Perhaps this happens to everyone. You hear about a book and think "I need to read that." But you are busy, there is a long waiting list, and you put it off. That was my experience with Maggie Shipstead's debut novel "Seating Arrangements." When I learned that Shipstead has a new novel coming out in April, I finally read her first book.
"Seating Arrangements" appears to be a typical family drama centered on a wedding. The Van Meters are hosting the wedding of daughter Daphne at their summer home on an island. The family faces challenges beyond normal wedding chaos.
Daphne's younger sister is struggling after a devastating breakup with the son of a family friend. The bride is seven months pregnant. One of the bridesmaids, described by all as "trouble," has intensified a long-standing flirtation with Winn, the father of the bride. Winn is morose over his inability to gain membership to an exclusive golf club on the island.
The conventional wedding hijinks recede to reveal a poignant story about the roots of a middle-aged man's insecurities and his feelings of alienation from his family. If this book is on your reading list, move it to the top.
--Jennifer A., Headquarters