This is an amusing novel about young people, with some astute insights into their values and relationships.
Sallie Muirden's Wedding Puzzle.
In Wedding Puzzle Sallie Muirden presents two complex characters: Beth, a capable, introspective young woman given to self-doubt and Jordan, a charming unselfconscious man.
It is Beth’s wedding day and she has arrived fairly early at the hotel in Portsea, Victoria, where her wedding to Jordan is to take place late that afternoon. In the intervening time, after a letter from a friend triggers doubts, Beth dithers about whether or not to call off the wedding. She lets her thoughts wander, recalling school days, family life and relationships with current and erstwhile friends. In this way, with numerous flashbacks, Sallie Muirden lets Beth tell her story.
Many of Beth’s memories are from her school days at Mornington Grammar. Those readers interested in the goings-on at a co-educational secondary school will be well rewarded, as Beth replays incident after incident in her mind while she watches the hotel staff prepare for the wedding feast and ponders on what she should do.
Too many flashbacks can be confusing, but the skilful and seamless way Muirden has let Beth tell her story makes her recounting of numerous past events meld easily into the flow of her current predicament, which is the commitment to a marriage that she regrets more and more as the day progresses, and of which she says, ‘So this is what our wedding day amounted to: a sophisticated and morally suspect enterprise in de-snagging.’
By the end of this novel the reader has a good understanding of Beth as a decent and caring human being who undervalues herself and sometimes finds it difficult to make up her mind. ‘Adventurous Beth opened her mouth to say yes but scaredy-cat Beth replied, “Sorry, can’t do that.”’ Readers will also become better acquainted with Jordan, who turns out to be a caring human being. Beth is deeply in love with him but finds it difficult that Jordan remains good friends with each of the women with whom he has had an intimate relationship.
This is an amusing novel about young people, with some astute insights into their values and relationships. Wedding Puzzle will most likely appeal to young adults, but probably has a wider appeal because it is also an entertaining love story. In addition, older readers might also enjoy its many recollections of the peccadilloes of youth.
Rating: 3 ½ stars ★★★☆
By Sallie Muirden
Imprint: Transit Lounge Publishing
Format: Trade paperback
Publication Date: 1 May 2019