The Wedding Chapel
By Rachel Hauck
Published by Zondervan
Back Cover: A lonely wedding chapel built as a tribute to lost love just might hold the long-awaited secret to hope and reconciliation.
For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty. Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago. The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.
Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, to make a new life for herself in New York. She had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams. Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement—then to second guesses. Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her.
Taking a photography assignment in Heart’s Bend, Taylor is thrown back into a past of family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time. When Taylor and Coach’s journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth the wait.
REVIEW: The story begins in the year 1948, Heart’s Bend Tenn. Jimmy’s neighbor shows him a picture of his orphaned cousin who lived in England. She and her sister will be coming to America to live with them. Jimmy instantly loses his heart to the girl in the photo.
Then the story switches to current time; introducing readers to Jack and Taylor. A young couple living in Brooklyn N.Y. They went to school together and lost track of each other after graduation. They met again in the Big Apple; had a whirlwind romance and then eloped. No after 6 months of marriage they are trying to navigate two careers and their marriage relationship. Taylor is a photographer and Jack has a great position in a big advertising agency.
Taylor takes a job shooting a unique wedding Chapel in Heart’s Bend Tenn. where she grew up. Jack is off trying to sell his client, Fresh Water on a new campaign idea Taylor gave him. He liked how they worked together.
Taylor takes advantage of her time in Heart’s Bend to go to her Granny’s house with her sister. In Granny’s will she left the house in Heart’s Bend to Taylor and the contents to her sister Emma; who is recently divorced.
At 83, Jimmy is trying to figure out what went wrong with Colette the orphan girl from England. All was great with them before he went off to the war in Korea. He went on with his life until now! All these inquiries about the Chapel; the one he built for the love of his life. His memories whisked him back to 1951 and his loss. He once viewed the chapel as a monument of sorrow, “But today it represented a new chance to pass the key on, give the old chapel the life it never had. It was too late for his heart but not for the chapels…He’d deposited his sweat, his tears and his heart in the chapel.” It was time to move on.
When Jimmy decides he’ll sell the Chapel his world is tossed upside down. Life for many take unexpected turns. Secrets can have devastating effects. Collette’s sister couldn’t help but unburden herself of a few heavy secrets right before she died. Taylor’s Granny is Colette’s sister, Peg. She leaves Taylor a letter that tells of her sins and leaves on her granddaughters shoulders to tell others or hide the secret like she’d done all these years.
The story shows how characters deal with miscommunication, love, pain, loss reconciliation and forgiveness. This book blends past and present history, dealing with some heart-wrenching parts mixed with sweet and heart-warming situations. This story has a complex plot that spans decades each character has their own struggles and ghosts to deal with. The novel jumps back and forth in time and in different characters POV.
The Chapel represented hope, healing and made readers realize there is no time limit on second chances. The descriptions of this Chapel made it sound like a special place I’d love to visit.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook blog site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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”
Nora St. Laurent
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