I have read Susan Mallery's other works and for me the only one that I really do enjoy is the Blackberry Island series. Everything else has been hit or miss with me. This is a standalone novel and though I loved two characters from beginning to end (Charlotte and Quinn) everyone else was a meh (Sienna) and double meh to me (Rachel and the girl's mother (Maggie).
Daughters of the Bride revolves around the Watson family (Rachel, Sienna, and Charlotte) who are in the throes of the party planning for their widowed mother Maggie. Maggie has finally after decades alone found someone to fall in love with and marry. Her three daughters are happy for their mother and all are going through some changes in their lives as well.
Rachel is dealing with her fallout from divorcing her high school boyfriend Greg and joint parenting their son with him. Sienna is with a man that she knows that she feel more towards, but wonders if this is all she can expect in their relationship. Courtney is the black sheep of the family, she works as a maid in a boutique hotel with their family's long-time friend who owns the hotel.
So let's start with the good. I loved everything about Courtney's story-line. She's the youngest and seen as the screw-up due to her height and her inability to walk anywhere without knocking something over. Due to a learning disability school was hard and she quit as soon as she could and took up with some not great guys. Now she's working at a maid and is doing a lot to prove herself (in secret) to her family. Courtney definitely got things more than her sisters. And I liked that she finally stood up to her family and her mother regarding how they treated her for years.
Sienna I warmed up to in the middle of the book when you read more of her backstory and she starts to realize how terribly she treated her younger sister. Sienna knows that things between her and her boyfriend are not quite right, but she's still struggling through what is wrong.
Rachel I started out liking, but I really did hate what Mallery did with her character. To have a character who was cheated on and then have the whole thing end up being their fault because she ended up not showing her husband how much she needed him and oh she treated him like an overgrown child since he even admits that what he was doing, but still it's her fault? I hated the whole thing. I don't know why in romance novels we always punish the strong heroine unless it's in a regency romance novel and the same heroine is applauded for being ahead of her times and an Original.
Mallery doesn't spend much time with the mother of the group which I think was a missed opportunity. I really didn't care for her. Self absorbed throughout, and her immaturity when she realizes Courtney's secret was ridiculous. I also hated the fiancee too since he was overly indulgent with her and even rebukes Courtney when her mother is upset with her. Okay dude, not her dad, stay out of it. That's the other thing. The girls don't have a relationship at all with the fiancee which is weird. They all three think and talk about him in general terms.
Mallery chooses instead to include a male perspective into this read with the character of Quinn who is related to the owner of the hotel. I don't know why she did this, and know in retrospect get how odd it was since it breaks up the flow between the three daughters and then to have his POV included. Since Mallery doesn't do this with the other love interests (don't worry, not going to tell you who) it doesn't make any sense why she did this with him.
The other men in this book we don't get much to go by at all. I can honestly say I wasn't impressed with them at all.
The writing was good, I thought Courtney and Quinn's POV were more fun and also more real than the other two. Sienna doesn't really come alive til the middle/end of the book and I wish Mallery had shown her more at her job since I was more interested in her after we get to see how she does her job helping with battered women. I wish that Mallery had included more interactions with the three of them. I felt like I was reading three separate stories with a guy included until the very end.
The flow was good until as I noted above, Quinn's POV was included. It would have flowed better if the book had just stayed focused on the three sisters, with maybe some POV from the mother.
The setting of California was utilized a bit here and there. I guess I am just disappointed because Blackberry Island always reads like a real place with people. So far none of the books I have read (including Fool's Gold) touches that series.
The ending was a foregone conclusion. I wish that something had been changed up a bit, or it would have been great for the daughters as a whole to call their mother out on a lot of things that went on as they were growing up.