I'm going to be honest. I picked up Beth Vogt's book knowing it's a runaway-bride story. What I didn't expect was to enjoy it as much as I did. Since I have a hard time seeing someone jilted, especially at the altar, Vogt had a challenge ahead of her. Could she create a heroine I would like and be able forgive for her fickleness, a hero deserving of her without being a self-serving bride-stealer, and a former fiance who wasn't a cliched character with so many faults I wondered what on earth she was thinking to have been engaged to him in the first place. Vogt could, and she did.
Allison Denman quickly captured my heart. She's bright, witty, and wounded. She's also confused. Enter Daniel Rayner, her fiance's brother, who kisses her days before her wedding, catapulting her from confusion to crisis. How can she marry his brother, Seth, when she enjoyed Daniel's kiss? But how can she hurt Seth, the well meaning albeit somewhat controlling guy she's been with since high school?
Watching Allison, Daniel, and Seth wrestle with their feelings in the aftermath of her mad dash out of the church in a detested wedding dress was an enjoyable experience. Although this is a romantic comedy, Vogt brought some tough issues into play, which added depth to the story. As Allison faces her feelings about faith, family, her former fiance, Seth, and her longtime friend, Daniel, she discovers who she isâ€”and finds peace in knowing whose she is and following His plan for her life. Only then is she able to embrace a future vastly different than the one she'd originally envisioned.
If you're looking for a romantic comedy that is not only fun but has substance and a faith element that isn't heavy-handed, I recommend While You Were Here. You'll laugh, because Allison is such a fun character. You might even get misty-eyed a time to two. And you'll certainly sigh, because Daniel is one fine specimen of manhood. I enjoyed Vogt's debut novel and look forward to her next book.
Alison Denman is marrying Seth Rayner in five days, and is having second thoughts about the frou-frou dress with the huge train that her future mother-in-law â€˜encouraged' her to buy. She's having second thoughts about the 350-guest wedding. She's having second thoughts about the bouquet. She's looking at her board of â€˜Wish You Were Here' postcards from Seth's older brother, Daniel. But that's got nothing to do with why she's having second thoughts_ and then Daniel kisses her while helping pack up her apartment five days before the wedding. And she kisses him back. Now what?
My initial impression of Seth was that he was too good to be true. I found myself quite disliking him as the book wore on. Part of me didn't like the idea of Alison leaving her long-term boyfriend at the altar; another part of me saw that there was something a bit â€˜off' about him, so didn't want Alison to get back together with him.
I liked Seth's brother, Daniel, although I am always a bit hesitant about too big an age gap between a couple (and, at eight years, this was pushing my limits). But Daniel is a gentleman with a strong code of personal honour, and I could respect that about him.
As the story progressed, we found out more about Alison, about why she was prepared to marry Seth, the safe choice, and what happened that made â€˜safe' such an important choice for her. We also met Alison's best friend, Meghan, who knows the secret even Seth doesn't know_
Allison has everything a girl could want: a great job doing what she loves without punching a time clock, and in just a few days she's marrying her perfect man in a big beautiful wedding in the perfect dress. Well, everyone else thinks it's the perfect dress, Allison hates it. Then to make matters worse she ends up kissing the groom's brother, Daniel, just five days before the wedding.
This story gave me things to laugh at, to cry about, and to think on. The author did a great job of balancing the story to what real like can be like. Allison is a great character, in that she is like so many women who get swept with the current of expectations. Fortunately, Allison realizes before it is too late it's time to jump ship and stand on her own two feet.
The author touched on a couple of topics that I hadn't see before, but sorry I won't share those here, it would be better for you to experience them yourself. The author also kept me guessing how how things would end. I saw a couple of different directions she could have gone and wasn't sure until the very end how the story would conclude. Which is really hard to do with romance so a definite bonus with this book.
The author did a nice job with the spiritual aspect. She highlighted Allison's life decisions very true to real life. As women, it is too easy to forget our first love, Christ, and put other things ahead of Him. However, the Christian message is not so heavy that it scare anyone off.
For those of you who love romance, you should enjoy this one, if you're not a big romance fan this book still has a lot to offer, with a fun and interesting storyline a great characters to love and to hate.
To learn more about Beth K. Vogt visit her website.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank Howard Books for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was under no obligation other than to give my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
So fun. So delightful. Such a great new voice to watch! A perfect weekend read and oh, so much more.
"Wish You Were Here" has got so much to love! A kiss within the first ten pages? Yes, please! Conflict, love triangles, just a *wee* bit of drama (because what romance wouldn't be good without it?), llamas, some LOL dialogue, but yet a depth to the characters that was well crafted. Awesome.
I love Allison Denman. You can read some much of this character in her actions and she wants her happily-ever-after so badly, but it seems life isn't going to give her one lying down.
I loved the depth to the characters. I felt Allison was really well rounded and played wonderfully upon the page. Don't let the cute cover fool you, the novel has its moments of hilarity, but also some serious undertones that compliment it really well.
I'd love to see Allison and Daniel get their cameo part two. Maybe a short story, please?
An excellent new voice in Christian Fiction to watch, this novel does its genre proud!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher and author for my copy to review/influence.