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The Bridesmaid

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,353 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
When Philip Wardman's feminine ideal, a Greek goddess, appears in the flesh as Senta Pelham, Philip thinks he has found true love. But darker forces are at work, and Senta is led to propose that Philip prove his love by committing murder.
Hardcover, 268 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Mysterious Press (first published January 1st 1989)
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Ange
Apr 28, 2012 Ange rated it liked it
The idea explored had potential - that two lovers would kill to prove their love - but I don't think it was really successful in Ruth Rendell's "The Bridesmaid". For a start, it just didn't seem likely that Phillip and Senta (the lovers) would be attracted to each other. Senta, the creepy, somewhat slovenly, yet beautiful and passionate girl with silver hair, and Phillip - gentle, particular, mother's boy, trainee interior decorator. There's no doubt that the novel had atmosphere, but it seemed ...more
Jim Dooley
I read THE BRIDESMAID because I recently saw the French movie from Claude Chabrol and I loved it. I just had to read the original thriller. It’s not bad, although I miss the Chabrol style.

The story is not really a mystery at all, but seems more like a very dark character study. A young man, living at home with his mother and two sisters, becomes fascinated with one of the bridesmaids at his older sister’s wedding. He is not only intrigued by her exotic appearance, but she has an insatiable appet
...more
Marian Allen
Oct 03, 2011 Marian Allen rated it it was ok
There ought to be a two-tiered rating system, because this book was stylistically wonderful--atmospheric, evocative, kept me reading to the end. On the other hand, it had no plot and it didn't make a bit of sense. But, if you want to enjoy a really well-written exercise in style, and want to close the book and do something realfast before you have a chance to think about what you just read, this book will engage you, entertain you and haunt you. Once.
Philip
Nov 24, 2009 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What He Did For Love (or something like it...)

Suffice to say that THE BRIDESMAID is one of Rendell's darkest, most relentless novels of obsession . . . The revelations of the final two pages should evoke an audible gasp from even the most hardened suspense reader. Several re-readings have not diminished the sense of surprise and horror.
Elsbeth
Apr 02, 2013 Elsbeth rated it really liked it
This book is not about bridesmaids in case you were wondering.
Cyd
Mar 22, 2009 Cyd rated it really liked it
This was the first Rendell book I read. She has become one of my favorite authors.
V.R. Barkowski
Aug 12, 2010 V.R. Barkowski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendell (aka Barbara Vine), that’s Baroness Rendell of Babergh CBE to you, has long been my favorite mystery writer. It all started the day I picked up a copy of the Bridesmaid twenty years ago. The Bridesmaid changed the way I view mysteries. I would even go so far as to say The Bridesmaid is the book that initially inspired me to write mysteries.

Although Rendell writes the fine Chief Inspector Wexford Police procedurals, it is her psychological crime novels that set her apart—at least for
...more
Toni
Sep 27, 2013 Toni rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Moira
Nov 16, 2007 Moira rated it it was amazing
I have read a lot of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine (though I don't read the Inspector Wexford series). I like all of them, but some are absolutely amazing. This is my favorite - watching this obsessive love take over the main characters so slowly and believably, the reader can almost totally sympathize with the horrific crime that it leads to!
Robin
Aug 30, 2012 Robin rated it it was ok
This book was well written, but the whole plot line didn't resonate with me. Not recommended.
Clare Snow
Ruth Rendell always makes me squirm with the depravity of her crimes, but I almost empathize.
Jill Hutchinson
Mar 12, 2011 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
Ruth Rendell........the woman knows how to write books that keep your attention! Her Wexford series is one of my favorites, as are her books written under the nom de plume Barbara Vine.
This book, which belongs in neither category, borders on the surreal, as a naive young man falls in love with a bridesmaid at his sister's wedding who resembles a much-loved statue in his garden. The object of his affection lives in a fantasy world, or does she? Although the stories she tells him of her life seem
...more
Sistermagpie
Nov 01, 2016 Sistermagpie rated it really liked it
Like all RR books, this is a really focused character-study. We're always in the pov of Philip, the protagonist, as his family changes around him. Philip himself isn't so focused on that as he falls obsessively in love with one of the bridesmaids from his sister's wedding, a strange girl named Senta. Philip's never quite sure when Senta is telling the truth or lying, and whatever he guesses he's usually wrong...to his great regret.

As the book nears the end the feeling of dread just grows and gro
...more
Aleisha Z Coleman
Nov 21, 2010 Aleisha Z Coleman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Aleisha Z by: nobody
i usually LOVE ruth rendell's murder mysteries. this one was just weird. it spent too much tme in psychological buildup and motivation that didn't make sense to me. i don't recommend this book to anyone. (although from a critical standpoint i can appreciate the range of ruth's writing and am glad that it is not always the same predictable story every time and for that i will keep reading books by this author.)
Sergey
I am a voyeur in her world and in such I am delighted, frightened, anxious, horny, sexy, murderous, overtaken by madness and one with all .. and none.
Chris
Jul 09, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rather dark view of human nature. But rather predictable.

Have to say, just be careful who you date.
Dee Dee
May 11, 2017 Dee Dee rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L-J Johnson
Interesting, suspenseful, atypical. Phillip meets the titular Senta - cousin to the bridegroom - at his sister's wedding. They become involved and the book takes its sweet time building up the stomach-turning feeling of dread. Satisfying story.
Johan D'Haenen
Mar 04, 2017 Johan D'Haenen rated it it was ok
What to say about this book?
It was tedious... the twists and turns were predictable... it went on and on and on, and my "willing suspension of disbelief" was put to a very strenuous test...
And then at last came the ending, the last chapter... was it all worth this while? I don't know... judge for yourselves.
Monique
Jul 03, 2012 Monique rated it it was ok
Eh this book was just okay and while it had such promise it actually reminded me of a couple of books I read before which was cool--Fall by Colin McAdam, The Drowning People by Richard Mason and Killing Me Softly by Nicci French though this one wasn't done the best as the plots revolved around a singularly obessive relationship where a person goes over the deep end for someone with tragic results..Like all these other characters the main character Phillip is unreasonably infatuated with a woman ...more
Pooja
Dec 14, 2013 Pooja rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Actually if there was a zero rating out there, i could give it for this book surely.The main thing of any book is the plot which was absolutely ridiculous in this particular book.Before being tempted up to say the storyline was bad or that sort, i would better say there was no story at all. The whole thought i had while reading this book(which i never felt for any other book in my life) is when will this end? It was unputdownable in the sense you just want to get over with it & you never aga ...more
Laura
Jul 20, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrifically creepy psychological thriller. Rendell layers the doubt, lies, and truth so well that only bits of each show through at very specific gaps. The narrator, Philip, is a fairly likable character, and when he goes wrong we are sympathetic, if not patronizing because we see more truth than he does. Rendell makes him just naive enough (it's his youth, really, and that youthful hope is believable) so that the reader is just a bit up on him most of the time, although we don't get ...more
Cathryn
Mar 06, 2010 Cathryn rated it it was amazing
What I loved.
I was drawn into this book by the very first line -- Violent death fascinates people. By the end of the first page, it's revealed that the main character has a phobia of violent death and he tries to hide it. The perfect setup for the kind of story I love, where characters try to hide their weaknesses and make themselves someone they're not.

The introduction of The Bridesmaid, Senta Pelham, and Philip's immediate attraction that grows to obsession starts the long, slow descent into t
...more
Pamela Mclaren
Oct 23, 2015 Pamela Mclaren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I wasn't quite sure about this story when I first began it. Here was a story about a family, portrayed as being pretty insular including a mother who seems quite innocent, off to meet the mother's boyfriend and they are lugging a garden size statue, not new, to give him. We are introduced to the son, Philip Wardman, in his early 20s and just starting his career and feeling very protective of his mother. He is not sure about giving the statue, which the family has named Flora to the mother's boyf ...more
Jonathan
Mar 26, 2016 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Ruth Rendell is really the master of opening a novel:

"Violent death fascinates people. it upset Philip. He had a phobia about it. Or that was what he called it to himself sometimes, a phobia for murder and all forms of killing, the wanton destruction of life in war, and its senseless destruction in accidents......."

Our protagonist Philip lives with his mother and two sisters, although one sister is soon to be married. At the wedding, he meets a cousin of his new brother-in-law, a young woman w
...more
Katrien Baert
Bij aanvang van dit boek had ik er een harde kluif aan. Ik geraakte er echt niet doorheen. Nadat ik het enkele maanden opzij had gelegd, ben ik er uiteindelijk dan toch weer aan begonnen en na 50 blz. zat ik nu wel helemaal in het verhaal. Het leven van Philip start nogal eenvoudig en laat uitschijnen dat hij nogal eigenaardig is, maar eens hij het bruidsmeisje Senta ontmoet op de huwelijksdag van zijn zus Fee, lijkt zijn leven stil te staan. Senta straalt iets onwezenlijks uit wat hem dermate a ...more
Jim
Oct 12, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This story centers on Phillip Wardman, a young British man trying to find his way in life. His family has it’s share of problems and he has no security at the job he recently began, but it looks like his romantic life might have taken a turn for the better when he begins an affair with one of the bridesmaids from his sister’s wedding. Unfortunately for Phillip this relationship is not the beginning of a life of bliss, but rather a glimpse into a dark and twisted world that makes him question how ...more
James Barnard
Sep 11, 2014 James Barnard rated it really liked it
My enthusiasm for Ruth Rendell novels is always rewarded, and The Bridesmaid is no exception. The familiar tropes are all in place – an awkward young man with an unhealthy interest in an inanimate object, an unhinged young woman, a dysfunctional family, an inept police force and reports of a killer on the loose in the background.

The fact that I could sort of guess what to expect does the novel no harm at all – Rendell has a real talent for wrong-footing the reader and showing that they don’t act
...more
Malena Watrous
May 27, 2010 Malena Watrous rated it liked it
A book I found in a stack at my mother-in-law's house. I like how it's both a mystery/thriller and also almost fabulist. I mean, I'm not convinced I'm reading something that's strictly "realist" when a man says that he will fall in love with a woman if she resembles the statue in his mother's garden, and then promptly meets such a woman. This felt like a deal-with-the-devil story in a way. I was definitely hooked from the moment that Senta proposes that they murder people to prove their unconven ...more
Barb Moore
Aug 07, 2015 Barb Moore rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense, 2015
Even though the major events of the plot were predictable, and the first half of the book was somewhat unengaging, I polished off the last half in one go. You can't help but wish Philip weren't such a dope, but at the same time, you have to find out how he will resolve the situation he's allowed himself to wade into. The ending was a little flat for me, I was expecting something a little more ironic or dramatic. I think overall the impact of the psychological suspense would have been better if a ...more
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A.K.A. Barbara Vine

Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, who also wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, was an acclaimed English crime writer, known for her many psychological thrillers and murder mysteries and above all for Inspector Wexford.
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