Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: The Wishing Tree

Every little girl dreams of her wedding day, but what happens when that dream doesn't come true?

Ivy Marshall has made a life for herself in the mountains of Asheville six hours away from her beloved Sunset Beach, North Carolina, where her mother, sister, and aunt still reside.

Five years earlier a family rift sent her packing, running away, and straight into the strong arms of Elliot, who became her husband.

Ivy finds out that her job is ending on the same day she finds out her sister, Shea is being proposed to on national television, and Ivy fears her husband is having an affair.

Ivy returns home to help plan the wedding, which now will also be televised. Her sister is having the wedding Ivy always dreamed of, well minus the television coverage. Ivy certainly would not want that. Ivy finds that more than just the landscape has changed. A new bridge has replaced the old drawbridge allowing traffic to flow under and over without impeding either. While this is more efficient, things are just not the same.

Her aunt Leah laughs and flirts with Lester, the man who works for her in the bakery and also helps deliver wedding cakes.

Her mother is always laughing and talking with friends on the phone and leaving her daughters to join these friends for coffee.

Her sister Shea seems to be running away from her own wedding, a wedding that Ivy can't help but wish she had. And Ivy's mother has delegated the job of taking care of the wishing tree, a long standing family tradition where guests, family, and friends write down wishes for the happy couple. The tree was originally Ivy's when she was engaged to marry Michael, her childhood sweetheart. But Ivy met Elliot and everything changed.

And now Ivy can't help but wonder if she should have chosen Michael. Was he the one? Is there still something there? Should she leave her husband and be with the first man who asked for her hand in marriage?

Ivy tries to fix things while also seeking divine help. Faith in God has always been a strong part of her life. Will God see things the way she does? Should she go after Michael or try to work things out with her husband? 

When Ivy left, she cut off all ties with her husband — she changed her email address, phone number, and blocked him from her Facebook. The only way he can reach out to her is through Twitter, where he tweets asking for her forgiveness. And while Ivy isn't responding, other people are including women who let Elliot know that they would love to give him a chance if his wife won't.

This is a delightful read. You feel Ivy's pain and frustration. You see the life she could have as well as the life she does have. This time she can't run, she's at a crossroad and a decision must be made.

Mary Beth Whalen has written three other novels. She is the wife of Curt and the mom of six children. She is the director of She Reads, an online book club  focusing on spotlighting the best in women's fiction.

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