Still reeling from a divorce she never wanted, Stella's past comes back to haunt her when her ex-boyfriend Chase reappears. Is Chase yet another reminder of everything wrong in Stella's life, or does God have bigger plans?
For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn't trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn't get another job soon, she'll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he'll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town's old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness---and their unresolved feelings for each other-until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice---to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.
Ever since I read All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, the story of how Kat Varland fell in love with her best friend, I've been anticipating Love Arrives in Pieces. This novel focuses on Kat's sister Stella—a woman who was largely unlikeable in All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. I was interested in whether Betsy St. Amant could make Stella sympathetic ... well, from page one, I just wanted to give Stella a big hug! Interestingly, in this book, it's Kat who doesn't come across so well—which shows how, just like in life, it all depends on perspective.
While Stella and Chase have great chemistry and a compelling romance, Love Arrives in Pieces is more than a love story. It's also a redemption story, showing how God can take the broken pieces of our lives and knit them together into a new story, a better story than we could have imagined.
I also loved the subplot with the Stella's homeless friend Dixie. Her story resolved in a way I never saw coming, and it absolutely touched my heart.
Dealing with real-life issues like divorce, death, and family approval, Love Arrives in Pieces is a compelling story that kept me flying through the pages, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes romance that's grounded in reality. 4-1/2 stars.
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Read my reviews of St. Amant's All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes (5 stars) and A February Bride (4 stars).
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