Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman

  • cancel the wedding (Aug5)Title:  Cancel the Wedding: A Novel
  • Author:  Carolyn Dingman
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Southern
  • Published:  August 2014 – Harper Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?

Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her fourteen-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.

As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over?  (publisher)

My take:  Cancel the Wedding is the story of Olivia Hughes and her search for answers about her mother. Her search takes her to Tillman, Georgia where her mother grew up. It is there that, with the help of her niece and a very helpful local newspaperman, Olivia starts to figure out the mystery of her mother’s early life.

Carolyn Dingman filled her story with charming and eccentric characters. The story was funny at times and emotionally charged at others. Olivia needed to find answers in her own life as well as her mother’s. She knew she wasn’t headed in the right direction where her personal life was concerned so the time away afforded her the space she needed to figure things out. She hadn’t planned on meeting someone new on this quest. Elliot ended up helping her solve the mystery of her mother’s life before she met Olivia’s father. He also helped her see the possibilities in her future. 

The title Cancel the Wedding might make readers think this is a breezy chick lit novel but it is not. It’s the story about a young woman searching for answers from the past so that she can move forward. I enjoyed it very much and can’t wait to see what Carolyn Dingman writes next. Recommended to fans of Southern contemporary fiction.

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