I confess: one of my favorite guilty pleasures is the TLC reality series “Say Yes To The Dress”. When a book set titled The Wedding Shop – one with dual timelines, 80 years apart – was offered up, I couldn’t resist. It went straight to the top of my reading pile.
Only because of crazy technical stuff (which I still don’t understand) taking out my blog while I moved it to a new host could I not share it with you when intended – so, yay, lucky you, this book is available now. Come see why I enjoyed it so much!
Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction
August 16, 2016
From New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes The Wedding Shop. Two women separated by decades, both set out to help others find their dreams when their own have crumbled. It’s the early 1930s, but Cora Scott is walking in stride as a career woman after having inherited her great aunt’s wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, where brides come from as far away as Birmingham to experience her famed bridal treatment. Meanwhile, Cora is counting down the days until her own true love returns from the river to make her his bride. But days turn into months and months to years. All the while, Birch Good continues to woo Cora and try to show her that while he is solid and dependable, he can sweep her off her feet.
More than eighty years later, former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan has returned home to Heart’s Bend after finishing her commitment to military service. After the devastating death of her best friend, Tammy, and discovering the truth about the man she loved, Haley is searching for her place in life. When Haley decides to reopen the romantic but abandoned wedding shop where she and Tammy played and dreamed as children, she begins a journey of courage, mystery, and love. As Cora’s and Haley’s stories intertwine through time in the shadow of the beloved wedding shop, they both discover the power of their own dreams and the magic of everyday love.
If you are a fan of dual timeline narratives like found in The Baker’s Wife, you will love The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck. She masterfully weaves together the two timelines of dress shop owner Cora Scott in the 30’s and Haley Morgan in present day. I loved the juxtaposition of character traits and character – the wedding dress shop owner is strong and resilient (fine, and overly trusting and naive) while the tough motorcycle-riding retired Air Force captain clings strongly to a “pinkie promise” she made with her childhood best friend Tammy to restore the decrepit building they played in as children to its former glory and re-open the dress shop once again.
Both storylines are solid on their own; Hauck has a wonderful gift for storytelling and building a strong setting. How she winds them together is wonderful, and the final twist perhaps a bit too coincidental and tidy, but a fun ending all the same.
The power of love and of holding onto your dreams are definitely strong themes running through the book. One might also say so is “love is blind”, as each works through difficult relationships.
This book is categorized as Contemporary Fiction, but The Wedding Shop falls under Christian/Inspirational Fiction as well. I must admit, Hauck does a wonderful job of blending the inspirational elements into the novel, well earning it the contemporary fiction label. In this story, the inspirational elements are well woven into the characters themselves as opposed to a heavier Christian tone – although it does also have a somewhat of a magical wedding dress in the mix:
“This wedding gown is like the gospel of Jesus Christ. It fits everyone who tries it on. It’s timeless, never wears out, and never needs to be altered, always in style and always beautiful.”
I know some might be surprised to find this an inspirational novel and I thought it fair to disclose it as it could make it not some people’s cup of tea. For me, it was subtle enough and fitting, and didn’t distract from the wonderful storylines. I know I’ll be visiting her other two books set in Heart’s Bend as well.
Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Her book, The Wedding Chapel, was a 2016 Christy Award winner. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and a sassy cat and writes from her ivory tower.
Many thanks to Smith Publicity and the author for providing me with an advanced print copy. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.