My rating: 3 stars / I liked it
Wedding photography is Maggie's passion. The art of capturing a moment forever in time is magical to her, and she's worked hard to become the best of the best. Week after week, she works with couples as they plan their happily ever afters, but she hasn't been so lucky in love.
Behind the camera, it's easy to hide from the pain and rejection of her past. The life she has made for herself is safe and predictable, until the owner of a rival photography studio sets up shop in her small town and comes to her with an unexpected proposal. Suddenly, everything she has worked so hard to build is threatened and her simple, controlled life is thrown into chaos.
As she travels the state of Michigan photographing weddings, she struggles to keep her business afloat and the wall around her heart intact. But along the way, she learns more about loyalty and love than she ever imagined.
I have mixed feelings about this one. The beginning had a choppy timeline, and I didn't feel like I had the chance to get to know or connect with Maggie's character until later in the book. (On a side note, the chapter titles identifying what would happen in that chapter with specific dates were distracting and disturbed the pacing for me.) As a photographer I loved the descriptions of her college photo class experiences- it made me remember my own. In Maggie's first encounters with Simon, she comes across as a heartless shrew. I understand not liking someone, but she was downright rude with no provocation. Later I realized it was a defense mechanism for Simon's charm, but it not only made me initially dislike Maggie, I also wondered what on earth he saw in her. As time passes Maggie's redeeming qualities become apparent, but she continues to be unaccountably rude to Simon. I enjoyed the last half of the book when she finally becomes civil and her vulnerabilities are revealed. The descriptions of wedding photography and its business are spot on; I could really sense the joy she received while photographing, but also the exhaustion that comes at the end of a long day on your feet and the endless hours in front of the computer editing photos later. Simon is a charming suitor for Maggie, but miscommunication, pride, and mixed signals on his part and lack of trust, thinking the worst of him, and jumping to conclusions on Maggie's part prevent them from establishing a true friendship despite the attraction that is building. Their thoughts and choices are sadly realistic, making life more complicated than necessary. The romantic moments together are amazing, but quickly followed by regret and one of them backpedaling (until the happy ending, of course!). Turning to God and renewing faith help them both find peace and balance, preparing them for a relationship with trust and hope for the future.
(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)