I loved Ms. Ganshert's first two novels, Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows, and I was thrilled to see this new offering.
Ivy Clark is a 24 year old fashion model, whom it seems no one wants--24 is ancient in modeling terms. Out of desperation, Ivy agrees to model a line of wedding dresses for her stepmother, Marilyn's, boutique. After 10 years as a model, Ivy has come to believe that no one cares how broken and stained she is on the inside, as long as she looks beautiful for the camera.
Davis Knight was a rising star in the world of fashion photography before he gave it all up to become a church maintenance man. He reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement to shoot the photos for the wedding dress campaign as a favor to his aunt.
The book opens at the funeral of Ivy's father. Marilyn, Ivy's stepmother, was married to Ivy's father when Ivy was conceived as the result of an affair. Instead of rejecting her husband, she clung to her marriage. Instead of rejecting Ivy, Marilyn welcomes her into her home year after year. For reasons even she doesn't understand, Marilyn feels called to love this girl who feels rejected and unloved by all those around her. Marilyn sees the broken and hurting inside while the world sees just another pretty face.
During the course of the wedding dress campaign, with the gentle prodding of the one person who always loved her, and influenced by a man who loves God and treats Ivy in a way she's never been treated, Ivy's experiences come to challenge what she has come to believe about beauty and worth--that God sees her, broken and stained by the world, and wants her still.
I loved this book and found it hard to put down. Ms. Ganshert's writing is vivid and descriptive and her characters are compelling and real. This is a love story, but not in the way one might think. Yes, the boy and girl fall in love, but more than that, the book shows the selfless love of a stepmother for her husband's daughter, a love the world doesn't understand, a love that can only come from God. In the end, this story is about how God loves us, values us, pursues us, even when--especially when--we are broken, stained, and unworthy.
I received this book for free from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.