Beth, newly graduated from university, has run away from home. Having agreed to organise her sister's wedding on a shoestring budget, her in-laws to be have lent her a cottage in the charming Cotswald village of Chippingford. Looking for work and some social contacts, Beth attends a village function at the falling-down village hall, where she meets Rachel and Lindy, the other young, single women of Chippingford. Rachel and Lindy have their own problems: Rachel is divorced and, although she bought her dream house and is living her dream life, is not as happy as she thought she'd be, while Lindy, at just 23 years of age is (as she calls herself) the youngest middle-aged woman in the world.
To build on their fledgling connection, the three women depart to the local pub and an idea is born: using each of their individual skills - Rachel with numbers and organisation, Beth with her web and marketing skills and Lindy with the local contacts and excellent seamstressing (is that a verb? It is now), the three women start a business that plans weddings on a budget. Frugal and sensible but not cheap, Vintage Weddings begins.
This novel is quite frankly charming and, as befits a charming novel, the highs and lows are gentle and easy. Each of the women is working through issues of their own. Rachel's organisation masks an OCD-like need for cleanliness and order. Beth acts more like a teenager with rebellion issues than a university graduate and Lindy has already given up on life to devote herself to her children. Of course, there are the requisite handsome and charming men to help them exorcise their demons: Raff, the raffish local scrapyard owner with the charming hoarder mother; Charlie, the scampish local farmer and Angus, an architect with an impractical dream. With the support of the village and some very good luck, Vintage Weddings begins to develop from an idea supported by a few glasses of red wine to a thriving business. The question remains, though - will Beth's sister be happy with the vintage wedding she is getting and will each of these women work through their own issues in order to recognise that true love is in their reach?
I read this book while on holiday and it seriously made me want to shift my holiday to a Cotswald village for a month. The descriptions of the village lifestyle - the charming scenery, the excellent local produce, the eccentric local characters - were delightful. Since unfortunately I can't actually head off to England for a month, I settled for making a nice wholemeal loaf of bread instead:
It was a pretty good substitute! A very nice no-stress read, three stars.