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By Invitation Only    by Jodi Della Femina & Sheri McInnis order for
By Invitation Only
by Jodi Della Femina
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

At thirty years of age Toni Fratelli finds herself moving back home to East Hampton. She was living in Manhattan, but fell on difficult times with her job and the man in her life. Now both are gone and she will be working for her father in his successful Italian restaurant until she opens her own catering company. Her best friend Layla is getting married in the Hamptons and wants Toni to be her maid of honour and to cater her beach wedding.

Layla is engaged to Henry Hudson Flagstone IV. Didi Flagstone (the groom's mother) is a New York socialite. She begins to take control of the wedding plans and soon it is becoming a lavish Hampton affair. She is not happy that her son is marrying a local girl, and if she can help it, the ceremony won't be held barefoot on the beach. She knows the top caterer on the island, Susan Schumacher, who can make it all happen.

Toni and Layla never seem to spend time together lately. Toni is busy working and Layla is now hanging out with a different circle of friends. Layla is changing and Toni doesn't like the woman she has become. Toni feels she is getting the brush off with the wedding plans and she learns that Susan will be catering the wedding at the Flagstone mansion, Concordia. Toni cannot understand why Layla is letting Didi take control and soon the friends are no longer on speaking terms.

Toni meets a handsome surfer, Chris, who is spending the summer with friends at the beach. There is something familiar about him but she cannot recall what it is. He is charming and attentive but very evasive about his job. Chris is keeping a secret from Toni. He didn't plan on it, it just happened. Toni's memory is jogged when Chris makes a statement while out on a date, and once again Toni feels her life collapsing around her.

After an accident at the Flagstone home, the wedding has to be postponed. An investigation by the police lands Didi in jail, where she is soon joined by Susan. Gossip spreads like fire but this brings Toni and Layla together. While in jail, Didi must reevaluate her life and what is important to her. Toni also has some big decisions to make about her life, love, and best friend Layla.

By Invitation Only is a great read filled with an inside look at the wealthy living in the Hamptons, where appearance is everything. The book is fast paced, fun, and has a few surprises.

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