five unmarried guests manage to come together—and fall apart—during an upscale wedding at a Maryland country club. Unconvinced that there is any upside to being a bridesmaid, New York City casting director Hannah nonetheless feels a sense of obligation when her dear college friend Bee requests her services. Aside from the bother of having to buy a special halter bra for the occasion, singleton Hannah is anxious about seeing her ex Tom, who will be there with his new girlfriend, a guidance counselor named Jaime. Staying with Hannah is another college friend, Vicki, a creative type with a dull corporate job in Rochester. She also has a mild case of depression that she combats with a special sunlamp she carries around in a guitar case. Vickie and Hannah's Texas friend Rob, alas, is a last-minute no show for the wedding, although his presence is missed. A laid-back underachiever with a tendency to disappoint people, Rob carries a torch for Hannah, although his only commitment is to his dog Liz, a rescue mutt with epilepsy. Through texts, he gets a play-by-play of the event, while struggling with his own mixed feelings—and a sudden emergency. To calm her pre-wedding jitters, Hannah mixes a couple of mystery pills (offered by the controlling matron-of-honor, Dawn) with alcohol, and proceeds to make a fool of herself during the inevitable confrontation with Tom, who remembers the end of their relationship far differently than she does. Inebriated as she is, Hannah catches the eye of Phil, a strapping young man who is only attending as a favor for his sick mother. And Vicki bonds with Bee's uncle Joe, a successful, divorced businessman from Las Vegas with a thing for wistful young brunettes. Funny and sad with easily identifiable characters, Boston Globe advice columnist Goldstein's debut makes the most of some very familiar scenarios. Charming wedding farce with a bit of depth.