It has been a difficult year for the ladies of Hope Springs, North Carolina, who bid a final farewell to a good friend. But Beatrice Newgarden Witherspoon, Jessie Jenkins, and Louise Fisher are ready to take on a new project: find a husband for their young, single pastor friend Charlotte Stewart, who is too busy running a shelter in New Mexico to look for a suitable companion herself. The search for Charlotte’s perfect lifemate is turning up many unexpected things-Beatrice’s daughter has special news, the last person Louise would ever expect to turn see turns up on her doorstep, and Jessie’s husband wishes to recommit to her forever. So one way or another, there will be a wedding, and perhaps more than one…with cake.
This is one of the books I picked up during a certain book retailers semi-annual massive clearance sales. I tend to buy a ton of books at like a buck a piece that I would have otherwise never read. This is probably not a book I would have picked up on my own, but yet it was a book I actually enjoyed reading. I could see myself reading this book a couple of years ago and not enjoying it nearly as much I do now. A few years ago I would not have been able to relate to anything these women were going through, but it’s funny how as the years go by people change.
This is a story about a group of women, there story started I think four books before this one, and they are women who have grown children, finished college, some retired, some still working. But regardless these are all women who have lived life. As a group they have gone through some hard things, losing a member of the group to cancer, problems in marriages, the loss of loved ones, strained relationships with children. But through everything they have stuck together, and have been true friends to one another. I can only hope that I end up with friends as good as they are to each other.
Bea is a character that is perhaps a bit too over dramatized. She plays the role of meddling friend, and she has almost an overwhelming personality. I have to admit I had a hard time taking her seriously, but then she had a moment outside her house where she completely broke down in front of a stranger, and she became much more of a person in that moment.
I really loved Charlotte, I could probably read a book about only Charlotte. She is a pastor who now runs a domestic abuse shelter. She is a strong woman, who knows the job she does is so important to so many women, but it is a hard job to do. As she mentions throughout the book, she can’t save them all, and the sad reality is a lot of women go back to their abusive situations, and Charlotte feels that loss every time she isn’t able to “save” one of those women. It’s totally understandable that after seeing the results of unhealthy relationships all day long she would have a hard time trusting any relationship she has.
Overall I think this is a story a lot of women would enjoy, I think my mom would enjoy reading this book. I had a couple of problems with the book, but they didn’t make the book any less of a good read. My first issue was the pacing, well not so much the pacing, but the passage of time within the book. You would get a chapter or two that happened during times close together, and then a few weeks or months would have gone by. I felt like I missed out on events that happened during those times. I also felt like the end was wrapped up too easily in some regards and other things were completely left out. A character is alluded to having some kind of revenge plot with another for most of the book, but it is never addressed at the end of the book, felt like it left you hanging. Also at the end suddenly, and very much without warning, a character receives something that allows for her to just sweep in an solve everyone’s problems. It felt almost like the author needed to tie things up at the end and wanted it all to end nicely, so she just wrapped it all up with a shiny new bow.
I did enjoy reading the book, so I’ll give it three stars because it did have a couple of issues within it, but I think if you are looking for a relaxing read, this may be an option for many people out there.