Monday, June 6, 2016
Happy Pub Day - Excerpt and Giveaway: The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner
Eight Months before the Wedding
It was an all hands on deck kind of night. At least that’s how it felt to Meryl. Unfortunately, judging by everyone else in her family, she would be doing the heavy lifting alone.
It was only noon, but in her nervous excitement, Meryl couldn’t wait to put out the good dishes. She hated to put too much pressure on this dinner, but she felt an overwhelming sense that everything had to be absolutely perfect. She couldn’t help but fuss.
“Remember, honey, it’s not about you,” Hugh had said on his way out the door earlier that morning, a comment that both rankled her and served as useful caution.
“I’m doing this for Meg,” she had responded in a huff. He had kissed her on the forehead with a knowing smile, squeezing her hand.
They were finally meeting the parents of the man her daughter was going to marry. Meryl had read up on them in The New York Times and Vanity Fair, even seen them on CNN, but that had only served to put her ill at ease. They’re just people, she reminded herself. And we’re going to be family.
She dialed her mother’s cell phone despite knowing she wouldn’t answer. At eighty-six, her mother did not embrace technology and had yet to ever answer – and she made no apologies for it. Still, Meryl felt more comfortable knowing she had one, though in that particular moment it served only to increase her frustration.
“Mother, it’s me. I just want to make sure you’ll be ready for me to pick you up at three for the dinner tonight? Please. It’s important to us.”
She hesitated, wondering if she should sign off with “I love you” or “Looking forward to seeing you.” But that’s not how they spoke to one another, and it would seem odd to tack it on now – desperate. Like Meryl needed her there tonight. Except, she did. Meryl hoped beyond hope that, for just one night, they could seem like a normal family. If not for her own sake, then for her daughter’s.
That was the thing about weddings: they forced family members to deal with one another, like it or not.
Meryl drew back the dining room curtains and gazed out at the East River. The view was the best thing about their apartment, her favorite part of her home of the past twenty years. She always found it so calming. Meryl couldn’t imagine living anywhere in Manhattan without a view of the water. But then, there had been a time when she couldn’t imagine the girls being grown up and gone from the nest. And now it was normal not to see them for weeks at a time. More and more lately, it was as if Meryl needed an excuse to see them – to tear them away from their very busy lives.
She missed them.
Meg, Amy, and Jo. Named for the heroines of their father’s favorite Louisa May Alcott novel, the much-cherished novel that had set the course for his entire professional career – and their romantic life, if she was being honest.
Carrying the names of literature’s most beloved sisters was a lot to live up to, but Meryl felt that her girls did the originals justice. They had equally as distinct personalities – Meg, the easy daughter. Amy, endlessly dissatisfied. And Jo, the rebellious tomboy with the world’s biggest heart.
Meryl found it infinitely fascinating to watch them clash with and complement one another as they grew up, in a constant primal dance of love and hate, envy and unconditional love. Meryl was an only child, and she took immense joy in bearing witness to sisterhood. She had often felt lonely as a child, much the way she did now.
If only it wasn’t so difficult these days to get them all in one damn place.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Brenner is the author of THE WEDDING SISTERS (St. Martin's Press.) She grew up in suburban Philadelphia and graduated The George Washington University. Today she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters and is always on the hunt for her next great read.
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