My first introduction to Marybeth Whalen’s writing was when I listened to The Guest Book (my review) a while back and loved it. I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to read more of her work. Well the opportunity came up to read her newest novel The Wishing Tree which releases tomorrow and it solidified the reason why she is becoming one of my favorite authors. The Wishing Tree is a wonderful novel of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
Ivy’s marriage has been going downhill for a while now but all her fears are realized when she learns her husband Elliott has indeed had an affair. She’s devastated and can’t bear to be around him another minute. Of course it is Ivy’s way to run whenever things get rough instead of sticking it out and between this and losing her job she is at her wits end. Lucky for her she has been asked to come and help prepare for her sister’s wedding back at Sunset Beach, North Carolina. The only problem with that plan is that things haven’t been good with her mother and sister Shea since she married Elliott because in doing that she broke her childhood sweetheart’s heart and that went over really bad with her family who adored him. Yet now it seems like the perfect escape to run home and see Michael again and maybe rekindle that old love. Yet is it love or forgiveness she’s really looking for?
When she arrives home her mother gives her the job of preparing the wishing tree for the wedding which is made by arranging branches in a pot, making it look pretty, and then hanging tags with wishes for the happy couple from people attending the wedding and even those who aren’t. While reading many of the wishes and bible verses that people have sent it really takes Ivy back to her own wedding and the reasons she married Elliott in the first place. It gives her the chance to sit back and analyze her life and decide on the direction that she truly needs to take to be happy. In the meantime her husband is valiantly trying to win back her forgiveness. Since she refuses his calls he decided to open a Twitter account because he knew it was one of her favorite places to spend time and he tweets little messages telling her he’s sorry, etc. Despite her anger she can’t help but read the messages and wonder if he can truly change for her.
The Wishing Tree was such a good read for me. I really enjoy the beauty of Marybeth’s writing and the elements of faith, love, and hope that are woven throughout each page. Her characters are the kinds of people I could see myself sitting down with and having a cup of coffee with or heading to the mall. They are real and so are their stories. It’s rare to find books where you like all of the characters but there wasn’t anyone I didn’t like in this book. I especially liked Ivy though because she opened herself up to forgiveness and she grew as a person even through the hardships that were occurring in her life. If you’ve not read a novel by Marybeth Whalen before and you enjoy Christian fiction then you really are missing out and The Wishing Tree would definitely be the perfect place to start!
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.