Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck

A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck

Here's the next novella in Zondervan's Year of Weddings series, and it's the first for 2015! In the author’s note, Rachel mentions having more material than a novella could hold. I believe it. Fantastic story! One of my favorite reads this year.

Let's begin with the summary: 

Ginger Winters is a gifted hairstylist with scars no one can see. The last thing she expects from the New Year is a new chance at love.

Overcoming a childhood tragedy, Ginger emerges from the pain and trauma with a gift for bringing out the beauty in others. From the top big city salons to traveling the world as personal stylist to a country music sensation, success was almost enough to make Ginger forget she would never be one of the beautiful people. She was always "that girl," forever on the outside looking in. But she needs her confidence this weekend. She’s the acclaimed “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.

When high-school crush Tom Wells Jr. also returns to town and shows up at her shop looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her locked away from love. Despite Tom’s best efforts, Ginger can’t forget how he disappeared on her twelve years ago and broke her heart. Can she ever trust him again?

When Tom challenges her to see her own beauty, Ginger must decide if she will remain chained to the past or move freely into a new, exciting future. 

And now, my review:  

Ginger has solid reasons for believing the lie she believes. She has literal scars and internal ones too. It’s the internal ones she needs to overcome. She wants to feel beautiful. She wants to be accepted.

Enter Tom—a former Marine who is now a pastor. He has always thought her beautiful, scars and all. He’s carried secrets about how they parted all those years ago. I loved his heart, his calling—to pronounce her beautiful. (In this story, beauty represented so much more than superficiality.) He’s also called to help her return to Jesus, leaving his own desires to woo her in the background. I liked how he represented God's heart for us.

Their adventures were fun to watch, couched in Rachel’s phenomenal descriptions and fun scenarios. I had plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.

Brushes were a symbol in this story. Ginger is renewing her salon with paint, which she brushes on. Plus, she works as a hairstylist and makeup artist to help people look beautiful. Still, she can’t do anything to brush over her own scars—so she wears long sleeves and scarves. I believe that whether readers have literal scars or internal ones, they’ll relate with this heroine and her struggle. Plus this call to believe the truth and leave behind the chains of the past is a profound beckoning. Rachel touches on the shame of our scars and demonstrates we're each called beyond the agreement with that shame into a place of freedom.

I loved that Alisha Powell (of IHOPKC) made an appearance, and I always appreciate Rachel’s unapologetic message of worship—that God delights in us and wants to fascinate us with His love.

Zondervan’s Year of Weddings series of novellas has been great in 2014. I’m thrilled they’re doing it again for 2015.

Highly recommended!

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