Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Bookshelf: The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

For sixty years, a wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late.
        Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—the wedding chapel he built for Collette Greer, the woman he fell for back in ’49. But now an offer has come to turn the chapel into what it was meant to be—a place for love—and Jimmy sees no reason to hang onto his dream any longer.
        Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s abysmal marriage rate. But love surprises her when she falls head-over-heels for Jack Forester, a top ad man. Their whirlwind romance results in an elopement, and a mountain of doubt. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to overcome his own demons to find the words of his heart.
        When Taylor takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time.
        When Taylor’s journey intersects with Coach’s, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.

        The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck may not be the first novel I have ever read by her, but it is definitely one of my favorites. I’ve read the Songbird series she co-wrote with Sarah Evans, her three Royal Weddings books—the most recent one being How to Catch a Prince—and even another one of her wedding-themed novels called The Wedding Dress. Although I absolutely loved each and every one of those books, I have to say, there was something about her most recent release that may have put it over anything else she’s ever written. The Wedding Chapel is such a sweet, heartwarming, captivating story of lost love, ghosts of one’s past, and finding true peace in Jesus, and I know I won’t be forgetting how this story touched my heart for a long time to come.
        Taylor and Jack. There is no reason on earth why their names should ever be separated. Even though they both struggle with their own demons, and have trouble truly showing each other just how they feel, I have no doubts that they are absolutely perfect for one another. Taylor is sweet, funny, and a wonderful photographer with a huge heart, and Jack is a strong, determined sweetheart who has the ability to make any girl melt. Put the two of them together, and you’ve got a dynamic duo who—if they try hard enough and place God at the center of their marriage—can accomplish anything. Together they become one of my favorite couples of all time, so I spent the good majority of this book hoping that they would both decide that their whirlwind romance was more than just that, but rather a love that could last a lifetime.
        Jimmy and Collette’s story is one for the history books. I cannot imagine there ever being a better man than Jimmy; spending the better part of ten years building a wedding chapel for the woman he loved even though he was convinced she was never coming back to him. On top of that, he never sold it, never held a wedding in it because it had never seen his own, and never considered marrying anyone else. And then there’s the kicker, every time he enters the chapel and sits down, he sits on the pew in the exact spot where he declared his love for Collette and asked her to marry him. It cannot possibly get any better than that!!! (Except maybe if he hadn’t had to long for Collette at all and they originally got married just as they planned). Anyway, even though Collette’s story may not look quite the same as Jimmy’s, she never stopped loving him either, and that is the type of love everyone longs for. Once you get to the end of their tale, once all the secrets come to life and you can truly see the whole picture, it is highly likely that tears will fill your eyes and you will know for sure that you will remember their love story forever.
        Rachel really knocked it out the park with this novel, and I cannot sing her praises loudly enough. She did an amazing job of weaving together all four stories: Jimmy, Collette, Taylor, and Jack’s, in a way that creates a beautiful patterned quilt of life, love, and God’s redeeming grace. I was blessed by this story, blessed by the beautiful ending, and I already know I will be reading it again and again. As you can probably already tell, I give this fantastic story all five bookshelves, and a place on my all-time favorites list. I highly recommend this wonderful novel, as I am sure it will touch your heart just like it touched mine.
        Happy reading!

I received a copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity group in exchange for only my honest review.

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

Photo credits go to by fabulous sister Allie, whose blog you can visit here.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Rachel Hauck and Zondervan Publishing.


  1. I've seen this book at the bookstore and I've been curious about it. Sounds like a good read!

  2. Thanks for your thorough review and for sharing at the #LMMLinkup