Monday, January 4, 2016

The Wedding Chapel- Rachel Hauck

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

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 string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.

My Thoughts: The Wedding Chapel is written well, with gripping emotions and settings, yet I found myself more frustrated by the story than drawn into it. All four of the point of view characters suffer from character flaws and past hurts that keep them from fully trusting anyone, including the one they love most. While I understand the realism to this brokenness and the tendency to not say the things we know we should because we fear the consequences, I still found myself getting angry at characters who I was probably meant to sympathize with.

This alone would not have frustrated me as much had the story been told in chronological order instead of present day and flashbacks. Through the book, I would find myself finally setting into a scene and becoming fully engaged, when it would suddenly end and the story would shift in time, leaving the last story line behind.

There is not much I can actually say is *wrong* with The Wedding Chapel, only that it was not the story for me. The characters were well written and the story interesting, but I didn't like the number of flashbacks or the characters' continued fear of letting anyone in to the point that none of the characters had any real confidants. I'm certain that there will be those who absolutely adore this story, however it was not that way for me. This is the type of story that relys very heavily on the emotions of the reader and their connection with the characters rather than outside conflict. If you enjoy those internal struggles, then I would suggest this book to you.

I received this book through Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.

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