Wednesday, December 23, 2015

book review: "the wedding chapel" by rachel hauck

For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty. Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy "Coach" Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago. The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.

Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart's Bend, Tennessee, to make a new life for herself in New York. She had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams. Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement - then to second guesses. Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her. 

Taking a photography assignment to Heart's Bend, Taylor is thrown back into a past of family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time. When Taylor and Coach's journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth the wait. 

I knew I had to read this book for two reasons. It's by Rachel Hauck - I love anything she writes - and it's set in my home state. This was such a great read! Because the story is being told from four different points of view, I had to really pay attention at first, trying to keep up with everything. The story also jumps from the past to the present. But I love how Taylor, Jack, Collette and Jimmy's stories intertwined! Rachel did a great job of spreading humor throughout the book. There were a few references to The Royal Wedding series which made me smile. I love the underlying theme of this book: it's never too late. Collette thought she would never see Jimmy again and had given up on that dream. Even when Collette walked back into her chapel, she still didn't believe she and Jimmy had a future together. She felt too much time had passed; she had made too many mistakes. Towards the end of the book, someone mentioned "love well." That was what stuck with me from How to Catch a Prince. Both Collette and Taylor had to figure out how to accomplish that. Taylor and Jack had huge hurdles to overcome because both had seen the effects of divorce and were afraid of opening up. But Jack, bless his heart, refused to give up on Taylor without a fight. I'd like to think their brokenness helped led to each others healing. This was such a beautiful story of love, forgiveness and pursuing what you want instead of letting it slip by. And oh, the chapel! I wish such a place actually existed! I can picture the beauty and peacefulness of it. Everything is quiet and you're able to feel God. Rachel did a great job not only with the characters but creating such beautiful visuals.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review.

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