Sophie Breeze is a brilliant bridesmaid. So brilliant, in fact, that she’s made it her full-time job.
As a professional bridesmaid, Sophie is hired by London brides to be their right-hand woman, posing as a friend but working behind the scenes to help plan the perfect wedding and ensure their big day goes off without a hitch. When she’s hired by Lady Victoria Swann––a former model and “It Girl” of 1970’s London; now the Marchioness of Meade––for the society wedding of the year, it should be a chance for Sophie to prove just how talented she is.
Of course, it’s not ideal that the bride, Lady Victoria’s daughter, Cordelia, is an absolute diva and determined to make Sophie’s life a nightmare. It’s also a bit inconvenient that Sophie finds herself drawn to Cordelia’s posh older brother, who is absolutely off limits. But when a rival society wedding is announced for the very same day, things start to get…well, complicated.
Can Sophie pull off the biggest challenge of her career––execute a high-profile gala for four hundred and fifty guests in record time, win over a reluctant bride, and catch the eye of handsome Lord Swann––all while keeping her true identity a secret, and her dignity intact?
Oh, this book! Such a fun and unique premise!
Our heroine, Sophie, is a professional bridesmaid. Like all of you reading this review, I’m sure you must be confused – do you hire a professional bridesmaid if you have no one available to be a bridesmaid on your wedding? Nope. A professional bridesmaid is essentially a wedding planner. The main difference is that Sophie intentionally plays second fiddle to the bride – she’s there to make absolutely everything the bride wants happen, and given that she’s part of all the festivities, she can stop things from going wrong right off the bat. Also, as a p[us, Sophie makes the bride look super organized!
Anyway, I digress.
Sophie is hired by Lady Cordelia’s mother to be a professional bridesmaid for Lady Cordelia on her wedding (which is touted as the wedding of the decade). Cordelia is pissed, and she does what she can to make Sophie suffer. She asks for very impossible things, and she’s just a big pain in the ass. Our Sophie, however, is a pro, and sooner or later, she starts to win Cordelia over. And not just that, she and Cordelia also become friends. Add in to the mix Cordelia’s brother Tom, who Sophie starts to have feelings for. Trouble is, Tom knows her as Cordelia’s friend Emily, not as Sophie, the professional bridesmaid…
I really enjoyed how many layers The Secret Bridesmaid had. As mentioned earlier. there’s Sophie and Cordelia’s friendship, which I would say is the star of the book. Their hijinks were a lot of fun, and I loved seeing them get to know each other. Second, we have Sophie and Tom’s budding romance. Tom was so sweet and charming, and him finding any excuse to spend more time with Sophie was so cute. I did wish that their romance got more focus, as I would have loved more Sophie and Tom scenes. Lastly, and I think most importantly, we have Sophie’s character growth.
Sophie got out of an eight-year relationship a year ago, and she hasn’t really moved on, Her ex meanwhile was already in a relationship two months later after their break up, and Sophie just got his wedding invitation in the mail. Sophie is heartbroken, and she wonders if maybe she imagined their whole relationship. Maybe she messed up. How on earth did she have no idea that her ex wanted a break up? As the story progressed however, and we get more scenes with Sophie and he ex, we see Sophie realize that maybe she didn’t remember how she acted during their relationship after all. She didn’t remember how she purposely stood in the background so her ex can be the center of attention, and she didn’t remember his snide comments when she wanted to change something about herself. Seeing Sophie realize that she really did nothing wrong was empowering, and I was cheering her on as she finally moved on.
All in all, as if it’s not obvious yet, I adored The Secret Bridesmaid and I breezed through it. The characters were all fantastic, the premise unique, and I enjoyed how fast paced yet character driven the story was, I also busted a gut laughing at the whatsapp group chats snippets and email threads between Sophie and her different clients inserted throughout the book. This book really made me feel every emotion there is! I can’t wait to read Katy Birchall’s next book, and I hope that this is not the last we’ve seen of Sophie and the gang!