Genre: contemporary fiction; Inspirational; romance
Plot Summary: Allison Denman has only 5 more days until the big day when she marries Seth, the man she’s been dating for six years since they were kids in high school. They’re perfect for each other (he says). The dress is perfect (their mothers say). But how did she end up kissing Seth’s brother Daniel this near to the wedding day? Now what?!
My Book Review: Broken-off weddings intrigue me. It is never pleasant for the people going through it, but I am curious about the complex emotions and motives behind it. That’s why I wanted to read this book.
The author was new to me. I believe this is a first fiction novel for Vogt and I was surprised. You’ve heard me complain many times about the state of Christian romance fiction. Why would I take a chance on another one? Because I don’t believe the problem lies in the genre as much as it is individual authors’ perspective and skill. No, I don’t enjoy the churned-out sugary novels. But I’m always hoping to find a book where I can trust the author, sink my teeth into a good plot.
I say I was surprised, because I liked this book: a good balance between comedy and seriousness. The characters and dialogue were interesting and it wasn’t cliché. I liked how the ending left you hanging a little. Not everyone’s woundedness was healed by the end. Not everything was completely wrapped up, though you had a good guess how things would turn out.
I liked the subtle presence of animals in the story. The llamas that stare at Allison’s suitors. The kitty named Bisquick (adorable name!). I enjoyed the setting for it all—the beautiful state of Colorado which I could picture very well in my mind, although I’ve never been.
Another word on the characters, though. I do wish that there was a little bit more development in Allison’s life after her breakup with Seth. I appreciate the complexity in that it was hard for Allison to form new ways of relating in her relationships (with Seth, parents, etc,) and sometimes she made mistakes going back to past habits. But I wish that she had become more fully aware of how her codependency was hurting herself and others, how it fed an unhealthy relationship, and what better ways she could learn from there on out. I wasn’t convinced she wouldn’t go repeating it in her next relationship.
Many Christian romance novels feature ‘the perfect guy’—the hunk who rescues kittens, volunteers at the homeless shelter, and sweats while chopping wood. I liked that Daniel, the hero of Wish You Were Here, didn’t have everything right in his life, made mistakes, and almost had some of the same control traits as his younger brother. But he faced those issues, made corrections, and made different choices. That made for a much more interesting character!
Another interesting character is Allison’s tried and true friend, Meghan. I loved this girl as she told the truth point blank to her best friend. She definitely had some good words of wisdom, especially as a confidant to Allison’s younger sister who was entering the dating scene. However, it is too bad that this BFF couldn’t have been more truthful with Allison sooner in her abusive relationship with Seth.
I wish that the characters were a little more mature in their Christian walk, but some attempt is made on both their parts to grow throughout the book. I wouldn’t consider it preachy, but perhaps the spiritual element didn’t feel completely at home, either. I don’t think that’s a reason to eliminate it, but something for authors to work on making sure things flow a bit better.
Some may be waiting for a series after this, but I don’t believe there will be. However, there is a short story sequel for fans, entitled “You Made Me Love You.” I don’t think I’ll be reading it because I don’t enjoy short stories, but the summary made me smile!
I don’t think this book will interest everyone, esp. those who abhor romance, but for those who do like I think this will be a pleasant, surprise read. It’s clean, and I could even recommend it to teenage girls. It addresses some situations they face such as depression, cutting, and pornography.
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