By Kelly Bridgewater
Back Cover Copy:
For sixty years, a wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late.
Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—the wedding chapel he built for Collette Greer, the woman he fell for back in ‘49. But now an offer has come to turn the chapel into what it was meant to be—a place for love—and Jimmy sees no reason to hang onto his dream any longer.
Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s abysmal marriage rate. But love surprises her when she falls head-over-heels for Jack Forester, a top ad man. Their whirlwind romance results in an elopement, and a mountain of doubt. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to overcome his own demons to find the words of his heart.
When Taylor takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time.
When Taylor’s journey intersects with Coach’s, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.
The Wedding Chapel is a story about sharing secrets from the past. Like Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke, Hauck’s latest story reminded me how hidden secrets can destroy a person because of the festering and boiling before the story. The Wedding Chapel is an interesting addition to the contemporary romance genre.
First, the different timelines. Hauck plots the novel featuring events that have occurred in 1948, 1951, and 1954 mixed in with the present. By doing this, Hauck allows the readers to watch what actually took place in the past when affects the present. In similar fashion, Hauck uses different characters that are affected by these secrets. At the beginning of the novel, I was really confused on what these four characters had to do with one another. But as the story wore on, I really got to know and understand each of them.
I really liked Hauck’s use of description. Even through the numerous time jumps, I felt the setting. I smelt the crisp fall air and the cold winter as the snow fell on Jimmy and Collette in the wedding chapel. I knew what the wedding chapel looked like even though there was no image on the front cover.
Surprisingly, the character I related to the most was Jack Forester. I believe I related to him because of hiding his emotions. I do that really well. Don’t believe me, ask my husband. I grew up in a dysfunctional family where I hid all my emotions and act like nothing bothered me, but this has affected my married life, and I keep praying for God to help me overcome this. It is on the top of my prayer list. Anyways, when Jack figured out that he needed to have God teach him how to love Taylor, I started to mist up. It struck a deep chord in me.
As for the conflict, it boils down to secrets. Like I already stated, secrets can harm a family and hurt a number of future generations, not just the ones doing the lying. I enjoy watching how the four main characters sought forgiveness and learned to lean on God and learn to love again.
Fans of Hauck’s previous book The Wedding Dress will totally engage themselves in The Wedding Chapel. I also believe fans of Becky Wade, Becky K. Vogt, Melissa Tagg, and other writers of contemporary romance will love this book.
Would I change anything? Maybe draw the connections between the characters earlier in the book, but other than that, no, I enjoyed it. Not as much as my suspense books, but it was a good, tug at my heart read.
In conclusion, Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Chapel was an emotional journey that hit me smack down in the chest. I enjoyed taking the journey of forgiveness with the characters and can’t wait to see what else Hauck plans to write.
I received a complimentary copy of The Wedding Chapel from Zondervan Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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