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The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck Brings Historical Mystery Linking Generations

Can you imagine a vintage trunk calling to you….urging you to act impulsively and make you its owner? What about if you suddenly found a similar bond and link to a set of women from the past once you opened that trunk? Could it all be divine intervention? I loved immersing myself on the historical trek that The Wedding Dress, by Rachel Hauck, led me on.

Every night I would read more than I realized, because the prose was so smooth and light. It flowed so freely between Emily, a young aristocrat from 1912, and Charlotte, a wedding gown boutique owner from the present. This established unknown link encouraged me to keep reading, because it peaked my interest as to what the tie was between the two women.  It was an airy read that intrigued me enough, but also let me be entertained without thinking too hard. 

I loved following Charlotte’s journey as she discovered the lives of three other women from the past who wore the mint-condition wedding dress found in the trunk. The story was sweet and inspiring with a twist of mystery. It reminded me why we should always listen to our inner intuitive self, be in touch with those who came before us as well as ourselves, and always choose love over anything else.

I think I chose to review it for the fact that it had a historical element as well as mystical vibe. Our Lord can move in mysterious ways.  This was an undercurrent reality in this book, though no open references were made.  It brought allegory to us in the most quiet of ways.  The Wedding Dress is a reminder of God’s love for us and His plan for us.

Here is the book promo:

One dress. Four women. An amazing destiny.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift—and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress—or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte purchases a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new, shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed”?

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

About Rachel Hauck, in her own words:

I wrote my first story about a girl and her pony when I was ten. It was handwritten in a spiral notebook.  My second story was about a girl who wanted to move away and live in New York City. I was twelve and no one had ever heard of “chick lit.”  I laughed when I found that incomplete manuscript in an old box-o-stuff. I told my husband, “I was born to write.”

Words fascinate me. I love putting them together and dialoging with the characters who live in my heart and mind. I carry on conversations with them while driving down the road or sitting on a bike in Spin class.

People are as fascinating as words. I love hearing personal stories of romance, tragedy and triumph. I’d love to hear your stories, too, if you care to write to me. I’m always wondering “what if” about the human condition and see what string of events might develop into a new story.

My life as been molded by the encouragement of my parents and teachers, and by the places I’ve lived like Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Florida, and the people I’ve met along the way.  Readers ask, “Is any part of you in your stories or characters?”  The answer is always yes. All of us are impacted by the places we’ve been and the people we’ve met, if only for a moment. As a writer, those exposures show up in the stories I write.

After graduating from the Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, I traveled as a software trainer. From California to Maine, I experienced the beauty and heart of America and our people. In countries such as Australia, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Ireland and Canada came to see how people are just people. We all want the same things: love and happiness, laughter, faith and safety, and a bit of prosperity.

Those experiences make up the tapestry of my stories. Life-like characters that, by the book’s end, get in your heart and make you want to spend time with them over a latte or Diet Coke.  Looking back, I believe I’ve always written. If not in my journals or stories, in my heart. I was constantly taking note of the sights and sounds around me, the emotion of a moment: dinner with friends, the last night in college before graduation, racing through an airport to catch a flight to Australia, talking about Jesus with my translator in the back of a cab as we drove across Madrid.  Now, my days are spent mining those life experiences and emotions so I can share them with you through the eyes and ears of my characters and the places they live.

In ’92, I married my best friend, Tony, and spent over eighteen years in youth ministry with him. We love to read and go to the gym, and laugh at the antics of our pets.  A year later, I started my first novel, an epic WWII story that eventually found some light as a sub plot in my book Love Starts With Elle..

With the help and cheering of writing friends I met through American Christian Fiction Writers where I served as President and now as an Advisor, my first book was published in 2004, the same year I left the corporate world to write full time..

Since then I’ve become an award winning, best selling author of twelve novels with more to come. It’s my desire for you find hope and escape in my stories, and inhale a bit of the fragrance of Jesus’s love.

To learn more about Rachel Hauck, or view her other titles, you can go to www.rachelhauck.com. You’ll find her Facebook and Twitter links there as well.

I received this wonderful book from Thomas Nelson publishers free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

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New Crime Novel with Paranormal Twist: Lis Wiehl and Pete Nelson

It seems everyone has always loved a good crime and/or mystery novel, right? The current reading trend has paranormal romance and supernatural horror also flying off the shelves. This new novel I’m reviewing, Waking Hours:  An East Salem Novel by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson, couples both genres together into a fiction novel of suspense that will leave you hanging at the very end and wanting more.

Former NFL player Tommy Gunderson, turned Private Investigator-in-Training, and Dani Harris, psychologist working for the District Attorney’s office, take on a shocking murder case of a teenage girl. With the murder stemming from a local high school party, it seems odd that none of the other party attendees seem to be able to remember what happened that night.

Tommy and Dani were once Homecoming King and Queen, but things were left unspoken and they haven’t seen each other since. When they meet again on this case, both are unsure of each other’s feelings.  As this case draws them closer, they both discover supernatural elements occurring all around them. For instance, why does Dani awake every night at 2:13 a.m.? Why are her dreams so apocalyptic? And why does Tommy feel like he is being watched at certain times? What incomprehensible forces are at work in this town?

The novel does a great job intertwining crime with a mystic story line. The paranormal element will leave you spooked and wanting to know more. It was an easy read, yet I found myself not really getting interested until about Chapter 19, almost halfway through the book. At that point the crime, and the paranormal elements, got much more interesting. Though the author took time to introduce the characters, I felt it wasn’t fast paced enough for me, or maybe in relation to other books I’ve read recently. However, many people might love the book the way it is and I try to realize that sometimes authors take it slow to build up suspense. The later half of the book was pretty decent and a quick read. The ending saved the book for me, as I finally started to get spooked, began to wonder about the supernatural occurences, and saw the proverbial fight against good and evil come in to play.  The theme of the heavenly versus the demonic always interests me and it’s why I love some of these Christian books that Thomas Nelson publishes. I am extremely intrigued now to read the second novel, as this book totally left a huge cliffhanger regarding the events happening in the town of East Salem.  I’ll want to read the second novel due to this. It would be an easy entertaining read for you to settle in with and might spook you a little if you aren’t used to reading horror or paranormal already.

I am not a huge fan of Fox News, who Lis Wiehl works for, and do not endorse her or the show or their statements, but the book was purely an entertaining read and she seems to have been able to use some of her former prosecutor skills to pen the crime scenes. Wiehl has another crime fiction series published with another supporting author as well, but I haven’t read any of those to compare this too.

Here is the Book Jacket Synopsis of Waking Hours: An East Salem Novel~

All towns have secrets. Some have demons.  Welcome to East Salem. A deceptively sleepy town where ancient supernatural forces are being awakened.  A local high-school girl is found murdered in a park amid horse farms and wealthy homes of northern Westchester County, New York. The shocking manner of her death confounds the town and intrigues forensic psychiatrist Dani Harris, who is determined to unravel the mystery. All the suspects are teenagers who were at a party with the girl–yet none remembers what happened. Could one of them be a vicious killer? Or is something more sinister afoot–something tied to an ancient evil?

But it’s not just her waking hours that challenge Dani. Each night, her eyes open at 2:13 due to troubling dreams. Dreams filled with blood, water, and destruction. Is it a clue–or a supernatural sign?

Across town, former NFL linebacker Tommy Gunderson finds his state-of-the-art security system has been breached by an elderly woman. Mumbling threats in Latin, she attacks him with an uncanny, preternatural strength. Before he has time to process the attack, someone close to him is implicated in the girl’s murder at the park. He agrees to help–and finds himself working with Dani, the only girl who could resist his charms years ago when they were in high school.

A heavy darkness is spreading. Yet a heavenly force is also at workIt will take astute analysis and forensic skills to solve the crime. But Dani and Tommy suspect there’s more the mystery than murder, more to their growing friendship than chance… and more to the evil they’re facing than a mere human killer.

Waking Hours is available as of Oct. 3, 2011.

You can learn more about Lis Wiehl at www.liswiehlbooks.com.  Pete Nelson is an established and acclaimed author. He lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York.

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I was sent this book from Thomas Nelson publishers as part of their BookSneeze Book for Bloggers program. The statements are totally my own opinions and they only asked that I give an honest review in return for the book.

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