About The Book
After returning home from teaching English at a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother’s clothing boutique in Falls Church, Virginia. When she receives an invitation to a wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she looks forward to reconnecting with her college friend. Instead her life collides with Carson, a fellow teacher and the man who broke her heart, and a young Amerasian refugee named Lien who needs Samantha and Carson’s help to find her mother before Lien’s own wedding. When the search for Lien’s mother reveals surprising secrets from the past, Samantha must reevaluate her own memories and decide whether to continue to play it safe or take a risk that could change her life.
A readers’s reaction to a book is something immensely personal which testifies to the broad spectrum of reviews for any given book. In the case of The Wedding Invitation I had such an instinctual aversion to the main character from the first few pages that I found it difficult to truly immerse myself in the story. I cannot explain why but Samantha rubbed me the wrong way and just barely began to appeal to me by the end of the book. She is frequently described as a flirt and that, in my opinion, is an accurate portrayal. She seeks to be the centre of attention and is given to juvenile behaviour as she toys with peoples’ emotions to get what she wants out of them. My disengagement from the story may be a result of the first person narrative where it the character thinks in “me me me” terms because we are inside of their head. But to have two other characters confirm my feelings about Samantha makes me wonder if we are too dissimilar for me to put myself in her shoes.
But then, in a moment of total contradiction, I can still find myself empathizing with her. I have never had my heart broken but I know what it is like to feel lonely and disconnected. Maybe seeing that in Samantha hit a little too close to home…Alice Wisler knows how to provoke reflection and emotion so maybe she hit a nerve that I didn’t want to feel. I am slightly baffled since I have loved the previous novels that I have read from Alice Wisler. It could have been the state of mind I was when reading this book and I think I shall give it a try again. There are so many wonderful reviews that I feel like I missed something.
Some of the plot just didn’t make sense to me in the sense that they didn’t feel realistic. If I had shown up to the wrong wedding, I certainly wouldn’t have attended the reception. And then to continue the guise that you know the bride and groom by lying by omission…awkward. Samantha and Carson’s relationship had a deep history but it was there present that moved so quickly that I didn’t completely buy the conclusion. Some of the mundane facts and daily acts didn’t make sense until the end when their symbolism was revealed so I am happy that I stuck with it until the end.
Well, this has been a different kind of review. Sometimes you just need to write down your thoughts in a flow of consciousness to see what comes out and what conclusion you reach. What has been your experience with this book?
**Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group**