Summer Escape: Books too Juicy to Put Down
The Wedding Dress
By: Rachel Hauck (Thomas Nelson, April 2012)
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? The romance, the celebration, the dress … all of the happiness that comes with a couple taking their vows, along with the feeling of hope a wedding brings, makes us not only melt but believe in the power of love.
If you love wedding dresses and romance, you will thoroughly enjoy Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Dress. It reads like a true mystery, as bridal shop owner Charlotte Malone winds up buying a hundred year old trunk at an auction and discovers a vintage gown in perfect condition. She begins to wonder what stories this dress holds – how many brides wore it, and why was the trunk welded shut? And why does the strange man who sold it to her keep showing up to tell her the dress is now “redeemed?” After the trunk is opened, she comes upon not only the dress, but a few other items that become clues to the stories she is curious about.
The parallel tale in this novel is Charlotte’s own engagement to Tim Rose, which holds its own kind of mystery. Both of them search their minds and hearts as the wedding day draws near, especially since neither of them have done any planning or preparation. Charlotte wonders … why is it that she can always find the perfect dress for each of her clients, yet she can’t do the same for herself? She thinks it may be a sign that she isn’t supposed to marry Tim.
Charlotte is intrigued by the stories of the women who wore this dress – in 1912, 1939 and 1968. Each one is unique, yet there are common threads that tie them all together. One of these threads is their faith in God, which each of them have needed to rely on for very different reasons. Through these three ladies, Charlotte deepens her own faith and learns what is really important in life – the power of true love and the necessity of standing up for your true self and beliefs.
This is one novel you will not want to stop reading until you have reached the last page.
When Rain Falls
By: Tyora Moody (Urban Christian, March 2012)
Have you had a horrible event that has changed you and haunts your dreams still? Tyora’s main character, Candace Johnson, not only had one horrible event, but she experiences many that shake her to the very core of her soul. As a child, Candace experiences the pain from the loss of a parent in a violent manner. As an adult, she faces the death of her husband, a detective. If that is not enough, she has more death that visits her in other brutal ways. Candace starts to question God about why He keeps removing the people she loves.
I believe that many of us have asked that question and being inquisitive does not mean that we are bad people. It makes us human. As Candace searches for the answer, she becomes closer to the actual killer of her husband. Due to unforeseen circumstances, she has to meet the man who took her husband’s place as detective. Thus, Darnell Jackson has his hands full being the “new kid on the block” and trying to prove that he is worthy of the position.
The book is an easy read; therefore, it is hard to put down and you want to know what’s going to happen. The characters come alive in the salon, at the crime scene or in their homes. This book is so juicy that I encourage you to grab a tall glass of lemonade, sit outside on your back porch and start reading.
My Hair & God’s Mercies…New Every Morning
By: Yvette Maher (with Amy Tracy) (Tyndale House Publishers, June 2012)
With tears and laughter, I could not put this book down. We ARE affected by our environment, experiences and relationships. The most influential relationship that shapes us is the one we have with our parents; whether they are in our lives or absent. In her book, Maher helps us acknowledge that we are not the only ones with parents who have issues, and God does protect and takes care of us even when they are not able to do so. To err is to be human and she discusses her mistakes that she has made; yet, she recognizes that God can use them to strengthen us.
Growing up, Maher suffered a horrendous childhood with a murderous and unfaithful father and a depressive mother. She later abused drugs and alcohol. Her mistakes are very common because when we hurt, we do hurtful things to ourselves to numb the pain. Maher invites us into her life and her memories of pain, joy and love. We never know how powerful our lights can be in other people’s lives, but she gives us examples that will guide us to reflect on how we have made a difference or how others have made a difference in our lives.
Maher expresses the power of God in each chapter. She reminds us that many things can make an impact, including food. Food, sounds and certain times of the year can take us back to childhood memories. I love the way she incorporates recipes with moments in her life. Do you remember standing in the kitchen while mom baked your favorite cookies? Do you get that warm, fuzzy feeling when you think about them now?
The Marriage of Your Dreams: A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Her Man
By: Rick Johnson (Revell, Oct. 2012)
Relationship expert Rick Johnson, who usually writes book geared towards men, has written one for the ladies this time. After conducting a survey to find out the most common questions women had about men, he sets out to answer them in a direct and engaging style. Some of his observations reminded me of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. For instance, men crave respect and admiration and need women to speak directly rather than telling long complicated stories.
Others were brand-new to me. Johnson says the most common question was about the mother-in-law and how a man’s relationship with his mother affected his marriage. He also says that men who grow up without fathers are more likely to have ADHD and emotional disorders like major depression, bi-polarity and schizophrenia. “One of the traits of a feminized man is he marries someone like Mom – usually a strong woman who will make decisions and take care of him,” he writes. “Of course his wife thinks this is great – at first. She’s marrying a sensitive man with feelings after all. But she soon becomes frustrated at having to make all the decisions. The more she pushes him, the more passive he becomes. The more passive and indecisive he becomes, the more frustrated she gets, eventually losing all respect for him.”
Questions from real women round out each chapter and illustrate the themes. Some of the answers are humorously brief. Q: “Is there a time men don’t want or think about sex? “ A: “No.”