Thursday, 19 November 2015

Book Recommendation ~ I Always Cry at Weddings by Sara Goff


Book Description:

Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.

Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite's son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn't what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable--she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she'll save sex for marriage. She's convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance...and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days. But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren't the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live...and what in the world love really means.


Narelle's Thoughts:

I Always Cry at Weddings is Sara Goff's delightful debut novel set in New York City. The story is a contemporary romantic comedy that's different to many other books in the Christian fiction genre. Ava comes across as a little shallow at the start of the story. She has spoiled princess moments, and she takes for granted the privileges that accompany her glamourous New York City lifestyle. We see Ava evolve and grow as the story progresses and her life circumstances become more challenging.

Ava has everything she could want from a financial perspective, and a bright future with a fiance who can provide a life of luxury and comfort. Her future mother-in-law adores her, and she is forced to deal with a very personal crisis as her wedding day draws closer.

We journey with Ava as she calls off the wedding and deals with the aftermath. Her life is no longer mapped out for her, and she struggles to regain her feet and find purpose. The urban setting is brought alive in the story, and the sensory detail draws the reader into the vibrant New York City setting. Ava's dating escapades have a realistic edge. We see the city through her eyes, including the good, the bad and the ugly.

Ava's faith journey is not really apparent until later in the story. The spiritual content is subtle, and Christian themes of social justice are infused in the story. The large majority of the characters don't hold Christian values and beliefs. As a result, the story includes situations that we don't often see in Christian fiction stories that are populated with Christian characters. Conservative readers may be offended by some of these situations. The characters make mistakes and have to live with the consequences of their poor judgment. Ava is at times naive, and she's also determined to take some big risks to achieve her goals.

The characterisation is excellent and the story contains strong romantic elements. The minor characters add additional layers to the story. I was intrigued by Chris, a homeless man who slept outside Ava's apartment complex on a flat cardboard box with his dog for company. The story has humorous moments and twists and turns that kept me guessing and led to a satisfying ending. I highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for realistic and entertaining contemporary Christian fiction in an urban setting that tackles social issues.

Learn more about Sara Goff and her books at her website.

14 comments:

  1. I very much enjoyed I Always Cry at Weddings, and this is an excellent review. I agree that it's not "typical" Christian fiction, but I'm getting a little tired of same-old same-old stories, and it was great to read something new and unpredictable.

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    1. Iola, I agree, and it was refreshing to read a story that's different and has a unique NYC flavour. :)

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  2. Excellent review, Narelle. I like the sound of "romantic comedy" and the "not typical" Christian fiction - always a drawcard for me. And exploring NYC while reading is bound to be fun.

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    1. Hi Ian, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Sara's book. The NYC setting was fabulous, and a lot of fun to read. :)

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    2. Thanks, Ian! I'd be very curious as to your thoughts, as well. The USA Today review said I broke the rules of romance!

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  3. It certainly was different to a lot of what goes under the label .Christian fiction. Good review. I love seeing how we each review differently.l

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    1. Hi Dale, I agree. We see different elements in the story, and our personal reading preferences will shine through in our reviews. :)

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    2. Dale, I was concerned that not having the right or exact label would hurt the book, but I'm grateful to find that readers are appreciating it for what it is and what it stands for. Thanks!

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  4. I enjoyed and reviewed this novel too. It's fun to see what everyone thinks.

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    1. Hi Paula, I think Sara's book will appeal to Australasian readers because it's outside the box. It also has an edgy contemporary tone that we often see in Christian fiction from authors in our part of the world.

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    2. Thank you, Paula and Narelle!

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    3. Sara, you're very welcome. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  5. The city really did feel real in the way that only happens when the author's familiar with the setting's nuances. And, yes, the homeless man added a thought-provoking touch. Well done, Sara Goff, and keep writing!

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