With 11 ugly bridesmaid dresses hanging in her closet and 11 pairs of dyed-to-match shoes on the closet floor, Jessie Stone fears that she has found her niche in life. And being a bride is not it. To make matters worse, the last time she thought she had found Mr. Right, he turned out to be Mr. Cheater. He not only broke her heart, but lowered her self-esteem several notches. But Jessie is persistent and plucky, so she is soon back in the husband hunting game. Speed Dating, Online Match-ups and occasional blind dates serve to boost her ego and her hopes for eventually meeting the right man.
Unfortunately, all her efforts, so far, have not produced the desired result. After having a blowout on the way to work, with typically clear insight, Jessie observes, "I whirl around because I realize that I’ve just been hoping that even a creepy guy would stop, and since my world works in a way that only my negative thoughts seem to come to pass, you can see why the glass-half-full is so important." Then she meets God. And He asks her to let Him write her love story; to let Him deliver the man who was created to be her husband.
It may take a bit of a stretch for some to temporarily let go of theology in order to enjoy the wonderful results that occur when a young woman begins to focus more on her relationship with God than on her own obsessions about marriage. Jessie begins to understand when she says, “So this is what happens when you give God your dreams. Everything works out. It’s just that you have to have the courage to do it.” While there is no mystical element involved, authors Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge succeed in making the omniscience and omnipresence of God very real and believable.
Joining Jessie on her journey and providing wit and wisdom of their own are friends like Blake Lightner, who she has had a crush on forever, but he prefers blonds. Malia, his mother, owns a unique gift shop and encourages Jessie to start her own business by stepping out of her comfort zone/dead end job. Jessie’s younger sister, Brooklyn, is both a joy and a calamity waiting to happen.
NEVER THE BRIDE won’t have you sitting on the edge of your chair, waiting breathlessly for the outcome. But it will have you smiling and nodding your head as you recognize yourself and your loved ones on the pages of this funny, enjoyable book.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on June 2, 2009