June 23, 2021
When he proposed, I had to pinch myself. Up until then, his most romantic gesture was buying me a 128-piece tool kit.
It’s normal to get cold feet, right? But what about a case of frozen get-me-the-heck-out-of-here feet?
When Natalie’s boyfriend gets down on one knee (even if it’s because he trips and drops the ring) it’s meant to be the start of their happy ever after. But planning a wedding to Archie feels like she’s competing in the Hunger Games…
- She’s up against a mother-in-law who enforces a pre-wedding diet with portions you need a microscope for.
- She’s cornered by a bridesmaid-zilla sister-in-law who forces her old wedding dress on Nat, featuring satin bows, way too much tulle and a bodice that Nat doesn’t even have the boobs for.
- She fends off a best man who tries to kiss her by kneeing him in the crotch.
- And she has to defeat a pushy wedding planner who insists on peacocks, doves and pink flamingos at the ceremony.
Nat would wear her battle scars with pride if Archie was by her side. But her fiancé is missing in action, refusing to help her deal with his diva family and going AWOL on the stag do. With just weeks to go, she might have to do the unthinkable… Is it too late to cancel? And if she’s not Archie’s bride-to-be then who on earth is she?
Archie is treating Natalie very sweetly and Nat’s first thought is that he must have done something wrong because isn’t this how guys act when they need to be forgiven? When they’re out-and-about, a spill brings Archie to his knees and while he’s there, he asks Nat to marry him. Although they haven’t been together long, she agrees in He’s Cancelled by Sophie Ranald.
I don’t usually waffle on reviews, but, be warned, this is going to be one carb-laden breakfast food review.
First off, I was so happy to read about the character of Natalie who is sporty, actually plays football (soccer to the Americans) and who is not obsessed with fashion, celebrity, and reality TV shows. She’s a physiotherapist who likes to eat and be comfortable. What a nice change of pace! Likewise, her fiancé, Archie is awkward but wonderful. He can cook like a gourmet but cause the kitchen to be a disaster zone as he goes. All of the characters are kind of quirky in their own way, likable and not likable at times.
He’s Cancelled is centered mostly around Nat’s future in-laws (mother and sister), planning her wedding for her in the way that her future SIL had planned her wedding that did not happen right down to making Nat choose the same dress. And, the “making” Nat choose is one of the problems with this novel. Nat lets people walk all over her and that is not a fun character quality to read about for pages on end.
Now, perhaps rightly or wrongly, I was waiting for the title to happen. I presumed the one to be “cancelled” was Archie. I was waiting for Archie to show his true colors and become a pig. In this case, the title is misleading, kind of like one of those headlines on grocery store rags or the bait-and-switch web articles that lead you to believe something that’s not true. No one was cancelled. In retrospect, I wonder how much I kept reading just to see that happen?
Besides Nat’s wedding planning, there is a lot happening with Nat’s mum, her grandfather, and best work friends. These are all likable characters and I enjoyed reading about them, especially the sweet grandfather and his cat, Theresa.
At some point though, I reached saturation when things just seemed to go on-and-on. Nat’s inability to act in her own best interest grew tiresome and then likewise Nat grew a little tiresome despite the fact that I had enjoyed her character up to that point. Some of the dialogue became passages of talk that did nothing to direct the plot and led me to believe that some ruthless editing would have been welcome.
Coincidence was also used a little to often. How often are you likely in London to be passing a restaurant and recognize someone sitting there? Once in a novel, but twice?
So, yes. He’s Cancelled was a book that I read and mostly enjoyed but which also tested my credulity and patience. There were funny bits and sad bits and it ended with covid bits. It did give me a taste of this author and her writing and intrigued me enough to want to read more of her books.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.