What comes to mind when you think of a wedding? Love, perhaps? A gathering to see and meet people? To some, maybe even to find someone special. How many stories have you heard about how a wedding brought together two people in matrimony? Well, what about this wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn in Pinecraft, Florida, the title of bestselling author, Shelley Shepard Gray's newest novel? Will "A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn" capture your heart?
The story centers around Emma and Jay, both widowed with 3 kids each; three girls, Lena, Mandy and Annie for Emma, and three boys, Ben, Mark and William for Jay. Emma, widowed for 3 years, is constantly reminded by family and friends of her lost, and clearly expects her heart to stay true to her deceased husband for the rest of her life. She finds common grounds with Jay and soon develops a friendship. Will this friendship emerge into something more with all the opposition thrown their way?
I love the opening scene. A little chaotic bought on by an adorable pizza-hungry beagle named Frankie, but it will get you to smile and into the story from the get-go.
Characters like Emma, Jay, the kinners (kids), Tricia, Beverly and Eric seem so real, along with the visual description (and handy map at the beginning of the book) makes you feel like you're part of that town. You could be sitting at the kitchen watching Beverly bake at the Orange Blossom Inn or having a pie at Yonder's, and saying hello to all these characters. After reading this book, each of them will have a special place in your heart and mind.
Shelley Shepard Gray has a pleasant style of writing that soothes your mind as you read about her characters and their journey. Readers can easily identify with the spiritual journey each of her character encounters, from young love to faith in the Lord. Then the central theme of the story, love and what that means just makes reading this so much more than a simple enjoyable read. Love isn't just butterflies in your stomach (there's some of that too), but it's about honesty, respect and concern. Love is not able changing the person to your liking, but accepting who they are. And when that love leads to a blessing of marriage, it is a lifetime commitment, the good and the bad and not to be "taken for granted" (p 246). How beautiful it is to hear (read)?
To end this review, I want to say I really enjoyed reading the dedication and reading about the inspiration behind Frankie. It is located at the "P.S" section at the end of the book filled with insights, interviews, excerpts for her next novel, a recipe and much more.
Released Date: September 15, 2015
Published by: Avon Inspire, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity Group for an honest review.
Find Shelley online: website, Facebook, Twitter