The Wedding Shop
By Rachel Hauck
The Wedding Collection #3
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.
With the Wedding Collection series, Rachel Hauck has created three enchanting stories that are uniquely different and can stand alone, yet all are linked by characters, setting, and a strong spiritual thread. Each story was wonderful and I connected with them all emotionally, but I believe The Wedding Shop was my favorite.
The fictional rural town of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee is the perfect setting for a story filled with a sense of family and community. Southern fiction is a favorite of mine, and there’s lots of southern charm to go around. A dual timeline propels the story, and Rachel has done this well throughout the series – connecting the characters with fascinating storylines that could stand alone.
The characters are extremely well drawn and multi-faceted, easy to connect with. Cora, who owned a wedding shop in the 1930s, was unwisely in love with a charismatic and charming river boat captain. Cora was blind to what other people, the reader included, suspected about him – and isn’t that often true in real life? But I was drawn to her courage, devotion, and ingenuity when it came to helping brides who couldn’t afford a wedding shop gown. And there’s so much to admire in Birch, a strong and tender man who backed up his feelings with caring actions.
Haley, a retired Air Force captain, followed God’s prompting and returned home to Heart’s Bend. “After years in the military, Haley needed to find herself again, her values and integrity, the tenderness of her heart. She’d become callous, hard.” Haley carries a heavy load of past guilt, and I think her spiritual journey is something many readers can identify with. Wounded by his father’s criminal actions in the past, Cole also has some soul searching to do, and I loved the sweet chemistry between these two.
Rachel has a unique way of weaving spiritual themes throughout the story, especially through the use of symbolism - sacrifice, obedience, patience, and divine interruptions being just a few. Through her love for the abandoned and soon-to-be-torn-down wedding shop, Haley reflects the theme of seeing value in something that others reject, a beautiful picture of Jesus.
My favorite scene would have to be when Haley tries on a wedding gown at Charlotte’s shop and finally sees herself in God’s eyes – pure, washed whiter than snow in the blood of Jesus. Charlotte’s words to Haley that speak about the symbolism of the wedding dress are a message for all time in their description of 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.”
Please click on the titles to see my review of the previous two books in this collection:
The Wedding Dress
The Wedding Chapel
Rachel Hauck is a USA Today Bestselling author. Her book, The Wedding Dress, was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Her book Once Upon A Prince was a Christy Award finalist.
Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower.
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Thank you to Celebrate Lit and Zondervan for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away her Wedding Collection Series! Enter below . . .