Today, I’m happy to share my review of this wonderful book by one of my favorite authors. Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC for me to read.
Four women. One family heirloom. A secret connection that will change their lives—and history as they know it.
Present Day: Julia Baxter’s wedding veil, bequeathed to her great-grandmother by a mysterious woman on a train in the 1930s, has passed through generations of her family as a symbol of a happy marriage. But on the morning of her wedding day, something tells her that even the veil’s good luck isn’t enough to make her marriage last forever. Overwhelmed and panicked, she escapes to the Virgin Islands to clear her head. Meanwhile, her grandmother, Babs, is also feeling shaken. Still grieving the death of her beloved husband, she decides to move out of the house they once shared and into a retirement community. Though she hopes it’s a new beginning, she does not expect to run into an old flame, dredging up the same complicated emotions she felt a lifetime ago.
1914: Socialite Edith Vanderbilt is struggling to manage the luxurious Biltmore Estate after the untimely death of her cherished husband. With 250 rooms to oversee and an entire village dependent on her family to stay afloat, Edith is determined to uphold the Vanderbilt legacy—and prepare her free-spirited daughter Cornelia to inherit it—in spite of her family’s deteriorating financial situation. But Cornelia has dreams of her own. Asheville, North Carolina has always been her safe haven away from the prying eyes of the press, but as she explores more of the rapidly changing world around her, she’s torn between upholding tradition and pursuing the exciting future that lies beyond Biltmore’s gilded gates.
In the vein of Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman and Jennifer Robson’s The Gown, The Wedding Veil brings to vivid life a group of remarkable women forging their own paths—and explores the mystery of a national heirloom lost to time.
When critics say that Kristy Woodson Harvey is one of the best authors writing women’s fiction, that is no exaggeration. She has a way of bringing to life engaging characters that readers can relate to, and that is true in this latest offering. The tale of this wedding veil and how it touched women’s lives throughout history was most fascinating. The historical elements were well researched, and it was so interesting to get a glimpse of what life might have been like for the Vanderbilts in the early 1900s.
But the relationship between Julia and her grandmother Babs in present time was what I enjoyed the most. Perhaps it’s because I’m of a certain age, and I have a wonderful granddaughter with whom I am very close: but the fact that Kristy could write those two characters in a way that resonated with me speaks to the strength of her ability to write stories about people who seem so real.
One of the messages in the book is how important it is that women find happiness on their own. It doesn’t have to be connected to a love relationship, although a wonderful, supportive husband can be a blessing. But first and foremost a woman needs to be able to stand alone before she can stand next to a man. As I read about Julia’s struggle to break her unhealthy relationship to Hayes, I often thought of the wonderful quote from Camus: “Don’t walk in front of me…I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead. Walk behind me… be my friend.”
My husband gave me a plaque with that quote on it early in our marriage, and I could imagine the men that Julia and Babs choose to spend their lives with giving them a similar plaque.
Kristy Woodson Harvey is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of nine novels including Under the Southern Sky, The Peachtree Bluff Series, and The Wedding Veil. Her Peachtree Bluff Series is currently in development with NBC with Kristy as co-writer and co-executive producer. She is the winner of the Lucy Bramlette
Patterson Award for Excellence in Creative Writing, a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, and her books have received numerous accolades including Southern Living’s Most Anticipated Beach Reads, Entertainment Weekly’s Spring Reading Picks, and Katie Couric’s Most Anticipated Reads.
She blogs with her mom Beth Woodson on Design Chic about how creating a beautiful
home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life. Design Chic is the inaugural member
of the design blogger hall of fame, sponsored by Traditional Home, and winner of Amara’s
Best Luxury Blog, as chosen by Roberto Cavalli. You can find out more about Kristy on her Website and follow her on Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads and Pinterest She can also be found on Instragram as @kristywharvey