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The Rehearsals

Review

The Rehearsals

It’s rare to get do-overs on those big moments in our lives, a second chance to say or do the thing that you should have said or done the first time around. But that’s exactly what happens --- for better or for worse --- in Annette Christie’s debut novel, THE REHEARSALS.

Megan and her fiancé, Tom, have been together for 12 years, since they met when both were at Harvard. Now, as they approach 30, it’s high time they get married. They know they’re doing the right thing; they’re in love and looking forward to a happy, successful future together.

"Sustaining readers’ interest when the basic facts of the story are stuck on repeat is no easy task, but Christie changes things up just enough to keep us wondering...if this time around will be the one to break the cycle."

However, if they were being honest with each other, Tom might admit that Megan’s family is a bit of a mess, and their drama can be a distraction. And Megan might admit that she’s tired of Tom always siding with his family instead of with her. It doesn’t help that he’s a rising star in his dad’s law firm, so his overbearing family even guides his professional decisions. But none of this matters when you’re in love and you’re about to get married on beautiful San Juan Island. Or do they?

It turns out that Megan and Tom are keeping secrets from each other, secrets that --- when they surface in uncomfortable ways at their rehearsal dinner --- seem to reinforce their worst fears and resentments, not only about each other but also about themselves. They go to sleep that night in separate places, unsure what their rehearsal night blowup will mean for their wedding day --- and then they wake up the next morning and have to relive the whole thing all over again.

All in all, Megan and Tom are stuck on repeat for nearly a week’s worth of do-overs. Just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, they use the opportunity at first to make slightly different choices to see if the results differ (they don’t), and eventually make rash decisions and take huge risks…because, well, why not?

Sustaining readers’ interest when the basic facts of the story are stuck on repeat is no easy task, but Christie changes things up just enough to keep us wondering, as Megan and Tom do, if this time around will be the one to break the cycle. THE REHEARSALS isn’t just an exercise in playful storytelling, though. It also offers thoughtful reflections on what we marry into when we tie the knot: not just an individual, but also their family, their personal history, their priorities and their flaws. Making the conscious decision to acknowledge those shortcomings and still move bravely forward might be what it takes to finally find that happy ending --- but it might take a few tries to get there.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on July 23, 2021

The Rehearsals
by Annette Christie

  • Publication Date: July 13, 2021
  • Genres: Comedy, Fiction, Romance
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316592994
  • ISBN-13: 9780316592994