What Fresh Hell by Lucy Vine
Publishing Date: 8th March 2018
Source: Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 304
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Have you ever spent a weekend with strangers you hate for a friend’s hen party?
Had to pay hundreds of pounds for that spa break all in the name of besties?
Lilah Fox has just returned from the hen party from hell, vowing to actually spend time with her boyfriend and focus more on herself. Then she gets the whatsapp from her best friend Lauren to say she’s just got engaged. And as maid of honour, Lilah just signed up for weekend wedding fairs and weekly planning meetings for the next year.
Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she’s about to discover a new fresh hell.
Having read and adored Lucy’s debut novel last year, I was really looking forward to her next book, you know, the dreaded second novel. And when my review copy arrived, I couldn’t hide my excitement and yes, I won’t be lying when I say I started reading it with great, great expectations. I mean, Lucy Vine has set the bar very high with “Hot Mess” but I was also absolutely sure she’s going to pull it off with “What Fresh Hell”.
I love stories about weddings. The more hilarious weddings, the better. Maybe because I am just like the main character Lilah – never dreamt of big wedding, meringue wedding dress and hundreds of guests. But I do love to read about such weddings. So this book follows Lilah, navigating through the many nuptials she keeps being invited to, together with juggling her job and private life – which, as it’s going to turn out, is not that simple! Then there is also THE wedding the plan – no, not her own but the one of her best friend, so it’s probably even more important than your own one. We see what Lilah is putting herself through, starting with hen dos, through panic buying presents and outfits to destroying your private life. There are also only so many ways of doing a spreadsheet for a wedding plans, right? And there are bridezillas and bridezillas, right? Lucy Vine brings this all to a different level, full of sarcasm, humour and hilariously funny moments.
Some of the best parts of the book were the weddings that Lilah has attended, the short summaries of them – hilarious guys, hilarious. And she also very soon finds out that there are only so many wedding gifts you can think about.
And! Under all this hilariousness and humour the author touched upon some important things as well, and I think the most meaningful was the journey of our main characters. I loved seeing how Lilah develops, grows and matures, how she learns to say “no”. Yes, at the very beginning I thought, oh my, girl, get a grip pretty please, stand for yourself, stop being such a doormat. I was really truly afraid that I’m not going to like Lilah. But very quickly I found myself growing very fond of her, and understanding her character so very much, with all her fears of missing something, of being left out. You know, she was really honest about this, and I liked it. It was like watching Lilah turning into this Hulk or whatever his name is, going stronger and more confident and I wanted to stand up, applaud and cry “go, girl!”. It took her some time, I must admit, but it didn’t bother me because, you know what, she was such a lovely person, she wouldn’t say boo to a goose and while it could be annoying, it was so well put into words, the author has created her character brilliantly, as well as the other ones of course! They were all big – mouthed and loud but they were so real in what they were doing and saying and they made me laugh.
It was a quick, fast – paced read, what with all the hen dos and their adventures! You could think, really, how often can you read about hen dos, but Lucy Vine has written them in a brilliant, refreshing way and even if some of them were your very typical dos, there were also some that totally took me by surprise, made me laugh out loud and ended in a very unconventional way. Brownie points to the author for turning predictable into full of surprises.
It was very, very honest, incredibly sharp – observed, very spot – on and hilariously funny. Sexy and filthy. bold. It brought wedding planning to another level, guys. It was full of embarrassing situations and the “oh no, no way, she didn’t do/say this” moments (Joely. I’m thinking about Joely here. Especially). “What Fresh Hell” was a story with a great range of characters, old and young, also touching upon some more serious issues, such as eventually learning to say no, that kept me so entertained! And I really liked the mini epilogue at the end of the book where we were informed what has happened with all of the characters – brilliant idea. Highly recommended!