The Wedding Dress
Attention single women: if you think that things are hopeless and you will never find a mate, get thee to The Wedding Dress. In this tale, two sisters are making their youngest sibling a dress, despite the fact that, due to the Civil War, there are no prospective suitors. The older sisters aren’t doing much better: they both married and barely had enough time to enjoy being wives before their husbands went to war and died in the line of duty.
Julia and Victoria know that the chances of their baby sister Claire using the dress are slim, but after the trial of the war they are tired of loss, disappointment, and hardship, and they make the dress as an exercise of hope. Julia, the book’s main character, is devastated by the loss of her husband William, and devotes her energy to her family and restoring their plantation.
Julia receives a letter from Monroe, a man who served with her late husband, requesting permission to visit. He has a message William wanted to pass on before he died. At first Julia and Victoria see Monroe as a suitable chaperone to take them to Savannah to find a husband for Claire. After getting to know him, they decide that such a kind, strong decent man is fated to be Claire’s husband.
Not only is Claire not receptive to this plan, as Julia spends more time with Monroe, she is the one who develops feelings, and he for her. But Julia feels that she is betraying William, who she thinks of as her one great love.
This book is a departure from the romance novels I’ve been reading lately. The sisters are strong, smart and resilient, and with exceptions from some moments from Claire, there’s not a whiner among them. They are attractive but not bombshells. They are quiet dignified characters, which fits with the tone of the book. However, I never got a sense of Monroe. He was a kind person who went to great trouble to fulfill his obligation to William and then stayed on to help the family, but I didn’t feel I got a chance to know him.
The Wedding Dress is the antithesis of Summer Books. There is sadness and adversity but it’s not a depressing read in the least and there is always an emphasis on hope. It’s a simple, heartwarming story, and you’ll most likely have a smile on your face and a peaceful feeling when you finish it.