Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review of "The Wedding Dress" by Rachel Hauck

Rating: 4 Stars
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Summary from Thomas Nelson: Four brides. One Dress. A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love. 

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new—shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

Review: Enduring, finely detailed, beautiful, and inspiring.  Rachel Hauck's newest novel The Wedding Dress evokes the same qualities of the plot's common thread: a timeless wedding dress.  On the surface, the white wedding dress is just a dress; but as the story progresses, Hauck reveals a deeper symbolism. The perfect and ageless dress becomes an analogy for God's love.  It is also the link between four generations of women searching for the right husband.

Each of the four women in The Wedding Dress brings her own dynamic to the plot. Emily's willingness to break through injustices and social barriers is a powerful example of courage and faith.  I would have enjoyed more direct interaction between Emily and her future husband, but their feelings for each other are obvious even as Emily tries to overcome her emotions.  Mary Grace and her husband enter the novel as an elderly couple in their 90s. The strength of their love, faith, and dedication is sweet and heartwarming.  Hillary's story as a Vietnam War bride is heartbreaking and tragic.  As she discovers the history of her wedding dress with Charlotte, both women find the healing and strength they need.  While the love story of each past wearer of the wedding dress has been written, Charlotte's story is just beginning. She goes through a range of emotions over the course of the novel.  Her doubts about being a bride are understandable, and her love story is rocky at times while she works through her past, present, and future. When she finally lets go of her fears and puts on the wedding dress, her purpose becomes clear and her heart finds peace.

When I first read the summary of The Wedding Dress, I expected the plot to focus equally on each of the women who wore the dress.  Fortunately, the plot was not as predictable as I expected.  The journey of the dress from woman to woman is not a straight path; there are mysteries, twists and turns.  Along the way, Hauck introduces the past owners, each of whom faced different challenges and uncertainties when following their hearts and living faithfully. As present-day Charlotte discovers the story of the mysterious dress, she learns that following the right path can be easy or difficult and bring bliss or sorrow, but it ultimately leads to a perfect purpose.  With romance and mystery spanning four different eras, The Wedding Dress is a perfect fit for a wide range of readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”

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