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Midnight Champagne

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  1,035 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
April Liesgang and Caleb Shannon have known each other for just three short months, so their Valentine's Day wedding at a chapel near the shores of Lake Michigan has both families in an uproar. As the festivities unfold (and the cash bar opens), everyone has an opinion and a lively prediction about April and Caleb's union, each the reflection of a different marital experie ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 3rd 2000 by Harper Perennial (first published May 19th 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 19, 2010 Jkdaun rated it liked it
Ansay is a wonderful storyteller. She manipulates her story to expertly include so many characters and storylines. I was completely engaged by her unexpected twists.
I found myself pondering a particular quote by Oscar Wilde that she used and upon which she expounded: "Men marry because they are tired and women because they are curious. Both are disappointed." Ansay goes on to say, " He was right about the disappointment. You will be disappointed. Not just in each other but in yourselves. It's in
Judith Marshall
Apr 03, 2011 Judith Marshall rated it it was amazing
This was a really quirky book. From the first chapter, I was intrigued. The story takes place at a well-worn chapel and lodge near Lake Michigan on Valentine's Day, where April Liesgang and Caleb Shannon are to be married. Over the next several hours, you meet their zany families and some unwelcome guests, all of whom are unique and memorable in their own way. This is not your typical romantic tale of love and marriage. It's a complex story of human frailties and forgiveness. I loved it!
Jul 02, 2010 Katherine rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this almost novella. The time-frame is a single evening where a family wedding is occuring during a mid-western blizzard. One I most enjoyed was Ansay's character portrayal. Athough there are a dozen or so characters Ansay is able to give a real sense of each of these people and we can imagine their lives clearly from what we are given.
Feb 28, 2013 Tiffany rated it did not like it
I couldn't get into this book. Too many characters, no real direction... the book did nothing for me. After reading Blue Water I was really looking forward to reading another novel from the author, but this was just disappointing.
Karina Almeroth
Jun 28, 2013 Karina Almeroth rated it really liked it
I thought this was going to be a romance, or chick lit...the cover is deceptive, I think the cover could be better to depict the book's contents, cause it is quite a serious book.

Definately not a romance or chick lit! I really enjoyed it, and was surprised, happily, by its seriousness and literary qualities (I love good literary books! But ones that aren't too serious).

I love that it was set one day over a wedding...I love wedding settings! Weddings are curious things, and I love characters be
Ginger Williams
Jan 14, 2013 Ginger Williams rated it really liked it
You are cordially invited to the wedding of April and Caleb at the Great Lakes Chapel and Hideaway Lodge in southern Wisconsin on Valentine's Day. Get ready to feast on Chicken a la King and do the Hokey Pokey and the Bunny Hop. But beware - everything that can go wrong at a wedding will go wrong - some things trivial and one tragic.

But in spite of the fire in a toilet of the ladies' room, a broken mirror, a lost bridal bouquet, a drunk father of the bride, the awful lederhosen the band members
Sep 22, 2011 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
This remains one of my most favorite books of all time. Not only did it give me a shock when I found out who the mysterious unknown person really was, but there is a passage that still remains new to me every time I think of it, on page 213. It's the wedding toast given by the grandmother of the bride. It's inspirational . . . and just perfect.
Dec 09, 2013 Kitty rated it it was ok
If I had one word to describe this book, it would be mediocre. I didn't hate it but I didn't like it either. All the characters were unlikable and the story's climax really disappointed me. The only reason I can think why I kept reading was the way the characters' stories were intertwined with one another. Other than that, it was incredibly boring.
Aug 25, 2008 Mouse rated it it was amazing
I was involved from first page to last. I felt an intimacy with the characters (often it seemed like I was eavesdropping on conversations) and was awestruck by the intense sense of atmosphere. The fine-tuned details, and the puzzle-piece plot reminded me so much of classic storytellers... Edith Wharton, E.M. Forster, Sinclair Lewis, Willa Cather.
Nov 26, 2011 Andreasoldier rated it liked it
Need to save the wedding toast an aunt gives in this book that looks at married love, from newlyweds to oldtimers and all permutations in between. Covers a lot of emotional ground for such a slip of a book.
May 17, 2013 Sofia rated it did not like it
Honestly, the book was a bit disappointing. The story itself is very well written, but there really wasn't mush of a storyline, and it was hard for me to really follow the story.
May 02, 2008 Cranky rated it it was ok
I never got that interested in the story, but I liked the author's use of language.
Pat Giese
Dec 12, 2016 Pat Giese rated it it was amazing
Typical Wisconsin background of a wedding during a blizzard to cover up the incidents of domestic abuse/ violence against women that too often occurs in relationships but is kept secret because women are "embarrassed" to admit this happened to them. The bride's first BF shows up at her wedding because her mother invited the family....never knowing the reason she broke off the relationship after the BF "head-butted" her in the stomach, breaking two ribs. The stranger at the wedding reception is a ...more
Dec 27, 2016 Averil rated it really liked it
"Oscar Wilde said that men marry because they are tired, and women because they are curious, and that both are disappointed...He was right about the disappointment. You will be disappointed....Not just in each other, but in yourselves. It's inevitable that you'll each fall short of your own expectations...But you will also exceed those expectations, again and again, and in ways you can't possibly imagine. And my wish for you both is that there will come a time when you'll look back on this day a ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Regina rated it did not like it
Midnight Champagne was my first experience with this author and I must confess I'm not very impressed. With the exception of Aunt Libby and the wife in room thirty-three, who are at least tolerable, none of the characters in this story are sympathetic or likable. Not even the Bride and Groom, really.

The Bride, April spends most of the book being snippy to her parents for "forcing" her to have the wedding. Then she shares a painful scene from her past relationship, which we learn was filled with
Mar 14, 2016 Ellen rated it really liked it
It is Valentine's Day at Wisconsin's Great Lakes Chapel and Hideaway Lodge and a blizzard is fiercely blowing outside the tacky wedding venue. April Liesgang and Caleb Shannon, who have known one another for only 3 months, are having a ceremony (instead of eloping which they preferred) because Elmer Liesgang, April's father, insists on a big party for his oldest child. Throughout the evening festivities the institute of marriage is dissected by others in the room, not always with affection. Apri ...more
Feb 18, 2014 Liz rated it liked it
I can't remember why or where I picked up this book, and I know I tried to sell it at a garage sale without reading it first; so, I can't say I was really looking forward to reading it when I started. That feeling might have carried through and tainted my overall feeling about the book.

I didn't like it that much. I didn't feel that I really related to any of the characters. Sure, I thought the aunt who gives the ending champagne toast is considerate enough and cares about her niece despite not
Jun 30, 2015 Sophia rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Turned out to be absolutely different from what I expected it would be, and most definitely different from how it appears on the cover.

The story is set up well by the epigraph quoting Anton Chekhov: "If you fear loneliness, then marriage is not for you." But how Ansay takes it from there is interesting.

It is told over the course of 24-hours, the span of a wedding day actually. Ansay's writing is beautiful at many turns, and I found it so impressive how she was able to characterize marriage and
Mar 09, 2014 Michael rated it it was ok
April and Caleb has only known each other for a few months. Needless to say, they do not receive much support from their love ones. April's father in particular wishes that she had chosen someone else to marry and not someone that she barely knows. According to him, his daughter is far too valuable to be swept away in marriage so quickly. However he quickly keeps his opinion to himself he does not want to make matters worst by reprimanding his daughter on his wedding day. Two stories intersect w ...more
Kathleen DuVall
May 24, 2016 Kathleen DuVall rated it liked it
I started this book with some apprehension because my Mom told me she gave up on it on page 25. Given that she is almost 84, I'm cutting her some slack - there are a lot of really good books out there to read in her probably short time left.

That being said, I plowed through it. It was only 170 pages so it didn't take long and the story was pleasant enough. With the many attendees at a wedding, it took a little bit to understand who was who and who was whose child/parent/relative but in the end,
Apr 05, 2015 Guenevere rated it it was ok
I always feel gypped if a book is less than 200 pages, which strikes me as a novella rather than a novel,so this slim 174-pager was disappointing just in terms of length. There is nothing particularly new here, and no real surprises in the plot. It's superbly hetero-normative (note sarcasm) and seems to rest firmly upon the idea that women don't gain happiness in marriage or child-rearing and therefore their most fitting revenge is to see other women get married and join their club of resentment ...more
Natalie Shawver
Dec 14, 2015 Natalie Shawver rated it it was ok
Caleb and April decide to get married after only three months of knowing each other. Barney is still in love with April, despite their traumatizing breakup. April's dad is upset the wedding isn't taking place in a church. And Stanley, April's young brother, just wants to sit at the adult table for once. Midnight Champagne was a whirlwind of a story; the entire novel takes place over the course of one evening wedding. The book was divided by ceremony, reception, first dance, etc. - a unique appro ...more
Aug 20, 2014 Amy rated it liked it
I read this book in one day, and the story moved very quickly. I tend to enjoy books that take place over a short period of time - I'm always fascinated with how authors can move a story along, set over a few hours or a few days - and really capture you.

This book is a mix of good and not so good - there were a ton of characters, some of whom were funny and engaging, like Aunt Libby - but at times there were so many I had trouble remembering who was who. I also would have liked to have gotten to
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This whole book takes place during one afternoon and evening - the wedding and reception of April and Caleb, a young American couple. There are vignettes of their family - rather disapproving, since the bride and groom have only known each other for three months - and friends, ncluding April's ex-fiancé. Meanwhile, at the connected lodge, a different couple are having a serious argument which has rather drastic results.

Surprisingly, I quite liked this book - there was mild humour and some cleve
Claire Mojieski
Feb 24, 2010 Claire Mojieski rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, fiction
This book takes place over the course of a wedding reception. It's a beautifully written story with many different and complex characters. I will admit that it did seem to drag on a little during the first 80-100 pages which is really unnecessary for a 250 page book. Once we figure out what is going on with the woman in the red dress, the book really picks up. I enjoyed seeing each characters own joy and disappointment with their marriages. It was interesting how they knew this newlywed couple w ...more
Aug 15, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: own-this-book
I liked the way she told the story of families and the complicated relationships people have. The setting is a wedding in Wisconsin during a snowstorm, and she tells the story in 3rd person by switching from one character to another fluidly. Kind of like the bad guy in Terminator II when he would just take over a person by touching him; that's how the author changes points of view. You get to see different perspectives. There's also a small bit of intrigue around a stranger to the party, somethi ...more
Apr 05, 2011 A rated it did not like it
I was not enthralled. What ruined it for me was the summary and various review snippets on the book jacket. They made me expect an ending that was absolutely fabulous and explosive and so I read and read with great anticipation for this amazing climax. Wasn't there. Tricky things those reviews. Without them, I wouldn't have read the book. Without them, I wouldn't have been so disappointed. On a good note, Ansay is able to give depth to a number of charachers in a short book better than some auth ...more
Dec 17, 2007 ANGELA rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting book- it was about a wedding taking place in the midwest during a storm- the coming together of the two mismatched families and the colorful relatives on each side- as well the bride's ex-boyfriend who makes an is funny, and sad at the same time...but written from a really interesting perspective. Depicting what its really like for all the individuals to come together for an event like a wedding - and what goes through each guests mind...insightful y ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it
If you told me about a book spent describing a wedding, I would have said, "No thanks. That's definitely not for me." I would have been wrong.

The author uses the vehicle of the wedding to explore the hopes, fears and everyday struggles of the people who attend--from children to grandparents, invited and uninvited guests, some people who are enthused about the couple to be married and many who are disappointed. The author wove a complex fabric that left me considering characters and situations a
Average Jane
Jan 25, 2009 Average Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
This was a very quick read not only because the book is fairly short but because it's engaging from the very beginning. Even though there are a lot of characters, the author gives each one enough of an individual story that it's easy to keep track of them.

The exploration of the characters' various marriages and relationships was very well drawn. I'm looking forward to reading more of Ansay's books now.
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Play Book Tag: Midnight Champagne by A. Manette Ansay - 4 stars 1 6 Mar 14, 2016 08:53AM  
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A. Manette Ansay grew up in Wisconsin among 67 cousins and over 200 second cousins. She is the author of six novels, including Good Things I Wish You (July, 2009), Vinegar Hill, an Oprah Book Club Selection, and Midnight Champagne, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as a short story collection, Read This and Tell Me What It Says, and a memoir, Limbo. Her awards include ...more
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