A young British woman’s storybook wedding to a rich man’s son is jeopardized by a long-buried secret.
Milly Havill has much to be joyful for as she prepares to wed devoted beau Simon Pinnacle, and she’s doing her best to suppress unease about her failure to mention the tiny fact that she’s already married. As a freewheeling teen, Milly spent a summer in Oxford, where she befriended two beautiful boys, Rupert and his American lover Allan, and readily agreed to “marry” Allan so that he might remain in England. She lost touch with them soon after the all-too-legal nuptials, but figured no one would ever find out. Enter Alexander, a smarmy photographer hired by Milly’s social-climbing mother Olivia to document the big day. As a scornful teenage boy, Alexander picked up Milly’s wedding veil when it blew off outside the registry office, and unfortunately for her he never forgets a face. Furthermore, he has a photo of Milly with Husband No. 1 and seems inclined to show it around. His taunts spur Milly to track down Rupert and Allan; what she finds is not what she expected. Meanwhile, the rest of her family has their own problems to deal with. Milly’s sensible, unmarried sister Isobel is pregnant and won’t name the baby’s father, while put-upon dad James contemplates leaving his wife after the ceremony. Simon resents his wealthy father Harry for trying to buy his love after abandoning him and his mother. Simon’s unhappy childhood and issues with trust add further complications to Milly’s lie, as the two eventually have to face facts about who they really are, and what they really want.
Wickham (Sleeping Arrangements, 2008, etc.) shines again.