Friday, July 4, 2008

Review: Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck

About the Book: Elle's living the dream-but is it her dream or his?

Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good.

Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She's never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.

But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she's serious about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.

Is love transferrable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?

My Review:
This has been one of the books I've been anticipating the most this year due to the gorgeous cover and the title. After I read Sweet Caroline, I was looking forward to it even more. I was not disappointed.

This is a bit of a departure from the chick lit fare that Rachel has been writing for the last few years and is billed as a straight up romance. It's a beautiful book of two people finding healing, finding art, and finding life again.

I've been trying to figure out what it is I've loved so much about these books. Part of it is that Rachel creates characters with a lot of believability and heart. She has created a town with likeable and funny characters. She weaves humor into the storyline, and unexpected turns. But more than anything, I think, like Elle in the book, Rachel taps into a spiritual depth that just feels real. It does not feel contrived. There is not an overabundance of Scripture quotation or pat and easy answers, yet it is unapologetically Christian. The God Rachel talks about in her books seems real and good. And I, for one, love that and find it refreshing and challenging.

At one point in this book, Elle asks, "What if failing is really succeeding?" I think that sums up the theme and heart of this book quite nicely and I couldn't say it better myself. (though I've tried!)

The ending had me both laughing and crying. If you are looking for a heartwarming romance that pushes you just a little...well then I couldn't possibly recommend Love Starts with Elle anymore.

Check out Love Starts with Elle on Amazon.

Visit Rachel's blog.

Read the first chapter.

Read my review of Sweet Caroline.


Anonymous said...

Is Sweet Caroline and this book connected? You didn't imply, but I wanted to double check before looking for a copy.

Amy said...

Yes, they are, but I think they can be read as stand-alones. Sweet Caroline is more chick lit (being written in first person present tense) and if you read Elle first you'll spoil Caroline's ending, I guess.

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