A year in the Phillipines teaching Vietnam refugees was just that, one year of her life - right? Samantha finds out that isn't the case when that year of her life is thrown back at her as she runs into pieces of her past when she attends a wedding. It takes her on a journey into the past that is coinciding with her present and brings her face to face with the young man she fell in love with in the Phillipines. Now that they have run into each other again will things be any different? Can Samantha balance her obligations to her mom, her job and help track down a missing Vietnamese woman all while trying to fend off her feelings for Carson.
This book is a new offering from Alice Wisler that will entertain as you follow Samantha on her journey to where she should be.
This is the story of a girl who attends a friend's weddingâ€”only to find it's not her friend at all, and the events set in motion by her being there just might change her life forever.
Samantha Bravencourt has been happy enough working in her mother's store since returning from teaching refugees in the Philippines years before. She thinks attending the wedding will be safe enough; after all, it's a quick trip, and she'll be able to stay with her aunt. What could go wrong?
She meets a man, who is nice enough and cute enough and again, safe enough, but then she comes face to face with her pastâ€”a refugee family whose children she once taught, and another man she'd once loved. She finds that she still does. Will her heart be broken again, or this time, will it be for real? And can she help realize her former student's dearest wish, to locate her birth mother in time to attend her wedding?
The seemingly random detailsâ€”the disappearance of Samantha's mother's cat, the butterflies that her aunt raises and then releases at special occasionsâ€”and the way they interweave with the story's themes are half this story's charm. The details are very sweet, as are the way the author weaves in bits of her own experienceâ€”from the teaching in the Philippines to the memorial service at the cemetery. I found the story soothing and comforting, with deep issues handled gently. I usually prefer a more serious read, but this was a very nice change of pace, and Wisler's style is smooth and engaging.
The storyline reminded me a bit of another Southern fiction title, A Hundred Years of Happiness by Nicole Seitz, and those who enjoy her or Beth Webb Hart or Eva Marie Everson should enjoy Wisler's work.
My thanks to the publisher for providing the review copy.
It was just a few days ago that I let out a delighted squeal when this book arrived in my mailbox. Now today I let out a contented sigh as I finished it, followed by a touch of sadness that it was over. Now I probably have to wait another whole year before I read another Alice Wisler novel. That truly makes me sad.
I have made no secret of the fact that Alice is hands down, my absolute favorite author. She has been since I read her debut novel, Rain Song. That book has been my all-time favorite book for a long time, but I'm thinking now it has some serious competition. I can't decide if I like A Wedding Invitation better. If not better, it's a definite tie. I guess I don't need to decide, I just need to love the fact that I loved this book. I have loved all of Alice's books. She has a writing style that is so tender, so sentimental, without an ounce of sappiness. I have yet to find another author who evokes the kinds of feelings in me that Alice's books evoke. And, I read A LOT of books, as you may know.
So, what was it exactly that delighted me to my core? Hmmm, where to begin. Well, Samantha was one of the loveliest and most endearing characters I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. I could just feel her loneliness and her sadness about the love she lost, but deep inside she always had a hopeful spirit and a desire to love.
And of course, an Alice Wisler novel wouldn't be an Alice Wisler novel without a cast of supporting characters like Aunt Dovie and Beanie. Anyone who has lived in the South for any length of time knows people like this and we are better off because of them.
This book had a deeply personal feel to it as well. There is a lot of Alice on these pages, not just her words, but her heart as well. Her son Daniel was there, soaring high in the sky. Alice's personal experiences, her losses and her triumphs gave this book the heart that I have come to look forward to in her books.
I was very comforted by the mother/daughter relationship between Samantha and her mother. It made me think a lot about my mother, which is always welcome. In fact, I would be willing to bet that if my mother was still alive, she and I would likely own a dress shop very much like Have A Fit. And it would be fun. There were other things that I felt personally drawn to as well. For instance, the tribute to the Vietnam veteran. That made me cry, because my dad served in Vietnam and he is my hero. It is those little things that made this book so very special to me. Those things have made this an unforgettable book.
That is what readers can expect from this book - to have a deeply personal experience, no matter what life has handed you. That is the brilliance of Alice's writing. There is pain, sadness, grace, forgiveness, hope and tons of love in A Wedding Invitation. The sentimental feeling is so strong in this book. It was hard to get to the end of this book. I did not want it to end.
Read this book, absorb it, savor it, and fall in love all over again. Fall in love with second chances and with Alice's lovely words. You'll see what I mean.