From the first scene, where Lucy Lovett comes to in a diner’s restroom and realizes that she’s lost time, I was hooked. I do like a good memory loss storyline, as long as it is handled believably and consistently, and this one is.
While Lucy is emotionally back to the time when she is engaged to and deeply in love with Zac Callahan, he has been spending the last seven months trying to move on from the heartbreak of her leaving without a word just weeks before their wedding. Rescuing her from a diner, in a wedding dress, is not how he planned to do this. But she doesn’t remember moving to Portland, Maine or becoming engaged to another man.
He could ignore her, he could avoid her, he could take a flipping bath in denial. But it didn’t change the truth. He wanted Lucy more than he wanted his next breath.
Get a grip, Callahan. She left you. She may not remember it, and she may wish it hadn’t happened, but nothing he did now was going to change the fact that she had. (p.100)
Back in Summer Harbor, it is a slow journey for Lucy as she struggles to make sense of everything, while she dodges paparazzi wanting to interview the “runaway bride.” It is also a slow journey to regain Zac’s trust and the regard of the townspeople. Small towns can be quite protective of their own.
Inside she began burning with irritation over her whole situation. Bad enough she had a brain injury and had lost the only man she’d ever loved. Not to mention the whole town, including Zac’s family, seemed to be against her for something she couldn’t even remember. She had no money, no job, and, oh yes, the love of her life was dating Morgan LeBlanc. (p.95)
Here are a few things I really liked about this story:
- The writing. It moves a long at a fairly brisk pace, keeping the reader interested.
- Except for the occasional Bostonian “Ayup” and Georgian “y’all,” the author mostly lets us know what accents are in play, but doesn’t make us read them. While Lucy and Zac love each other’s accents, having to read them would have slowed the pace and impacted my enjoyment.
- The loyalty and family involvement. Zac has scheduled skype calls with his younger brother while he is deployed overseas (safe bet that his story will be next).
- The Callahans are church-goers. I like having characters who simply live out their faith, and having that faith be included organically within the story.
- Lucy slowly discovers why she has abandonment issues, and why Zac has issues with her abandoning him. Even when some of their issues are addressed or their fears allayed, some of them pretty quickly following each other, I didn’t sense that there was a big “hey, all better, we’re cured” moment.
- The romantic bits, of course. These are likable characters, and I couldn’t help but want them to get back together. I love how their initial love story replayed in flashbacks and I really appreciate that, though they had been instantly attracted to each other when they first met, they didn’t just fall back into each other’s arms. That would have made for a very short story.
He was pretty sure men weren’t supposed to swoon, but dang it all if he didn’t feel like doing it anyway. (p.46)
The Goodbye Bride is the second of the “Summer Harbor” novels. While it is not necessary to read the first, Falling Like Snowflakes, if you do want to read them both then it would be best to do so in order. Otherwise, when Eden and Beau’s backstory is given it will be a huge spoiler.
I listened to Falling Like Snowflakes, as a library/Overdrive audiobook and, while I enjoyed it, I thought it was a bit light and fluffy of a read for including such a serious topic. I also thought it was unfair of me to rate or review it since I was never able to give it my full attention, as I was listening to it at work. Based on this second book, it is likely that reading a physical copy and giving it my full attention would not have changed my impressions of it. However, where Falling Like Snowflakes wasn’t completely my kind of book, The Goodbye Bride definitely is.
I was trying to think of a way to describe this book, and books like it, and came up with candy – in this case, I’m thinking specifically of those minty little pastel nonpareils that used to be almost as ubiquitous at weddings as the little pillow shaped after-dinner mints. This kind of book is a tasty little treat, one you might not want every day, but you occasionally crave them and when you have them in all their sweet, minty freshness, you just can’t stop. Oh, yeah.
Love a light, clean, contemporary romance with a memory loss storyline where the hero is a charmer who can cook? This just might fit the bill. The Goodbye Bride is a feel good contemporary – a breezy read perfect for a spring evening or an afternoon by the pool, listening to the playlist on Spotify (http://bit.ly/1UqZOry) – but be prepared to want to read it in one go. It kept me up way past my bedtime. I just had to know how this love story had gone wrong and how it would right itself.
The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter | Thomas Nelson, 2016 | paperback, 309 pages
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Thomas Nelson and Zondervan’s Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
One last note (because there wasn’t a good spot for it in my review) on the cover – how gorgeous is that?! Of all the Contemporary Christian Romance covers on my bookshelves (which, admittedly, is not that many), this just might be my favorite.