An April Bride: A Year of Weddings Novellas by Lenora Worth
[This book will be released March 25, 2014]
Stella Carson has planned the perfect wedding with her high school sweetheart. Her fiance was finally coming home from his second deployment in Afghanistan. This time was different, however. When an IED had gone off near his humvee the explosion left him with serious injuries. Blows to his head contributed to severe memory loss and post traumatic stress. He suffered from nightmares and flashbacks. When he had awakened from a coma in a German hospital, he hadn’t even recognized his own parents.
Months later, when Marshall Henderson stepped off the plane on the final leg of his journey home, he was met by his fiance and their families. She could tell by the look in his eyes that he didn’t remember her. She was filled with despair. She wondered how long it would take him to fully recover. Will she have to postpone the wedding or cancel it altogether? What will this mean for their future?
With only a few weeks left before the wedding date, Marshall was determined to honor his word and marry Stella. He was placing a lot of faith in the temporary nature of his medical conditions, hoping eventually his memories would return. But what kind of life would that be for them if his memories do not return?
Stella and Marshall struggled along through doubts and misgivings, hurt feelings and lost dreams. Stella was steadfast in her belief in their relationship in spite of the current awkwardness. She began methodically exposing him to stimuli that she hoped would stir in him the hidden memories. The process was slow and frustrating, because sometimes Marsh would experience horrible flashbacks to the bombing where he’d lost so many of his buddies. But friends and family surrounded the two with their support, love and prayers. After three more weeks without much progress, however, they had to decide whether or not to marry.
What I liked most about this drama was the natural way the characters’ relationship with the Lord was portrayed. It wasn’t tacked on the end as if in afterthought. It was not a religion of platitudes or meaningless gestures of goodwill. It felt as if God was an integral and dynamic part of their every day lives. It felt real. People prayed and cared for each other in the small community in which this story takes place. To me, their heartfelt discussions weren’t preachy because He was a living and breathing part of their lives. People in this story honored Him in everything they said and did, and it spilled out into the way they faced hardships. Even when that hardship was a son/fiance/friend who had lost a large chunk of his life’s story with them. As a reader, I could feel the pain with those characters.
This well-written novella takes the reader along on the roller coaster ride of Marshall’s recovery. We experience the triumphs of the moments when a memory fragment comes floating back, and the frustrations the couple feels when they wonder if they would ever re-capture the magic moments of their past. If you enjoy character-driven stories where life is not all a bed of roses, but where God walks along side them, then I recommend this novella for you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Zondervan Fiction. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”