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.
SERIES: The Wedding Collection #3
GENRE: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Christian Fiction
RELEASE DATE: August 16, 2016
“Love came in all sorts of sizes and packages, in the most blessed and strange ways.”
Oh! Oh! This book! I love!
In this latest novel, Rachel Hauck continues her Wedding Collections series, as well as returning to Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, but The Wedding Shop can easily be read as a standalone. If you HAVE read The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel, however, you are in for an extra special treat.
One of my favorite things about The Wedding Shop is the gorgeous dual timeline narrative. Watching Hauck start with two women – one in the 1930s, one in the present day – who seem to be quite different from one another at first glance and then watching her seamlessly weave parallels between their stories is truly a delight. Tying them both together right from the beginning, and cementing those ties as the novel progresses, is a quaint wedding shop on the brink of destruction… and a theme of seeing the value in others, even ourselves.
“Forgive yourself, Haley. If the Lord has, then how dare you hold on to your offense?”
…Blindsided by the moment, by a woman she barely knew, this was God’s coming in like a flood, overwhelming her by His Spirit. And she was undone by the simple act of putting on a garment she did not deserve to wear.
You see, The Wedding Shop is filled with women trying on various garments, preparing to be brides. And in that moment, when each sees herself in THE dress she has chosen, she has never looked or felt more beautiful. The exquisite poignancy of The Wedding Shop to me is found in the underlying parallels not just between Cora and Haley but also between the story itself and this verse from Isaiah.
“I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10, also see Revelation 19:8)
The tenderness of this theme (Jesus values you – no matter what!!), matched with the masterful handling of a dual timeline narrative and two deliciously toecurling romances, make this one of my very favorite books this year.
Bottom Line: The Wedding Shop will make you smile and cry and laugh and sigh blissfully. And when you’ve finished reading, you may go make a wedding board on Pinterest… even if you’ve been married for 16 years. Ok… that might just be me. But whatever this book prods you to do next, you will be the better for having read it and for listening to the prompting of that still small voice. In The Wedding Shop, Rachel Hauck gives us characters we can embrace with our whole heart as well as a peek into history and a mirror on the present. It is gentle and bold all at once, and grace rests on every page like a lacy veil. A definite must-read!
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 5 stars / Fantastic!
KissingBook Level: 4 / keep a fan handy!
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.
Other Books in This Collection
Hey everyone! I’m so excited to share The Wedding Shop with you. This book is one of my favorites.
While all books are my “babies,” this one found a special place in my heart.
This standalone novel is part of the Wedding Collection – The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel – and it came to life when I discovered the story of Cora Scott, a 1930s wedding shop owner.
At 30, she’s an old maid, but the best “bride’s maid” in fictional Heart’s Bend, Tennessee. But she’s in love with a charismatic, charming river boat captain.
The contemporary heroine, Haley Morgan, is a retired Air Force captain returning to Heart’s Bend to restart her life. She’s recovering from a broken heart. The handsome, dynamic, charming man she loved was nothing but trouble.
Returning home, Haley is set on keeping a childhood promise she made with her best friend—to open the old wedding shop.
The shop is legend in Heart’s Bend. Haley grew up with stories of Miss Cora and the shop, hearing the town’s mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers reminiscing about their “day in the shop,” walking down the grand staircase in their wedding gown.
But in 2016, the shop is dilapidated, neglected and in need of more money than Haley possesses.
While writing this story, I had to ask a lot of questions. Why reopen the old shop? Why not just open a new one?
Haley was a combat veteran, deployed to Afghanistan twice, why would she want to open a wedding shop?
I also investigate the meaning of the shop to the town? To Cora? To Haley?
As I developed the backstory for the characters, the shop and the town, Cora’s came to life. She fascinated me. I admired this fictional woman. She exuded ingenuity, courage, and deep, deep devotion.
On the other hand, Haley was a bit of a mystery but from the start, she saw value in something no one else did.
What if we all saw value in people or places others wanted to reject?
Isn’t that what Jesus does for us?
The heroes of the book, Birch and Cole, are just stellar guys. Princes among men. I love writing about slightly wounded but strong and tender men.
The theme of family and community populates the story. Also, how misconceptions and preconceived ideas often ruin relationships.
Booklist gave The Wedding Shop a Starred Review and called it, “Spellbinding.”
There’s a lot of fun drama in this book! I hope you enjoy spending time with Cora and Haley, the men they love and the shop they bring to life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Connect with me at www.rachelhauck.com.
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away her Wedding Collection Series!
What about you? What’s a place in your hometown that you would buy if you could because of its sentimental memories for you?