My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Romance Novella
Book Description: She’s prepared for her wedding all her life … but she forgot a few things.
Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, often de-stresses from city life by tending the flower beds of a church near her apartment. She has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life, a wedding like the one her younger sister is planning back in their hometown. Their single mom will pay for Alexa’s wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom.
She bumps into a man who’s a guest at a wedding on the church grounds. She’s noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn’t trust freewheeling men like him. Standing up to Mom leads Ellie to stick up for Alexa too. When Ellie risks her own plans for her sister’s sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle?
Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they’ve begun come crashing down?
My thoughts: Ellie loves to garden, unfortunately she does not have one of her own. She resorts to sneaking in to a garden at a nearby church to de-stress from her life. While weeding, she finds herself watching a wedding of a couple who snuck onto the grounds, the handsome guy she had been watching at the coffee shop happened to be one of the guests.
I loved that this book was a clean romance. Ellie and Gray have common Christian beliefs and try to live by what they have been taught. They are both good, responsible people who stay true to their principles.
The romance is fast in this novella. But I believe that if it's right, and both know it, why wait? The couple started dating in February and married in May.
One of the things that I had a hard time with in this book is Ellie's mother. She is paranoid. She made mistakes and insists that her daughter's not follow the path she took. She bullies them, and when they don't comply, she applies heavy guilt. I kept wondering where the unconditional love was? I also didn't like that Ellie catered to her mother. There is a time to capitulate in dealing with family, but there is a time to hold fast to yourself and say NO.
Gray seemed a little moody. Yes, Ellie's mother is annoying and mean at times, but he didn't need to add to the guilt she was feeling. He also showed a temper that I didn't like. He did show patience and understanding at times too. It was a little complicated.
No one is perfect, and maybe the things that bothered me are a mute point. The main thing about this book that is if you like a clean romance that moves quickly, this is a good one to pick up.
Colleen's Thoughts: Although I have read and enjoyed all of the Year of Weddings novellas available so far, I resonate with this one the most.
When Ellie and Gray meet, they are both immediately smitten. However, there are a few family issues that make their relationship, and eventual desire to be married difficult. It is so difficult, and sometimes potentially hazardous emotionally, to define the often blurry lines between the relationship with your significant other and that of your family.
Ellie struggles to find her place with Gray outside of her mother's controlling and often belittling hold over her. After Gray meets Ellie's family, he understands that she has a significantly difficult situation. Yet, he is eager for Ellie to find a way to clearly draw the boundaries between what is her mother's business and what is not, and what Ellie allows herself to be guilted into by her family, and standing up to them in a loving, healthy way.
There are so many aspects of this story that feel familiar to me. My husband and I struggle with very similar things regarding both of our families. It was inspiring to read how Ellie and Gray were able to find a loving resolution for their families and keep their relationship thriving at the same time. Well done and worth reading.
Colleen's Rating: 4 of 5 Stars