The Garden Party by Grace Dane Mazur
A quiet story of how two families, one artistic and contemplative, and the other, practical and elitist, interact during a rehearsal dinner. Beautifully written, the author drops you into conversations and memories as the two families try to navigate new relationships and contemplate the state of their current lives.
The story is told in courses, just like a dinner party, with as many characters as ingredients. Adam Cohen and Eliza Barlow are to be married the next day and thrown a rehearsal dinner by Adam's parents Pindar and Celia. Pindar would rather be translating his ancient Babylonian tablets than assist his literary critic wife in navigating difficult dining choices and seating charts. Sara Cohen is trying to resolve her feelings for Dennis, a priest who can never marry. Naomi Cohen is still recovering from the traumatic stress of volunteering in an orphanage in Romania. The Barlows have their own personal dramas. Marriages falling apart, careers ending, and secret second families are camouflaged by stiff manners and high noses.
Meanwhile, throughout the preparation for and during the dinner, Adam and Eliza learn that the wedding will never be about them and their love for each other. Can they manage to elope while never leaving the table?
I really enjoyed this book. Straight-up literary fiction isn't something that I read often but I'm very glad for the opportunity to have read this.
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review this book.
You can get your copy here: