Samantha Bravencourt lives in Washington, D.C. and works at her mother's clothing boutique. She appears content with her life, but frequently reminisces about the time she spent teaching in a Philippines refugee camp. A wedding invitation is indeed the catalyst for the story - Sam receives what she thinks is an invitation to the wedding of an old friend. The wedding is in Winston-Salem, NC, where Sam's mother is from and her aunt still lives. Turns out that she ends up at the wrong wedding - but while there meets a nice guy who is a PI in Washington, D.C.
While in North Carolina, she also reconnects with Carson, a fellow teacher she had a crush on in the Phillipines, and Lien, a girl from the refugee camp who now lives with her brother, aunt and uncle in North Carolina.
The story alternates between the present day (1993 in the story) and the time Samantha and Carson spent at the refugee camp (1985). While the alternating stories provided an interesting element to the story, I thought it also made the story somewhat hard to follow.
Throughout the book, the stories of Samantha, Carson, Lien and the PI are woven together. The author does a good job of adding twists the story, veering off the predictability path every so often to keep you second-guessing if the anticipated ending actually occurs.
I personally found this book to be a somewhat slow read. I was expecting it to move along at a faster clip. I also found the secondary characters in the book to be much more interesting than the main character, Samantha. In fact, I kept thinking that I wished the main plot of the story was about Samantha's empathetic Aunt Dovie and her eccentric cast of boarders.
All in all, a light read that fits well in the chick lit genre. It would be a good book for a rainy afternoon or a day at the pool. The different plots in the story might also make it a good fit for a book club. I give it 2 ÃÂ½ stars - I liked it, but it was not a "can't wait to find out what happens next" book for me.
I received this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for an honest review.
mantha has started working at her mother's clothing boutique. She has just returned home from teaching at a refugee camp in the Philippines. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with where she should be in life. She receives an invitation to a friend's wedding in North Carolina. She decides to go just to see her old friends. Maybe a big mistake.
Why? Because she accidentally connects with a fellow teacher ~ the man who once broke her heart. Somehow Sam and this man who broke her heart ~ Carson end up working together to help a young Amerasian girl who desperately needs their help.
Working with Carson might put Sam at risk by softening her heart once again. Is she willing to forgive the past and take a chance on love?
This story is told from the perspective of the main character, Samantha Bravencourt. In the beginning she goes from her present time, 1993, to her past when she worked at a refugee camp in the Philippines in the 1980's. So we get the background of her story. She fell in love with a young man named Carson Brylie but he had a girlfriend back home. Seven years later she still has a flame that burns for him even though they no longer have contact.
Samantha receives a wedding invitation for one her old college friends. She goes but does not recognize anyone, including the bride or groom! She does meet Taylor the PI though and so she stays for the reception. While in North Carolina she sees one of her students from the camp, Huy, and he invites her to their restaurant. His sister, Lien, who was quite a nuisance to Sam. Through meeting them she is reconnected to Carson but also she goes on a few dates with Taylor when she gets back home to Falls Church, VA. When Lien wants to find her mother, ends up she was living with her Uncle's family, Carson and Sam join together to find her and Taylor being a PI helps as well.
Samantha struggles to keep her heart from falling further for Carson as he already broke it once but the more they are together the harder it is. She stays with her Aunt Dovie when she goes to N.C. Aunt Dovie takes in all kinds of human strays with unique personalities. Cute story.
Samantha Bravencourt loves helping her mother at the clothing boutique shop. Though she used to teach at a refugee camp in the Philippines, she knows how much her mother needs her. When She receives a wedding invitation to her old college pal's wedding in Winston-Salem, NC, she's thrilled to be able to watch her get married.
The wedding isn't exactly what Sam expected . . .and somehow leads to a chance encounter with Carson Brylie, the man who once broke her heart, and the man who suddenly seems persistent on reconnecting with her. She'd love to just move on, but a young woman from her past also needs her help. . .and that requires that she and Carson work together. Can she forgive Carson and somehow experience the love she longed for so long ago?
I think I need to start this review, by saying that I
don't normally read chick-lit. While I'm at the prime age when this genre should appeal to me, it just doesn't seem to. With that said, I gushed over the premise of A Wedding Invitation. The very idea is absolutely genius!
Besides, what girl hasn't longed to come across that one guy who broke her heart years ago--and suddenly he wants to pursue her?
The romantic tension sparked off the pages of this story. I found it stirring emotions deep inside of me--ones that dealt with the same heart-break Samantha experienced. It's amazing how much I related to her current situation. I had to ask myself, "What if that one person came back in my life? How would I handle it?"
I enjoyed learning about the refugee camps and the work that goes on inside of them. I found that portion in the story very enlightening.
One thing I found a bit confusing in this novel is the very beginning. We open with the story in 1993. At first, I thought it must be a flashback. It wasn't. The story actually takes place in 1993, while the flashbacks going back to 1985.
I found the timing a bit to my disliking (kind of felt like a long time ago). Of course, these days, with social sites like Facebook and Twitter, a modern setting could have made the premise of the story absolutely impossible, so I can understand why the author chose use 1993 as the setting.
I felt like the ending came across as a little rushed, but then again, this genre isn't my strong suit, so this may be quite typical in chick-lit.
Chick-lit lovers will devour this story. I definitely recommend A Wedding Invitation.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
A Wedding Invitation is a sweet story of a woman who finds herself face to face with her past after attending a wedding that she was "accidentally" invited to. Filled with a cast of endearing and quirky characters, the story invites the reader on a journey that is as deep as it is light. I love how A Wedding Invitation takes readers on a romantic and sentimental excursion, while, at just the right moments, going deeper to ponder real issues without forcing them on the reader or disrupting the flow of the story.
The main character, Samantha, is not perfect, but she is intriguing and refreshing. I found her recollections of her time spent in refugee camps in the Philippines fascinating, yet I appreciated that this part of Samantha's life did not elevate her to some sort of hero status in the reader's eyes. If anything, at times she distanced herself from the experience, only to have it surface in the end in a redeeming way that will touch readers.
As a lover of mother-daughter stories, I also particularly loved reading about Samantha's relationship with her mother, as well as with her Aunt who boards a cast of unusual women in her home. If you have read The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, there are times that this novel has that same feel to it, although the over all story is much different. And the ending? I love how this novel ends. There is nothing better than an ending in which all the pieces come together to remind us that what we think is just chance in a person's life, is anything but.
This is one of those books that deserves to be read with a perfect cup of coffee, tea, or lemonade with your feet propped up. I highly recommend A Wedding Invitation for its lyrical prose and absorbing storyline.