Before the Blog review – Don’t Tell the Groom by Anna Bell

I thought it would be a good idea to put all of my reviews in one place. I’ve therefore created a Before the Blog review page where all of these reviews can be found. I will hopefully be able to say where it was first posted and when I read it.

Title –  Don’t Tell the Groom

Publisher – Quercus

Originally posted – Goodreads

Read – 15-21 December 2013


Penny has big dreams for her wedding day. She wants an unforgettable celebration, perfect down to the last detail, and has been saving for ages to make her dream a reality. When Mark finally pops the question, it’s the best moment of her life.

Until Penny checks her wedding fund and is horrified to discover something has gone terribly wrong. There’s far less money than she’d thought… and it’s all her fault. She can’t tell Mark the truth about what she’s done, or admit how much time she spends gambling online. Her only choice is to seek help for her addiction and get married on a drastically smaller budget.

Working under the pretence of surprising Mark with her plans on their big day, operation ‘Don’t Tell the Groom’ rolls into action, with surprising, hilarious and often moving results.

Penny has dreamed about her perfect wedding for years. She has mood boards, Jimmy Choos and Vera Wang dresses constantly on her mind. The trouble is her boyfriend, Mark, as not yet proposed. When he does she is overjoyed. They had been saving for the wedding so Penny knows that her dream wedding will now become a reality. However when she looks at the bank statement instead of there being £15,000 there is only £5,000.

Penny knows that she occasionally plays online bingo but is astonished to discover she has lost over £10,000 to it. Instead of admitting this to Mark, she decides to plan the wedding on a budget and persuades Mark to go along with a ‘Don’t Tell the Groom’ theme.

I was sent a copy of this book by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

I have to start off by saying that at first I found Penny to be an annoying character. I had little sympathy for her that she ‘only’ had £5,000 to spend on her wedding, though that may be because I know from experience you can have the perfect wedding day on such a budget. She appeared selfish and self serving at first, sad because she couldn’t have the expensive dress or shoes, or the doves released at the castle reception. She was only concerned in keeping her gambling secret from Mark and not what he would want for his wedding day, and missed the fact that the wedding was just one day, failing to see the important thing was the marriage ahead. This however may have been the point, or at least part of it. As the story progresses you see Penny come to realise that the fancy cars and designer dress is not what she actually wants. She confronts her gambling addiction, finds inspiration in the most unlikely of places and makes genuine friends along the way. When it looks like the wedding may not take place she realises what is truly important.

This is a fun, easy read, I found myself flying through it towards the end. There are lovely characters to be found, with Mark, who obviously loves Penny, Penny’s friends, both old and new and Nanny Violet, who’s a driving force in the story.

There is another book featuring Penny coming out soon ‘Don’t Tell the Boss’ which I look forward to reading.

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