The Wedding Dress


SKU e-book Category

175 in stock


By Jen Syrkiewicz

ISBN: 978-1-84991-187-0
Published: 2010
Pages: 184
Key Themes: fiction, love, betrayal, relationships, bipolar affective disorder


‘The Wedding Dress’ is a novel about love, betrayal, and friendship. It plots the narrative of Imogen, whom we meet for the first time on the eve of her wedding day. A dreamy and hopeful character, Imogen is shocked by the realities of marriage and the ensuing relationship troubles which take place between herself and her husband.

With themes such as abortion, madness and the coming of age, ‘The Wedding Dress’ catalogues the pitfalls of modern relationships, highlighting the sense of bewilderment with which humanity approaches life in a complex and troubled time.
Combining humour with heart-wrenching portrayals of emotional breakdown and the destruction of relationships, ‘The Wedding Dress’ is a modern classic, which blends sorrow and joy in equal measure to create an unforgettable novel.

About the Author

Jennifer Syrkiewicz has been writing all her life, drawing from a mixture of personal experience and imagination to inform her fiction. Her favourite authors are Modernist writers such as Virginia Woolf and Jean Rhys, who capture emotion perfectly through the use of language.

Jennifer was born in 1976, in Yorkshire. A childhood spent in the countryside has left Jennifer with an affinity for nature, and this informs much of her poetic writing.

Diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder, Jennifer wrote her first novel, ‘Gardening in the Dark’, to raise awareness of the condition and express how Bipolar affects the lives of both the person diagnosed, and those around them. She set up the first support group for the condition in York, last year.
Following a meandering trail across the UK to attend various universities, she is now happily settled in North Yorkshire with her husband Paul and two boisterous dogs. She runs a small Communications company that specialises in blogging, and spends most of her time blogging, writing articles and producing fiction and poetry.

Book Extract

Chapter One

In the half-light caused by the weak morning sun struggling into the room, she had a brief reprieve. She didn’t fight the luxurious moments that came between sleep and wakefulness, but preferred to stretch out under the bedcovers, in the perfect warmth created by a restless night, where the entire bed was slept in and all four corners held the heat of her body. She came to consciousness slowly, becoming aware of the dim winter morning, her limbs, the room. It was a full few minutes before reality shocked her into complete wakefulness, bringing with it the enormity of the day. She sat up quickly. Sleep left, leaving only the tiredness of the day before, as if her emotional state instantly took control of her physical body, causing her arms and legs to ache with apprehension and tense in readiness.

It was today. A Saturday, insignificant usually apart from heralding a day away from work, more sleep, friends, family. Today’s Saturday was to be different. Her wedding day. Less sleep, more friends, more family. Looking across the room nervously, Imogen saw her wedding dress hanging on the back of the door. She smiled ruefully. It was a beautiful dress, carefully shaped and fitted to her frame. It was the first dress she had ever owned, and it seemed strange that for all the effort, the cost and attention paid to the garment, it would only be worn for one day, and then probably cleaned and consigned to some loft space or attic room for eternity. She twisted her engagement ring absent-mindedly, turning it round her finger. Marriage. She didn’t feel prepared for marriage today. She would much rather have had a bath, read a book, pottered down to the bar for a pint and lunch, then gone back home to catch up with the weekend chores, in readiness for work on Monday. Imogen hadn’t really thought about it properly, and her stomach tightened with fear as the day’s enormity dawned on her. One man for the rest of her life. Today, her adopted father would give her away, just as if she hadn’t moved from the parental home years and years ago, as if she didn’t wake up every morning in the damp patch created by herself and Mark, her husband-to-be.

She had thought when she was young that marriage would seem completely right and appropriate when it happened to her – that there would be no questions or doubts; the end result of a perfect courtship. Real life felt different from her expectations. Marriage wasn’t magical; it was the practical, expected result of staying with the same person for a significant amount of time. When they had first met in the office and started dating, no-one had any expectations, but over the months the questions had started with monotonous regularity. When would they be married, what were the plans, when can we hear the peal of wedding bells? They had fallen into it like a jogger running monotonously down a straight path. Ho hum, and then we are to be married. Today. Marriage as a convention to keep them all quiet for six months, before the tedious and irritating questions about children would begin.

Imogen looked around the hotel room, taking absent-minded satisfaction in her sumptuous surroundings. It was a good room, less impersonal that most she had stayed in. The bridal suite. The pictures were more personalised to the momentum of the day – couples entwined, walking along anonymous beaches arm in arm, a scene on a balcony. Breakfast. Wedding breakfast. A strange term for the planned feast to celebrate the day. The room was carpeted and painted in red and gold hues, in homage to older traditions. Tonight she would make love to her husband in this room. She would sleep with Mark on this bed, as his wife. The thought didn’t have as much of an impact on her as she would have hoped. The child in her, little Imogen, the romantic girl who had dreamed of this day, turned away from her in her mind and trailed a lacklustre hand over her hair, petulant and disappointed. Long-forgotten images of white knights in armour, galloping over the fields to rescue her from a life of poverty passed through her mind, mocking her. At least he was rich. At least they would be comfortable together. Comfortable like slippers. Comfortable like a good cup of tea on a dank grey day.

Slipping out from between the bed sheets, she padded over to the other side of the room and opened cupboard doors and drawers until she found the kettle. A cup of tea on her wedding day. The incongruity of this simple thing with the enormity of the occasion made her smile to herself as she filled the kettle and set it to boil. She turned over the coffee and tea sachets with mild interest. Imogen had always liked hotel rooms, the things they offered. A sewing kit in case you lost a button. A packet of biscuits, a shoe shine, a shower cap. The things you would never need at home, but miss if they are not provided in a hotel room. She never quite escaped a childish delight in these things, hoarding small vials of shampoo and soap, taking them home, never to be used but irresistible in their tiny packages.

She jumped slightly at the click of the kettle, and turned her attention back to making the tea. She could hear the sound of other couples stirring in the rooms next to her. Married couples? Lovers? There seemed to be a gaping chasm between the two types. Lovers would have used the room to its full potential, used the bed, the sofa, the chairs, the bath. Married couples perhaps would have slept neatly, waking to each other with the sheets still tucked into hospital corners. Serene and placid couples with slippers, and books on the bedside table. Snoring together into old age and obscurity, without knowing the decadent pleasure of taking a hotel room for a wild night, forgetting the uncertainty and fear of youth and passion. She stirred the tea slowly, looking around for somewhere to deposit the bag. Those small cartons of milk, impossible to open. She spilled a little and traced a pattern on to the tray. The room was too quiet. Walking back to the bed and climbing in, Imogen sought the warmth of the night and found it unwelcoming and damp. How many people had slept in this bed, made love, dribbled and spurted and sweated into the sheets? How many times did they wash the spread, erasing the marks of the couples who had used it? Her bed, her cover last night. Theirs tonight. Another wedded couple tomorrow. The bed, the room, would see an endless procession of people united. If it could lay odds on the success of their future, what would they be?

1 review for The Wedding Dress

  1. Jeremy Youngman (verified owner)

    The Wedding Dress is a novel about love, friendship and betrayal; a story of hope, expectation and tolerance; a tale of family, maturity and independence. It is also an account of two worlds colliding: wild mania and scrupulous obsession, Imogen and Mark, chalk and cheese…

    The Wedding Dress charts the story of Imogen, a vivacious young lady who falls in love with the attractive, mild-mannered Mark. The pair marry and, at first, their contrasting personalities appear to complement each other as both find in their partner what they themselves lack. However, Imogen’s plans for a family are put in jeopardy and – despite joint counselling and separate advice from friends – Imogen and Mark find it increasingly difficult to sustain their relationship. They may seek romance in the dunes, and adopt a stray dog named Biscuit, but will it be a holiday abroad (designed to cement their marriage) which forms the real turning point? Or perhaps something closer to home…

    Yet again, Jennifer has woven another intriguing and thoroughly absorbing story which will keep the reader in suspense until the very end.

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