The Wedding People by Alison Espach Book Club Questions

I recently read The Wedding People by Alison Espach, and I think it would make a great book club pick – especially for summer! It’s a contemporary fiction (with a little romance) that touches on deeply emotional topics, but is also laced with humor and heart. Below, I’m sharing my thoughts on this novel, plus a character list and book club questions for The Wedding People to help inspire your discussion!

The Wedding People paperback book sitting on a white fireplace mantel with two marble candle holders behind it

*Note: I received a gifted advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own. You can read my disclaimer policy here.

What is The Wedding People about?

After years dreaming of traveling to the Cornwall Inn in Newport, Rhode Island, Phoebe Stone arrives – but without her husband, and feeling like she’s hit rock bottom in her life. And as it turns out, she’s the only guest at the hotel that isn’t there for a wedding.

After a chance encounter, she and the bride-to-be find themselves confiding in each other. In fact, they tell each other truths they wouldn’t admit to anyone else.

This is a story about how the connections we make with others – no matter how small or random they might seem – can have a huge effect on the paths our lives take.

(This story does delve into some deeper topics, so I recommend looking up trigger warnings if needed!).

The Wedding People book cover

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Publication date: July 30th, 2024

My Thoughts

This book surprised me (in a good way)! Going into it, I expected more of a light and bubbly summer read, and while it does have a summer vibe, it’s quite deep and ended up really drawing me in, emotionally.

With a focus on mental health, the story balances tugging at your heartstrings with a semi-dark sense of humor. It features an intriguing cast of flawed yet (mostly) lovable characters that feel real, but also larger-than-life. I loved the coastal hotel setting, too – it was its own character, in a way.

The story took turns I wasn’t expecting, and I never wanted to put it down. I really felt for Phoebe and wished I could reach into the story and give her a big hug.

Lila’s over-the-top wedding was also so entertaining to read about. I was fascinated by her and Phoebe’s budding friendship and the changes they both experienced throughout the story.

If you’re looking for a deeper summer read that will make you feel all the feels, I highly recommend this one!

(This is on my list of the best seasonal summer book club books and the best book club books of 2024!)

The Wedding People Character List

If you need a recap, here are the major characters in this novel:

  • Phoebe: the only non-wedding guest staying at the hotel, a Victorian literature professor
  • Lila: the bride-to-be, works at an art gallery (that her mother owns?)
  • Gary: the groom-to-be, also a widower and father
  • Matt: Phoebe’s ex-husband
  • Patricia: Lila’s mother
  • Juice (also known as Melanie): Gary’s 12-year old daughter
  • Marla: Gary’s sister
  • Jim: Gary’s best man and his former wife’s brother
  • Wendy: Gary’s wife who passed away, mother of Juice & sister of Jim
The Wedding People paperback book sitting on a white fireplace mantel with two marble candle holders behind it

The Wedding People Book Club Questions

And now, here are some book club questions for The Wedding People to discuss during your book club meeting:

  • What were your overall thoughts on this book? What would you rate it (out of 5 stars)? Would you recommend it to a friend?

  • Which format did you read this book: in print/e-book or did you listen to the audiobook? Would you recommend it in that format?

  • What was your first impression of Phoebe? What about Lila?

  • Why do you think Lila and Phoebe were able to form a connection so quickly? What did you think about their relationship?

  • Which overarching themes did you notice in this story?

  • What was your favorite thing about Lila’s wedding week? Least favorite? If you’ve been married, did anything remind you of your own wedding?

  • Would you want to visit the hotel from this book? Why or why not? Have you ever been to a town similar to the setting in this book?

  • Which character did you relate to the most? Why or why not?

  • Which character did you dislike the most? In your opinion, did they redeem themselves at all throughout the story, or no?

  • What did you think about Patricia (Lila’s mom) and their mother-daughter relationship?

  • How do you think Phoebe’s childhood affected her as a person?

  • What did you think about Phoebe and Gary’s connection? What bout Lila and Jim?

  • Were you surprised by what happened between Phoebe and her ex-husband (Matt) toward the end of the story? Why or why not?

  • Why do you think Lila felt like she had to be a different person/not her true self around her friends and family? Have you ever felt like that?

That’s it – I hope you found The Wedding People as compelling as I did! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

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