Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Wedding Shop (By: Rachel Hauck)

The Wedding Shop

By: Rachel Hauck


Decades apart, two women want to help others achieve their dreams through The Wedding Shop, even if each may never see her own come true.

In 1930's Tennessee, Cora has inherited the shop from her aunt and delights in helping blushing brides choose the perfect wedding gown and accessories. She hopes that one day her man will finally be able to marry her and then she too can be the one walking down the aisle. But as the Depression hits, life changes forever for both her family and all the families around her. Will her waiting for Happily Ever After never end?

Today, Haley Morgan moves back home to Heart's Bend, Tennessee after her childhood best friend, Tammy, dies. She is drawn to the old, abandoned wedding shop where they used to play, promising to one day reopen the magical store. When Haley finds out the shop is scheduled to be torn down and turned into a parking lot, she takes a leap of faith and decides to renovate and reopen the shop - even with opposition from every side. Can she overcome the odds to fulfill God's plans for her future? Especially with a past like hers?

There is no one better than author Rachel Hauck at seamlessly interweaving the past and present, creating a fascinating plot with vivid detail and heartfelt characters. She tells little bits of the story at a time, leaving us hungry for more and satisfying us with answers at just the right times.

Many deep issues are touched on in The Wedding Shop. The Depression Era is often taught in history as a financial problem. Everyone knows that money was tight, and hard times were had by many all over the country. But this book explores the emotional side of the Depression as well. What must families have gone through when the dads were out of work? How did the husbands and fathers feel at being unable to provide for their families? How did the women feel when their men were depressed and when some even left their families out of shame? The raw pain of this era is boldly brought to life.

Additionally, some of the main characters either have a broken past to deal with or currently have great pain to contend with. Broken families, past mistakes, and unfulfilled dreams are addressed.

Light shines brightest in the darkest places. Author Rachel isn't afraid to show the depths of sin the human heart can plunge into, but that makes the redemption all the sweeter. And what better way to parallel what Jesus did for us on the cross, than with the white of a wedding dress and the purity of the bride wearing it? She shows through these stories that God is a God of second chances and complete forgiveness. No matter what our past holds, Jesus cleans our souls whiter than snow.

Love Story
The romances in The Wedding Shop are fulfilling pictures of true love! They are genuine, deep and contrasted against a backdrop of what true love is NOT. Past relationships and romances are shown for what they are - shallow imitations. The heartaches and joys are so well written, we felt what the characters felt and loved journeying with them.


This book was like a breath of fresh air to these 2 Chicks who have been in a drought of good reads lately. Believe it or not, this is only the second book this year to make it to our Golden List! But The Wedding Shop's placement there is well deserved. The characters are flawed, lovable and realistic. This book is raw, not shying away from the harsh realities of mistakes and life's circumstances. All loose ends were tied up and when we had turned the last page, we were completely satisfied.

Find it on Amazon: The Wedding Shop

Note: We were given this book free in return for our honest review

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Things We Knew (By: Catherine West)

The Things We Knew

By: Catherine West

Lynette Carlisle's mom passed away 12 years ago. Since then she has watched her family unravel and the worst part is she cannot remember what really happened the day her mom died. She has spent years trying to sort out what really took place. She was there that tragic day but her memories are suppressed. Now she is the only one left to care for her dad who is starting to show signs of Alzheimer's and to top it off, the house is falling apart. It's time for her to start calling her siblings home to tackle some tough decisions together. Little does she know, her siblings are each dealing with their own drama and hardships. This homecoming will either push them farther apart or be a time to come together and remember the importance of family. 

Enter Nick Cooper, another main character in this story is and Lynette's neighbor and past crush. Key word being PAST. Nick Cooper comes home to live with his father and help out with the family business. Nick remembers a time when the Carlisle family was more of a family to him than his own. Five years ago that changed when he had a falling out with his best friend, Gray Carlisle. Should he keep the past in the past? And what about the feelings he still has for Lynette? Will he help her remember what truly happened the day her mother died, or will that just push her away?

This story is definitely not lighthearted. It dives into tough family dynamics and struggles in life. There are five Carlisle siblings and all but one is living with lots of heartache and pain. Each one is dealing with their own grief but have kept it to themselves. When they all come home and the stories start to unravel it's evident that it's time they start relying on one another and working together to rebuild their family.

Lynette, Nick and the housekeeper are the main characters who profess to having faith in this book. With the three of them it was nice to see themes of grace and forgiveness. Dealing with so much pain from the past it was good to see those themes in parts of the book. However, this story is one that should have been wrapped tightly and bubbling with faith elements. Sadly, it lacked in this area. With all of the heartache and trials this family is going through we would have liked to have seen more growth in walks with the Lord and even started to see more evidence of faith in some characters.

Love Story
Lynette and Nick have a very sweet yet sometimes complicated relationship. They have a lot of heartbreak and unspoken bitterness between their two families to work through. We loved Nick's character and enjoyed watching him love and care for Lynette. These two have some sweet moments that you are sure to enjoy.


It was hard to not want to give this book more than three stars. Catherine is a very talented writer and tackles some very tough subjects in this story. However, too much drama and not enough redemption or faith built in to support all that took place had us longing for more at the end.

Find it on Amazon: The Things We Knew