The Little French Bridal Shop

by Jennifer Dupee

(St. Martin’s Press, 2021)

“The Little French Bridal Shop is a compelling debut that explores grief, love, and finding yourself.” —Booklist

“Charming, unpredictable, and wise . . . A wonderful emotional debut.” —Marjan Kamali, author of The Stationery Shop

Many young women dream of the dress they will wear on their wedding day. But what if there is no wedding planned? First-time novelist Jennifer Dupee explores the emptiness and loss of identity one encounters when a loved one dies. The story evolves when her main character, Larisa Pearl, returns to  the small seaside hometown in Massachusetts to manage her beloved great aunt’s estate after her recent death.

On a whim, Larisa buys a wedding dress without a groom in mind.

In a video chat with Jennifer, we learn more about the story and about the author’s publishing journey.

As the story unfolds, we learn that the aunt isn’t the only person Larisa is losing. Her mother, Kittie, isn’t dead, but Larisa is slowly losing her to Alzheimer’s, and she struggles to make sense of both the immediate and looming losses.

Hope Edelman, author of the mega-bestselling book, Motherless Daughters, wrote about creativity as an outlet for grief: “A child’s contradictory impulses to both acknowledge and deny a parent’s death represents precisely the type of rich ambiguity that inspires artistic expression. ”

In the book, THE LITTLE FRENCH BRIDAL SHOP, Jennifer Dupee captures those feelings of loss of identity, disorientation, and confusion that consume a person (even an adult) who becomes a caretaker of their ailing parent. The author draws from her own experience when, at age 24, she lost her real-life mother to cancer. Her novel will be released on March 9, 2021 in hardcover from St. Martin’s Press.

Jennifer’s protagonist Larisa Pearl returns home to her insular seaside hometown in Massachusetts to manage Elmhurst, the historic home left to he r by her great aunt, who recently passed away. She wanders into the town’s local bridal shop on a whim and inexplicably buys a dress—even though she’s not engaged, and she’s not even sure she wants a future with her boyfriend. Soon word spreads all over town that Larisa is getting married. Rather than dispelling the rumor, Larisa, who is struggling to cope with her mother’s worsening dementia, chooses to perpetuate the lies, which escalate into a tangled web that confounds and hurts her parents and friends. It’s only when Larisa is finally able to come to terms with her mother’s fragile future that she’s able to straighten out the chaos of her life.

Jennifer DupeeTHE LITTLE FRENCH BRIDAL SHOP isn’t a book about dementia; instead, it’s imaginative depiction of its impact on the caretakers and family members of the person with the disease. Engaging, surprising, and heartfelt, this is novel that will resonate with readers who have faced or are facing profound changes in the relationships they have with their aging parents.

About the author

Jennifer is a graduate of brown University, where she received her honors in Creative Writing. She is an active member of the Grub Street writing community in Boston. She has published in The Feminist Press and was a semi-finalist for the 2016 James Jones First Novel and Faulkner-Wisdom competitions. She and her family live in a historic house just outside of Boston where Jennifer is at work on her next novels.