Rachel White, the only child of proper parents and a life-long good girl, has played second-fiddle to her best friend and then-neighbour, the beautiful, vivacious and generally magnificent Darcy Rhone, since elementary school. How could she not? Even Rachel’s mother prefers Darcy to her. Frustrated by her job as a junior lawyer in a prestigious firm, unhappily single but too busy to date, Darcy is startled to discover she’s thirty. And somehow, after the ‘surprise’ party Darcy throws, good girl Rachel finds herself in bed with her law school friend and Darcy’s fiancé, Dex.
It would be bad enough if it were a drunken one-off, but although she tries to tell herself she was drunk, Rachel knows she wasn’t that impaired. When Dex tells her that he wasn’t drunk either, that he’s attracted to her, that he still wants her, Rachel can’t help herself. Even though he’s Darcy’s, Rachel knew him first, was interested in and attracted to him first. Darcy always gets everything she wants, and she doesn’t appreciate Dex like she does – is it so wrong for Rachel to have just a little piece of the good life for herself? But as their September wedding approaches, maid of honour Rachel has to make some hard decisions about what’s right and wrong, and what kind of person she is.
This is a step above the usual chick lit froth – the characters are a little complicated, the portrayals of Darcy (who is shallow, scheming and manipulative) and Rachel (who is unable to see this) are particularly well executed, and the dilemma is powerful. Rachel does have a touch of Sookie Stackhouse about her – many men are attracted, for no obvious reason, and she has no idea they do – and the ending was a little too pat for my tastes, allowing the heroine to fully redeem herself while still holding on to her happiness, but it was an enjoyable enough journey that these are relatively minor quibbles. - Alex