Weddings in the Family
by Tessa McDermid
(Harl. Super #1565, $5.50, G)  ISBN 0373-71565-X
Caroline Eddington is about to watch her youngest child marry and then she is planning to ask her husband of 30 years for a divorce.  The story starts in the present but immediately returns to the past to tell the story of Caroline and Nick’s marriage. 

Caroline literally runs into Nick Eddington as he is running across campus and she is leaving her class.  It isn’t instant love, but they grew in their love and decide to marry.  Caroline has dreamed of getting her master’s degree and teaching for her whole life.  She is determined to have it all.  She grew up watching her mother put her dreams aside in order to support her father, whose work forced them to move all over the country all the time.  Caroline never felt like she had a home and is basically insecure because she kept having to pick up and start over.  She is determined to raise her family in one place and while helping her husband, she expects him to support her too.

Nick earns his degree and immediately gets a job. He understands Caroline’s dreams but sadly, his work as a contractor necessitates things he never anticipated.  First his new boss asks him to take over a new branch.  Caroline and he work it out by her staying and him traveling to the new city during the week and returning on the weekends.  It is hard, and they both hate it, but Caroline demands they do this so she doesn’t lose the job she loves.

When she gets pregnant, she ends the unrest by agreeing to move and it is her plan to settle in the little town where Nick is working.  But then other things happen and Nick loses his job to a member of his boss’s family.  The only work he can find is in another state.  So Caroline, against her better judgment and with some anger, movs again.

This story follows their lives as they experience everything a family with two children experience.  There are joys and sadness and hope and disillusionments; there are loving times and times where tempers flare and knowing how to make up can be as much fun as the upset is upsetting.  We meet Nick and all his good and bad points from Caroline’s perspective.  We get to know Adam, their son and Reese, their daughter as they grow up and find love themselves.

We explore Caroline’s life with her as she questions and sees things both as she felt them at the time and as she is looking back on them now.

This is a story of second chances and of long-term love, not the normal category falling-in-love story.  I liked the pace and enjoyed the view of a 30-year marriage…laughing at times and empathizing at times.  But I personally struggled with Caroline, who at times seemed to want things that most people can’t have and then she whines about it. It seemed like nothing is good enough and it is way too easy for her to criticize Nick, when some of what he does seems normal.  Maybe because I have been married for 29 years and experienced some of the same frustrations, I struggled with Caroline’s view on things.  The reality that marriage is hard and relationships do go through phases seems like a normal thing to expect, and these changes are what Caroline struggled with the most. That had me questioning her. And maybe because I really liked Nick, I struggled with Caroline’s criticism of him. It’s all these “maybes” that took away some of my pleasure in reading this story. 

Weddings in the Family may be a story that can warm your heart more than it does mine.  And maybe your “maybes” are different and you can gain more enjoyment out of this story than I did.  

--Shirley Lyons

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