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Kimba@ The Caffeinated Reviewer: Laura Buzo: Love and Other Perishable Items
What is more romantic for Valentine's Day than a wedding and a gorgeous wedding gown? I have sweet romantic read featuring a wedding dress with a bit of magic. First, here is author Rachel Hauck's bio:
Award-winning, best selling, RITA Finalist Rachel Hauck lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane plagued, central Florida.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.
She’s the author of the CBA best seller, The Wedding Dress, and co-author of the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.
Rachel serves in the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.
Rachel writes from her two-story tower in a new, exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.
Her next book, Once Upon A Prince, releases in May 2013. Find Rachel on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Here is Rachel to tell you the story behind The Wedding Dress:
It’s so great to be on your blog! Thank you for having me and for featuring The Wedding Dress.
Anyone who’s read the book knows my acknowledgements I detail how the idea started on Twitter. A few friends chatting about, “Next time you’re in town...”
After a few tweets, we decided, “Why wait?” Instead of talking about it, let’s do it. We moved the conversation to email and set up a weekend gathering for June. Mind you, we barely knew each other. Enough to want to get together but not quite enough to justify taking a weekend and money away from the family to get together.
I said to my hubby, “This is weird, but I think I’m supposed to go.” He agreed.
The fun, short weekend consisted of food, laughter, fellowship, fun, movie watching, book talk, and rest.
I didn’t expect for a story idea to land in my heart but as our hostess described how her daughter found the perfect wedding dress, the story of a 100 year old gown dropped into my heart.
At first, I was going to save the idea for another time but the more I mulled it over, the more I couldn’t wait to write the book.
I’d planned to write another book for my publisher but a quick call to my editor while standing in the Wal-Mart electronics department as my hubby debated buying a TV– don’t you love cell phones?–had her convinced this story was my next.
The story is about lives being connected. How one life truly impacts another. One act of kindness has rewards for decades or generation. We may feel left out, alone, abandoned, but God is with us. Our unseen heritage is with us. God sees our entire history.
Charlotte, my protagonist was related to one of the most prominent women in Birmingham history. (History according to Rachel Hauck fiction.) Emily, her great grandmother, set in motion a chain of events that would eventually lead her wedding dress to her great, no-family granddaughter.
Don’t we all have a heritage of which we are unaware? An act of kindness done by a
great, great grandparent. Or an aunt or uncle. What are we doing to leave a heritage
and inheritance for our children?
I’m aware that my actions today, my words, my behavior, my heart toward others does impact future generations. We are not islands. We are not isolated. What we do has ramifications.
I recently endorsed a fabulous book by author Kim Cash Tate, The Color of Hope,
dealing with the linger effects of Jim Crow laws in the south when the white heroine
falls in love with the black hero.
Maybe we think those days are behind us, and many of them are, though until Jesus returns there will always be prejudice on the earth, the effects of racism still had an impact on heart of the families and community.
When the hero and heroine confess to the hero’s mother they are in love, she’s not so
keen on the idea. Neither is the heroine’s grandfather.
But the mother brought forth an interesting reason. The echoes of Jim Crow when white women were viewed as superior and black women were viewed as inferior, still sounded in her heart. In fact, the she and her mama were alive when it was illegal in the south for a black man to even talk to a white woman socially.
What are we saying and doing now in society that will echo for generations? Just
kinda makes me go, “Hmmm... Jesus?”
In The Wedding Dress, I was able to show how those actions reverberated through time. I was also able to create a symbol of those connecting generations. I call him the purple man. I won’t say more, but to me, he kind of made the book tie up. He demonstrated that Charlotte and Emily’s were connected – not just by blood but by the Lord Himself.
We see the same thing throughout scripture. One man’s disobedience, Adam’s, parted
us from God. But one man’s obedience, Jesus’s, healed the breach and made a way
for us to draw near to the throne of Grace. Freely and with unveiled faces.
In the end, that’s what The Wedding Dress really became about: the enduring, unchanging Gospel. Like the Gospel, the wedding gown Charlotte found never wore out, never needed to be altered, fit every woman who tried it on and was always in style.
It was a gift pursued through racial barriers by Emily. It was gifted to Mary Grace. It was discovered by Hillary, then burned her. It brought justification and redemption to Charlotte, who in turn, brought healing to Hillary – through that exact same dress. How glorious! The Gospel is real and living, active. This is why I love stories. To show life, the beauty of His wonders, and inspire our hearts to live more gracious and holy lives.
Thanks so much, Rachel! Some beautiful and inspiring thoughts. You are right, we
must all remember our thoughts and actions have far reaching consequences. Rachel
is generously offering a signed copy of The Wedding Dress to one lucky U.S.
Resident. Just fill out Rafflecopter to enter. I truly hope that you will all consider
checking out this book. It is a wonderful story!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
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.
Paperback, 343 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Charlotte unexpectedly finds herself at an estate sale. She has no intention of buying anything, until a strange man in purple looks her straight in the eye when he introduces a trunk. The trunk is welded shut, and no one knows the contents. Charlotte ends up purchasing the trunk for a thousand dollars. She cannot afford the battered trunk, she is in the midst of planning her own wedding. Regardless she is now the proud owner of an antique trunk. What she doesn't plan on is the impulse purchase upsetting her fiancé Tim. The next day, the pair break up. Heartbroken, Charlotte breaks open the trunk to find a gorgeous, pristine wedding dress. She becomes obsessed with uncovering the story behind the dress and finding the next perfect bride to wear the gown. She learns the dress was worn by three women. It seems the dress has a bit of magic, it fits every bride without the slightest bit of alteration. Can Charlotte unlock the secrets of the trunk and mend her broken heart?
What I Liked:
- I found myself immediately drawn into this story involving the lonely Charlotte and her chance encounter with the intriguing trunk. I wanted to know more about the dress and how it came to be welded into the old trunk. The story then shifts to 1912 and I met the spunky Emily. Emily is a wealthy young lady on the eve of her engagement to a privileged young man. She is outspoken, determined to speak her mind, but she fails to listen to heart and decides to do what is best for her societal status despite the fact that her heart may still in part belong to another. I thoroughly enjoyed how the story moved back and forth one hundred years to tell both Charlotte's and Emily's stories.
- I liked following both the main romances in this book. You have Charlotte and Tim who break off their engagement, but still remain friends, and Emily and her troubled engagement to Phillip and the young man, Daniel, who fiercely refuses to give her up. Even though it was predictable as to how both romances would settle out, I enjoyed the journey and experiencing the difficulties that both women encountered.
- Their stories were set a hundred years apart, and they were both entertaining. • I enjoyed Emily's story the most. Emily is caught in the era before women had gained their right to vote. She is headstrong and refuses to back down, especially when it comes to having wedding gown made. Emily fights to have her dress made by an African American woman, even though it causes a whole passel of trouble. I liked the way Emily fought against the prejudices of the day and voiced her opinions. I also was thrilled at the final outcome of her romance, and I loved how her dad came through for her. Emily shows remarkable courage and spunk!
- I liked how the author weaved in the four stories of the women who were involved with the wedding dress. I liked seeing how they were all interconnected and learning how the past and the dress brought them together. It certainly was a dress with a bit of magic.
And The Not So Much:
- I admit, I do not usually read Christian fiction, it just doesn't appeal to me to be reading a great story that has religious undertones thrown in. Worse, is when I pick up a book and unexpectedly find Christian themes. I knew up front this was a Christian book so I was prepared. For the first half of the book there is very little reference to religious themes, so I was very pleased, but the second half the God references and such are a bit more prevalent. It is not over the top or preachy, instead the author leaves it up to the reader to interpret that the magical dress and how it passed from girl to girl might be of a more divine origin. Even though I am not a fan of Christian literature, I can say that overall, I really did enjoy this story and if you are looking for a nice romance with a bit of magic give this a chance. I am glad I decided to read outside of my comfort zone.
- I was completely invested in Emily and Charlotte's stories and I enjoyed watching how everything unfolded for them. When it came to the other two women who wore the dress: Hilary and Mary Grace, I didn't feel like their stories were as well developed. In all honesty, I think they could have been eliminated as they were brief and not as engaging. Their parts were not bad, mind you, but they didn't have the same impact as Charlotte and Emily. However, I did enjoy seeing how all the pieces came together and the friendship the women forged thanks to the dress.
- I was a bit disappointed that it was revealed in the future how everything turned out for Emily before the story reverted back to her time and played out. I wished that I hadn't learned Emily's fate beforehand. Furthermore, I was so engaged with her story and wanted a bit more firsthand detail on Emily and her life after her marriage.
- The author leaves it up to the reader to infer who the mysterious man in purple was, but I found that I would like to have it spelled out. Who was he? A divine being? An angel?
The Wedding Dress is a sweet romance the spans over a hundred years as a magical wedding dress manages to bring together four very different women. Experience the love and heartbreak as you uncover how the dress passes from woman to woman through history. I am glad I picked this up and read outside my comfort zone. Whether you are a fan of Christian fiction or not, this is a well written story that left me satisfied.
"Broken or not, talking to him always felt like home."
"The more money in a chap's bank account, the lovelier the bride. It's the way of the world."
"But a girl should never get over needing her mother."
"Pride puffs up, Father always said. Pride can't be silent."