Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Bookshelf: Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant

For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
        Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.
        Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.
        Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.
        A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.

        Love Arrives in Pieces is the second of Betsy St. Amant’s books about the Varland sisters, coming after All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes. After reading the first book a couple of months ago, I became a HUGE fan of Betsy’s, so I was extremely excited to be able to read this novel. I stumbled upon Betsy’s writing when I found All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes as a bargain book in one of my local bookstores, and the funny thing is, that’s where I found this one too. Only I was sure I wanted it immediately, and I knew what I was getting into by picking this one up.
        Stella Varland wasn’t my favorite character when I met her in the first book. I didn’t hate her, but she just didn’t seem like the type of woman I would like. However, once I started her story, she quickly became a close friend of mine. Her brokenness endeared me to her immediately, and I soon found myself anxious for her to find healing. I sided with her from the very beginning, constantly fussing at Chase for any argument, whether it was his fault or not—though usually it was—because I so felt as if Stella were really a close friend of mine. Betsy really brought her to life for me, and that was something that made this novel all that much better.
        Chase Taylor is another character I felt as if I knew immediately. Although I have to say a like Lucas a whole lot better, I still like Chase too. He certainly had a few rough edges to work out, and still had to deal with the consequences of his often impulsive actions, but he was also extremely sweet and caring towards Stella. He wanted to do what was right, at the right time, and in the right way, he just sometimes let his live-with-no-regrets attitude to get ahold of him. I also wanted him to find the healing he needed, though I didn’t see him as nearly as broken as Stella. And he wasn’t hiding. His job was to help Stella find how God could bring her healing.
        All in all, if I’m completely honest with you, even though Lucas is still my favorite hero, I think I may like this book even better than the first. It is definitely another book that I am so glad that I purchased, and I know that I will be reading it again and again. If you didn’t already know, I’ve decided to give this novel all five bookshelves, and it has a permanent place on my all-time favorites list. I highly, highly recommend it, but I would definitely read All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes first.
        Happy reading!

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

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

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Betsy St. Amant and Zondervan Publishing.

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