Monday, October 10, 2016

"The Wedding Shop" by Rachel Hauck

A beautiful novel of love, longing, regrets, and redemption, The Wedding Shop captivated me from the first sentence.

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.

The Wedding Shop is told from multiple perspectives—mainly Cora's in the 1930's and Haley's in the present. While the story revolves around each woman's quest to find her place in life, love, and faith, The Wedding Shop is the common denominator in both settings. Cora inherited The Wedding Shop, a bridal boutique, from her great aunt, and she ran it for 50 years. After Cora closed the shop in the late 1970's, the building housed a variety of businesses before finally being slated for destruction to make room for a parking lot. When Haley returns to town following a failed romance and the death of her best friend, she decides to reopen The Wedding Shop in its original location, a decision fraught with difficulty as she finds opposition on multiple fronts.

Cora's and Haley's stories parallel each other in interesting ways, and I was genuinely surprised at the way some of the events unfolded. I also found that I didn't prefer one woman's story to the other's, as sometimes happens in dual timeline novels; I equally enjoyed the time spent in the 1930's and in the present.

Though not a direct sequel, The Wedding Shop resides in the same world as Hauck's The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel, and it serves as a link between the books, with characters from both previous novels appearing in The Wedding Shop. It's not necessary to have read those books prior to reading The Wedding Shop, as the story stands alone, but I enjoyed making the connections between the novels. (Readers of Hauck's Royal Weddings series will also enjoy a few references to those books.)

Readers who enjoy historical fiction, contemporary fiction, or romance will find something to love in The Wedding Shop. It's a captivating, thought provoking, satisfying novel. 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Hauck's The Wedding Dress (4-1/2 stars), The Wedding Chapel (5 stars), Once Upon a Prince (5 stars), Princess Ever After (5 stars), How to Catch a Prince (5 stars), A Brush with Love (5 stars), and A March Bride (4 stars).

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, bestselling author. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times, and 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. Visit her online at, Facebook: rachelhauck, and Twitter: @RachelHauck.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook blogger program and The Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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