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What Are Buzz Residents Reading?: Q&A with Stephanie Perkins

Cindy Burnett
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Stephanie Perkins

In this installment of "What Are Buzz Residents Reading," Stephanie Perkins recommends The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall.

This week I interviewed Houston author and Buzz resident Stephanie Perkins (her Ancestry Detective series is written under S.C. Perkins) about what she has read recently and loved. She selected The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall. The publisher says the book is “Matrimony meets mayhem in a modern British romcom about a young woman charged with pulling off the biggest aristocratic wedding of the year––and the misadventures that ensue.”

Houston author Katharine McGee enthuses about the book: “[w]ith a delightfully plucky heroine and laugh-out-loud hijinks, The Secret Bridesmaid gives the wedding rom-com a much-needed update: focusing on the friendships between women as much as the romance. Charming, escapist fun.” And Hannah Orenstein, author of the rom-com Head Over Heels, states that The Secret Bridesmaid is “[t]his laugh-out-loud funny rom-com provides the cheery escapism we all need these days. Sophie Breeze’s entertaining escapades read like 'The Wedding Planner' updated for the 2020s. The satisfying plot twists had me rooting for a cast of characters (some endearing, some delightfully prickly) that suddenly felt like friends. Charming, hopeful, and swoon-worthy enough to sweep even the most level-headed reader off their feet.” 

Here is what Stephanie has to say about it:

What is the best book you have read recently?

I could name so many! From thrillers to historical fiction and women’s fiction, there are some fabulous books out right now. But I am going to go with a British rom-com titled The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall. 

What did you like about it? What made it stand out to you? 

I picked up The Secret Bridesmaid on a whim late last year, when I was wanting something light, funny, and stress-free. I also love books set in England, of just about any genre, so I was sold upon reading the synopsis: Sophie, a London-based professional bridesmaid is hired by the mother of Cordelia Swann, a diva (and titled) society girl to both be Cordelia's bridesmaid and help plan the society wedding of the year, which includes Cordelia’s handsome older brother. I expected this to be your classic rom-com - which would have made me very happy, believe me! - but this one was not only hilarious and played out like a movie, but was also heartfelt as Sophie and Cordelia begin breaking down each other’s barriers. It was well written and just delightful in every way. 

How did you learn about the book?

I was in a bookstore and saw it on the table of new releases! Since then, I’ve seen numerous posts about it on Instagram from other readers who love it, and fellow Houston author Katharine McGee has a blurb right on the front cover (see above).

What are you reading now?

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve read because I’ve been hard at work writing! Specifically, my new series that I’m very excited about, which is a historical mystery that I’m announcing soon and is due out in 2023 from Minotaur Books. I’ll be publishing it under my new pen name, too, so please look for me under Celeste Connally (@CelesteConnallyWrites)!

However, last month I did get to sneak in the latest from one of my favorite series: The Hollywood Spy, by Susan Elia MacNeal. This is book #10 in the Maggie Hope mystery series, which are set during WWII and follow the intrepid Maggie Hope, an American-born British spy. I highly recommend these books, which have been an “auto-buy” for me since reading the first book, titled Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. In The Hollywood Spy, the story follows Maggie to 1943 Los Angeles, and along with the mystery, gives some great history on what was going on stateside during WWII. 

Editor’s note: For more on S.C. Perkins, read Cindy’s Q&A with this local author here.  

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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