Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Wedding Chapel - Rachel Hauck

Jimmy Westbrook, affectionately known as "Coach" to generations of Heart's Bend football players and fans, has kept a secret from most of the people who think they know him.  Sixty years ago, he built a wedding chapel on his father's land, for the woman he intended to marry.  Sixty years later, he's still single and figures maybe it's time to sell the chapel.  First, however, a magazine wants to photograph the chapel, and sends Taylor Branson, a former Heart's Bend resident, as the photographer.  Taylor's own marriage and family issues are tangled in knots, but she senses something in Jimmy and the chapel that needs to be settled.  Sixty years and 3 generations of secrets might bring more truth than anybody bargained for.

I was looking for a light romantic book to escape into for some easy summer reading, and a book called The Wedding Chapel seemed just the ticket.  However, much like the characters, I got more than I bargained for.  Without giving any spoilers, this book gives the reader a lot to think about regarding marriages and how lightly some folks enter into them, what gives folks the right to be called family, and how to change the family legacy one's been handed.  Even with the knowledge that a character is trying to change the patterns he lives out, he acknowledges that "it was hard to harvest words that were never sown."  The book also highlighted how seeing people you love work through their own difficulties can give you courage for your own.  "[Their] journey had righted a lot of relationships this past year and set a course for new ones.  But not without the tears that come with confession, repentance and forgiveness."  Even with courage to change, change is not easy or without consequences.

There were so many good things about this book, but there were a few that gave me pause and kept me from rating it higher.  Every character seemed to have secrets, and while they were hinted at heavily, not every secret was eventually revealed.  Also, while the author did a great job of taking the spotlighted relationships of her main characters seriously, there were several major issues, life choices, and character traits that were brushed aside lightly and almost winked at, as if not a big deal.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I liked that relationships weren't perfect, and that there were consequences to misunderstandings and bad choices.  I also can't help but like a character who's "stuck more this place than Lorelai Gilmore is to Stars Hollow." Ahem.
I give this book 4 stars.

You can find A Wedding Chapel HERE.
You can find the Author's website HERE.

I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.