More Than Just A Wedding by Nia Pritchard

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More Than Just A Wedding by Nia Pritchard

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: Shirl goes through the pre-wedding motions until the re-appearance of her ex gives her pause for thought. Slightly humorous, in retrospect. Good on the Scouse accent but little else to recommend it.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 292 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Honno Welsh Women's Press
ISBN: 978-1906784126

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If you like novels in which little happens as the story strolls towards its happy ending, then Nia Pritchard's sequel to 'More Than Just a Hairdresser' may suit you. If the Liverpudlian vernacular and setting pushes your buttons, then maybe you'll enjoy its light-hearted picture of Scouse life. My mother-in-law will probably love it. I'm sorry to say that it wasn't my cup of tea at all.

Shirl and her two teenage kids have temporarily moved in with her best friend, Oli. Shirl and Oli run a mobile hairdressing business and have also started an undercover detective agency. It's so secret that Shirl's fiancé, David, knows nothing about their detective work. Their clandestine activities lead to several embarrassing incidents. The learner detective sub-plot had humorous potential, but I was left wondering what exactly it added to the story as a whole. The main plot ambles along the nitty-gritty pathway of everyday life. It's mildly interesting, but my feeling is that the first 170 pages of the story need to be strenuously pruned of back story and repetition, and the best bits, like the Hen Party and the shambolic-detective work, need to be bigged up more.

The plot really starts moving when, a few days before her wedding, Shirl's former partner, Mike, surfaces in her life via a letter to their son, Jason. Given the warm, trusting and supportive relationships between the main characters in the story, I didn't understand why Shirl didn't discuss this development openly with her children and David. However, Shirl decides to confide only in Oli, who advises her not to be phased by the unwelcome attention of her ex. There is real potential for conflict in the plot, as Shirl secretly battles with her inner demons, considering calling off the wedding and giving the ex another go. At last there is some tension as Shirl meets up with Mike. But no, the conflict soon peters out in favour of a ten page description of The Wedding.

In my view, the characters are unrealistic and poorly developed. I know next to nothing about David, apart from reading his texts to Shirl. Why this particular pair have fallen for each other remains a mystery to me. Perhaps the first novel explored David to death, but their growing relationship appears to have hiccupped at that early stage when all you can think about is the other person's body. The main male figure, Shirl's gay best friend, Oli, has an angelic constitution, not turning a hair at being treated like a servant by two, often four, teenagers lounging around his immaculate home. Mmm … I don't think so.

There are stylistic errors (such as the omniscient viewpoint creeping in) which should be reasonably easy to fix. Sometimes the author seems unable to separate out appropriate language for diary, conversation and narrative strands of the story. I wonder, in the end, if the diary entries really work? With errors, repetitions and appallingly inconsistent punctuation detracting from my enjoyment, I also wonder if anyone read the final draft all the way through.

The Bookbag would like to thank the publishers for sending this book. Honno is a an interesting Welsh women's co-operative which has previously published Claire Peate, Lorraine Jenkin and Bethan Darwin (all recommended by The Bookbag.). My gut feeling is that More Than Just a Hairdresser might be a much better book for getting acquainted with Nia Pritchard's writing.

Buy More Than Just A Wedding by Nia Pritchard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy More Than Just A Wedding by Nia Pritchard at

Buy More Than Just A Wedding by Nia Pritchard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy More Than Just A Wedding by Nia Pritchard at


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