Tif Marcelo comes to the blog with a story of family, hope, heart and plenty of change in
The Key to Happily Ever After
Set in Washington, D.C. the de la Rosa sisters, Marisol, Jane and Pearl are wedding planners and now the co-owners of the family business Rings and Roses, a well-established wedding planning service founded by their mother. Mari, as the oldest, has stepped into the role of CEO, with Jane handling the financial end of things, Pearl the social media, and all 3 working the ‘day of’ events and pitching in to service their brides as needs must. As the eldest and most organized, Mari is a bit of a martinet with her lists, lists to check lists, and obsession with the lists. She’s so afraid of making a mistake and bringing up her less than ‘perfect’ choice of a man when she was just 21, that she’s internalized all of the business’ successes, and rarely has room for the ‘things that happen’. And she’s got a great ‘smooth the waters’ person in Pearl, who is desperate to be moved up the chain to ‘actual wedding planner’ and not just an assistant or one who handles the day of events, many involving ‘family’ and friends. Jane, the middle sister spends much of her time mediating between Mari and Pearl: the two are so similar in their up and down view of themselves (one mistake means disaster, smooth sailing is euphoric) and trying to raise her little boy Pio all by herself that she’s got her hands full with clients and her sisters.
Oh this was such a fun story: from tying the girls solidly into their Filipino-American community and the rafts of “family’ that brings, to the food, the life-long friendships, their ties to tradition and a solid belief and enjoyment in the bride’s day, they have struggled with the transition to ownership and just how things will work, and constantly Mari is worried about Pearl. Desperate to protect her from the world and the hurts that come, Pearl is chafing at the micromanagement. Someone who has always marched to her own drum, Pearl isn’t one who clings to ‘time’ or schedule, finds Mari’s lists a pain in the ass, and she’s desperate to move up and get a ‘top’ (full control of the wedding planning for a bride) of her own. If not, she’s sure she’ll go elsewhere or start her own thing: she’s got the experience, the connections, and clients just love her way of managing issues and calming the waters. Of course, much of the book is going to center on Pearl’s journey and her struggles with Mari, and things take an even more startling turn when they realize that the books for the business are tragic.
From the squabbles between the sisters, the old issues raising their head for Mari, Pearl’s confusion and return of her childhood crush, Jane’s health and her worries for Pio with his wish to know his father, as well as the girls’ inability to ask (mostly fear based) their mother about the business debts and inventory discrepancies, things are pretty chaotic and being the ‘people’ for some of their clients isn’t easy. Mari’s current top is a lovely woman with a fiancé that instantly sets Mari on edge with a step-brother who happens to own the house next door, Pearl is constantly calming the frenetic arguments for ‘cousins’ planning a 40th anniversary and chasing a top, the Washington ‘It” girl has yet to announce her engagement or pick a planner. Enter the romantic elements as Pearl starts to see her best friend’s brother with the eyes she did as a teen – major crush alert. And Mari and her worries for her top’s relationship, as well as her affection for her stepbrother has her all in a twist, trying to maintain her control and finding bits slipping through the cracks like water through a hand. Marcelo has given us a family to enjoy, full of cultural references, food and plenty of heart on the way to this happy and hopeful ending and jumping into my favorite read pile!
Title: The Key to Happily Ever After
Author: TIf Marcelo
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Humor elements, Interracial, Multi-Cultural, Romantic Elements, Second Chance
Published by: Gallery Books
Published on: 14 May, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours
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A charming romantic comedy about three sisters who are struggling to keep the family wedding planning business afloat—all the while trying to write their own happily-ever-afters in the process.
All’s fair in love and business.
The de la Rosa family and their wedding planning business have been creating happily ever afters in the Washington, DC area for years, making even the most difficult bride’s day a fairytale. But when their parents announce their retirement, the sisters—Marisol, Janelyn, and Pearl—are determined to take over the business themselves.
But the sisters quickly discover that the wedding business isn’t all rings and roses. There are brides whose moods can change at the drop of a hat; grooms who want to control every part of the process; and couples who argue until their big day. As emotions run high, the de la Rosa sisters quickly realize one thing: even when disaster strikes—whether it’s a wardrobe malfunction or a snowmageddon in the middle of a spring wedding—they’ll always have each other.
Perfect for fans of the witty and engaging novels of Amy E. Reichert and Susan Mallery, The Key to Happily Ever After is a fresh romantic comedy that celebrates the crucial and profound power of sisterhood.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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