When a wedding invitation drops through her door, Anna has to face up to the memory of the one man she loved getting married to another. Helen Warner introduces us to Anna and Toby, university sweethearts who lost their way; Clare and James, a couple that have to face up to more than their fair share of challenges; and Ella, the femme fatale who has a change of heart.
Warner has written a very sweet novel in the form of RSVP, where interconnecting stories jump forwards and backwards in time, and plotlines intertwine. I enjoyed the format of the first half, as we gradually learn the circumstances of Anna and Toby's relationship, and how Clare and Ella fit into the tale.
As the storyline became more linear, I felt that the novel lost a little of its impact, in fact. I would have preferred to see the intertwining plotlines continue, since Warner created some delicious tension and cliff-hanger moments.
At times RSVP felt quite rushed - a lot of events occur, and I think the Warner could easily have made this into a 500 page novel and slowed down the pace somewhat. I would have preferred a sprawling look into the lives of these characters, and a more leisurely approach to the various pregnancies, marriages and arguments.
Also, after having built up the extreme love between Anna and Toby - it is a central part of the whole novel and very well-written - I fervently disliked the artificial bickering that Warner included in the final part of their story. It seemed so unnecessary. Since the love story was the warm heart to the rest of the tale, it seemed unfair to make the reader have any doubts about the ending to the book.
With that said, RSVP is indeed an extremely sweet novel, dealing as it does with a couple whose love literally conquers all. It took me a day or so to sweep through it and I enjoyed the escapism. I don't think it is all that memorable, but I can safely say I would read another book by this author.