Book Review: The Stag and Hen Weekend by Mike Gayle

Phil is thrilled that Helen has finally accepted his proposal, even though he practically had to bully her into it. But before the big day, there's still one last ordeal to overcome: His stag weekend in Amsterdam. Because even with his mates all pushing forty, it's guaranteed to be less about clogs and tulips and more about getting off their faces and trawling bars for girls.
But when Phil gets talking to one such girl, everything changes: not because he fancies her, or even because she's pretty but because they have much in common, even if neither of them knows it yet.
Helen loves her boyfriend Phil, so why with a week to go has she yet to buy her wedding dress? Convinced it's a case of cold feet, she lets her friend Yaz talk her into celebrating with a Hen weekend at a luxury spa hotel.
Arriving at The Manor, Helen is expecting a weekend of champagne, pampering and laughs with old friends. The one thing she hasn't planned for is running into her ex-fiance, the man who broke her heart, the man who has a secret he's desperate the share.
Told as two separate stories that have implications for both Helen and Phil's future happiness, The Stag and Hen weekend is a fresh and original story of a couple trying to get it right and all too often getting it spectacularly wrong. 
The Stag and Hen Weekend is a really good read and I love the idea of having two books in one. It took me a while to decide which half to start first but I decided that I have never and will never go on a stag weekend so thought I would see what that was all about first. And I have to admit  that I enjoyed Phil's half of the book more than Helen's, I'm not sure why but I liked him a lot more as a character.
Mike Gayle keeps a good pace throughout, I was worried that I would find Helen's story repetitive after reading Phil's as there are certain points where they are together. However, this just didn't happen, instead you get to know both characters extremely well. They are both having doubts about the wedding and this concept gives you both of their perspectives where as normally you just get one half of the story in a book like this.
I have said in the past that I don't read a lot of books by male authors but Mike Gayle has once again shown me that I am clearly missing out. It was really refreshing to have a male central character as well as a female. In most of the books I read, the male is the support character or a plot device but as I said I actually found Phil's story more entertaining.
I have read and enjoyed a couple of this author's other books in the past but this one is definitely my favourite. It is a very clever idea and I think that The Stag and Hen weekend will appeal to many readers.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 4/5

May thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for sending me a copy of this book to review. It is published in February 2012.


Verity said...

This sounds like a good one - too bad it's not out yet. Think I've read most of the rest of Mike Gayle's books!

Dot said...

Verity- He's good isn't he! He came to my secondary school to do a talk about being an author and he seemed really lovely!

Jo said...

I have read Mike Gayle books in the past but not for a long time. I always enjoyed them so will look for this in the new year.

One More Page said...

This sounds like a fun read and somehting a little different. I haven't read anything by Mike Gayle before so will have to give it a try!

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