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.
My source for book: Local LibraryMy Thoughts:
Charlotte is a mostly likeable character, and her business of finding the perfect dress for every bride who visits her shop is interesting and unique. The descriptions of her shop really brought it to life in my mind; the lavish setting would be a dream come true for any bride! As far as Charlotte's personal relationships go, I have to admit that I didn't much care for Tim, or Charlotte's relationship with him. Simply put, he was too wishy-washy for my taste. I kept wanting Charlotte to let him go and just move on with her life, but Tim always managed to re-appear. Though he wasn't "terrible", he just wasn't my ideal for a leading man.
Charlotte's story is set in the present day, but a good portion of the novel also tells Emily's story, which is set in the early 1900's. Emily's sections of the story were actually my favorite, having a sort of innocent, stand-up-for-what's-right atmosphere about them. It did irk me that it took Emily so long to acknowledge the issues regarding her relationship with Phillip, but I suppose the practice of ignoring problems is actually a very realistic thing, especially in the era where social standing was everything. Nevertheless, Emily's story remains my favorite. It had the best church wedding scene I've ever read, which involved a horse, but I won't spoil it by revealing any more! :)
Wedding dresses, especially timeless ones, have an appeal to women of all ages, and it's interesting to tag along with Charlotte (and the rest of the ladies) as the history of the mysterious dress is slowly revealed. I especially liked how the dress was related to the message of the gospel; the moment at the end when the similarities are spelled out was simply AWESOME! It was a parallel I didn't see coming, and there's just no other word for it besides awesome.
Overall, this is a good, solid read. While it's not my favorite of Rachel Hauck's works--that honor goes to Love Starts With Elle--it's still a nice addition to the women's section of the Christian fiction market. I wasn't overly crazy about any of the leading male characters (with the exception of Daniel, but he didn't have a very large part), but when it comes right down to it, ultimately the story is more about the dress and the women who wore it. I give this one 4 stars: recommended!
My Rating: 4 stars