We always look forward to hearing from Dorothy Caldwell Minor, aka The Book Whisperer.

“I am an avid reader and also enjoy Indie and foreign movies. I retired from teaching English at Tulsa Community College after teaching as an adjunct first and then twenty-four years as a full-time faculty member. I was also involved in faculty development, planning and facilitating workshops for colleagues. I like technology and using technology to enhance learning. As an adjunct, I started a book club on campus, and it is still going strong thirty-one years later! I also belong to two other book clubs.I’ve included a picture from a Chautauqua Tea at TCC, complete with hat and brooch! I enjoy collecting vintage rhinestone brooches.”

Dorothy’s book club, Circle of Readers:

“We meet twice monthly. The first of the month, we all read a book and discuss it; the second time we meet, we discuss other books we’ve read. We enjoy inviting authors to join us! We have 20 members, and we are located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. We are currently reading When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann and enjoy reading fiction, historical fiction, memoir, nonfiction, YA.”

Read on for Dorothy’s review of The Little French Bridal Shop by Jennifer Dupee:

Now, here’s an interesting premise for a story: A 40-year-old woman buys a wedding dress even though she has no current fiancé and no wedding plans. What will come next? A wedding with no groom? No wedding at all, just a dress? The Little French Bridal Shop by Jennifer Dupee will reveal all. Readers will do well to remember the adage: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when once we practice to deceive.”

Larisa Pearl inherits her great-aunt Ursula’s home in a small seaside town in Massachusetts, the town where Larisa had grown up. Having lost her job and broken up with her boyfriend of two years, Larisa is somewhat emotionally distraught. Add to her own problems, her parents have retired and moved to a retirement community; her mother is showing the first signs of dementia. Thus, Larisa plans to stay in town long enough to sort out her great-aunt’s estate, sell the house, and move on.

As Larisa passed The Little French Bridal Shop on Main Street, she impulsively enters the shop, just to look around. Mrs. Muldoon, her eighth-grade English teacher, has retired from teaching and has opened the bridal shop. Mrs. Muldoon recognizes her immediately and assumes Larisa is getting married and thus needs a wedding dress. As much as Larisa protests, Mrs. Muldoon ignores the protests and pushes Larisa into a dressing room.

After trying on dress after dress, Larisa and Mrs. Muldoon are both satisfied with a particularly flattering dress. Larisa finds herself pulling out her credit card and paying for the non-refundable dress. Over the course of trying on the dresses, she has told Mrs. Muldoon the wedding will be the following June, giving her eight months to plan the wedding.

Readers may not be surprised to learn that this nonexistent wedding takes on a life of its own with Larisa planning what flowers she will have at the wedding too. Still, there is no groom. Larisa pushes that thought out of her mind. After all, weddings have been called over before.

As Larisa surveys Aunt Ursula’s home, she discovers water damage from a leaking pipe. It has damaged wallpaper and boards behind the wallpaper. Enter Jack Merrill, a high school friend, who does construction work and repairs. Jack’s life has become increasingly complicated. His marriage to his high school sweetheart is failing; the two have preteen triplet boys. An aside, Jennifer Dupee is herself one of three fraternal triplets.

Holly, Jack’s wife, becomes fed up and kicks Jack out of the house. Although Jack pleads for another chance, Holly says they need time apart. Jack asks Larisa if he can stay in a room in Ursula’s home for a short time. Readers should remember that Jack and Larisa were high school classmates, but they have never been romantically involved. They are friends. Ursula’s home is quite large enough that the two can stay out of each other’s way.

Quickly, though, Larisa confides in Jack what she has done about buying the wedding dress and making up a wedding date. Jack shares his marriage troubles and the fact that he hasn’t been the best husband he could be although he has been a good father. Larisa and Jack continue to share confidences about the mistakes they have made in their lives. Jack is working on restoring the house and Larisa helps as much as she can.

Clearly, Larisa and Jack both lead complicated lives. Readers will be interested in whether Jack can repair the damage to his marriage and whether Larisa will find a groom or cancel the non-wedding. Readers seeking a novel with an off-beat premise will find The Little French Bridal Shop a frolic in fun.

Jennifer Dupee wants to Skype or Zoom with book clubs. For me as a book club leader, finding authors willing to meet with our group is always a plus.

Be sure to visit Dorothy’s website, Parkdalear’s Blog, and watch for her reviews of our NovelNetwork authors featured there, and shared right here at NovelNetwork.com.