Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Dress released in April, 2012. I have so many good things to say about this novel, I don’t know where to start!

Here’s the summary: 

Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new—shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

And now, my review:

I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about this book from several writer friends. So, I knew I had to check it out.

First, I’ll say I loved the prose. Rachel has a way with words that made me want to grab a highlighter!

I liked the fairytale aspect of the man in purple. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of him, but later, I loved that she included him. There was a supernatural quality to him that really worked.

The symbolism and revelations of God’s personal care of His people blessed me too. Every once in a while, the central contemporary heroine would worship God and I loved those moments. Rachel knows the Bridegroom’s heart and how important each of us is to Him—that we’re each His favorites. So, watching the heroine relate with God was a blessing. I’ve read Rachel’s books before, but this was a deeper read to me, more flavored by the bridal paradigm (spiritually speaking, specifically, though I loved the literal wedding focus). Reading this novel fed my heart.

One of the fun elements was how Rachel included names of friends, like ACFW worship team members. I enjoyed that! (*waving at Javier!)

This novel shifts between the contemporary heroine’s love story and the historical heroine’s love story. I enjoyed that contrast and the parallels as well. I felt the balance, and how long we focused on them, worked perfectly and will satisfy lovers of contemporaries as well as those who prefer historicals. It was enjoyable to watch the modern-day heroine track down the dress’s previous owners. I liked the tie-in to the past and how those elements affected the present. Her pacing was right on, as well, made only more delightful by her prose.

This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long while.

Highly recommended!

(print)        (e-book version)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review of Doctor to the Rescue by Cheryl Wyatt

Doctor to the Rescue by Cheryl Wyatt

What a privilege to read Cheryl Wyatt's latest release for review! 

Let's begin with the summary:

Combat doctor Ian Shupe returns home from overseas with his most important mission: to raise his little girl. But Ian's a single dad, and working at Eagle Point's trauma center means having to find child care. When bighearted, struggling lodge owner Bri Landis offers babysitting in exchange for construction work, Ian accepts. He vows to keep his emotional distance from Bri, yet can't deny that his daughter is blossoming under her tender care. But is he ready to believe that his heart's deepest prayer may finally be answered?

And now, my review: 

I love the combination of military personnel (stateside, for now), medical care, family, and romance. 

Poor Bri. She feels she has to do everything on her own. This community is about to prove her wrong. And Ian. Oh, he’s been betrayed and heartbroken by his ex-wife. His heart is dark and cold. He hides behind a grouchy exterior and avoids relationships. But his daughter needs a capable sitter. Bri is capable. And beautiful. And full of life—just what he needs to pull him back. 

Cheryl’s prose is delicious. Her pacing kept me hooked, wondering if these two could get together. She brought in great symbolism as Ian accepted his daughter and loved her through her tantrums while she adjusted to change. (living with him after her mother abandoned her) Another symbolic element was Bri’s handicap (physically, a broken arm; socially, pride that kept her from asking for help), which was overcome by the generous community’s outpouring of assistance to help rebuild the lodge. That speaks to trusting God to meet our needs, even when we can’t lift “an arm” to help. This changed Bri. And Ian's heart was changed as he saw forgiveness at work in Bri.

A great book! I’ll be watching for book three in this series. 

(paperback)     (e-book)