Librarian Frances Mainwaring narrates, blog-style, her journey through the year that her younger daughter, Angie, gets married. Readers are acquainted with Frances’ busy suburban lifestyle through her friends, the books she reads, the television she watches, her collections of letters and her hardworking husband, Phil, who plays golf incessantly at weekends. Their serious older daughter, Sophie, works in an orphanage in Cambodia, returning occasionally with needy orphans. In March Angie becomes engaged to her successful web designer boyfriend, Tom.
In April at the engagement party we meet Frances’ friends and the prospective bridal party, including the unreliable bridesmaid who falls pregnant during her HSC. In May, tensions begin when Fran and Phil decide to renovate their old Californian bungalow. Phil’s father dies and Angie delivers a moving elegy. At his father’s wake, Phil, a counsellor at the university, casually introduces Fran to his young clinical placement student, Rima.
Fran manages the renovation that handsome builder, Nick, is employed to carry out. In June the family organises a winter garden make-over to prepare the back yard for spring planting. In July Angie and her red-headed friend, Ness, choose dresses for the bride and maids. August sees economically prudent Tom and Angie arguing about expensive wedding photographers. In September the family holds a spring garden blitz, planting one hundred red-hot pokers to flower for the wedding.
Fran’s tension mounts as problems increase with her boss from hell (the BFH). Fran and Phil fight about helping Angie and Tom financially. October and November see Fran becoming more frazzled; she blogs her way through shopping malls with recalcitrant shopkeepers, parking stations that increase their prices without notice, underwire bras that scratch and itch, control underwear that makes her feel like a sausage and Indian telecom companies that make communications impossible.
In December, despite Fran’s plans for a romantic weekend on the south coast, Phil plays golf and leaves Fran to reminisce alone about her grandfather’s time in a prison farm at Eden. On a sweltering day in January Angie and Tom are married on Turimetta Beach between two red Balinese flags.
Things go from bad to worse…