My Review -- I love that Hauck was inspired by a wedding chapel that she saw and from that one sight was able to construct such a lovely, complex story. More and more I am reading novels with characters who span the spectrum of adulthood, and that is so refreshing. That Jimmy (Coach) and Collette are more than elderly minor characters added to the story for a little color is what makes this romance a romance worth reading. That Jack and Taylor were drawn to each other by their past and their hometown, yet don't have a solid footing for their marriage underlines how much our perceptions, even of ourselves, affects how we behave. Both Jack and Taylor were preparing themselves for failure rather than investigating what it took to be successful at marriage. Sadly that is probably a reality being played out daily in homes across the world. When given the opportunity to review this book, I almost passed, despite having enjoyed other novels by Rachel Hauck. Another "wedding" book just did not appeal to me, but I am so glad that something prompted me to accept LITFUSE's invitation to review THE WEDDING CHAPEL. This book gives us a look at commitment and lasting love as well as at the damaging effect of unchecked jealousy and self-doubt. I would highly recommend this title to Christian bookclubs, and just a book to share with a friend. Take the time to discuss who is favorite character and then maybe investigate the history of some (wedding) chapels near your home.
Summary and press information for Rachel Hauck's the wedding chapel
RACHEL HAUCK HIGHLIGHTS THE ROMANCE OF THE PAST TO REMIND US OF THE PERMANENCE OF COMMITMENT
10/20/2015 || Seattle:In a day when marriage seems incredibly disposable, best-selling author Rachel Hauck weaves a story rich in symbolism that reminds us of timeless truths about love. Hauck is captivated by the 1940s, and in The Wedding Chapel (Zondervan/ November 17, 2015/ISBN: 978-0310341529/$15.99), she juxtaposes two story lines: one capturing the simple romance and commitment to family embodying the earlier era and another showing the challenges and complications of romance in a modern world.
Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook never imagined anything would come from the wedding chapel he built, stone by stone, for the beautiful Collette Greer, the woman he fell for back in 1949. He lost her long ago, and for 60 years his labor of love has sat empty, a monument to his memories. Then one day an offer arrives to turn the chapel into what it was meant to be: a place of love and eternal promises. Coach sees no reason to hang onto his dream any longer.
Meanwhile photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. She leaves her home in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, determined to put the broken promises and dreams of the past behind her. Given how divorce tore apart her family, Taylor tends to be more cautious with relationships but surprises even herself when she falls head-over-heels for Jack Forester. Taylor allows her heart to carry her into a whirlwind elopement, but doubts, disagreements and second thoughts enter shortly after they say “I do.” Jack has his own demons to battle and struggles to show Taylor his true self and the depths of his love for her.
When Taylor takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown. She becomes immersed in a world of long-buried family secrets and finds her journey intersecting with Coach’s in a surprising way. Together they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and find it’s never too late to seek love— and it’s worth every single moment of waiting.
Many people are afraid of commitment and marriage because they’ve seen the way divorce can destroy a family — maybe even their own. Hauck reminds readers that their family history doesn’t have to determine their destiny. “In Christ we can break those family iniquities. We don’t have to carry forward whatever our ancestors did,” she explains. “‘Old things have passed away,’ the Apostle Paul writes. ‘All things have become new.’”
Above all The Wedding Chapel affirms the truth that while the pressures of life will always be with us, true love never fails. “I always hope my stories leave readers uplifted, hopeful and aware of God’s love for them. In this book, I tried to show how His heart beats for us, even when we are running the opposite direction.”
Rachel Hauck is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle and Once Upon A Prince.
She also wrote the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel Softly and Tenderly one of their 2011 “Top Ten Inspirationals.”
Hauck has a journalism degree from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She worked in the corporate software world before she began writing full time in 2004. Hauck serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is also a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and a contributor to Southern Belle View Daily.