PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 01, 2011
amantha Bravencourt is in her thirties. She lives in the DC area and helps her mother run a clothing store in Falls Church cleverly named “Have a Fit.” The story begins with Samantha traveling to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to attend a wedding. Much to her surprise, it turns out that she received the invitation by mistake and doesn’t actually know anyone there. Things are looking up when she ends up spending the evening with Taylor, a handsome wedding guest who happens to be single, just like Sam. Once they’ve returned to the DC area–where they both live–he asks her out on a date.
Sam’s travels to Winston-Salem result in other changes in her life. While there, she re-encounters Lien, a young Amerasian girl and Sam’s former student, and Carson Brylie, a man who broke her heart years ago. Through flashbacks to the 1980s, we learn that Sam and Carson taught together at a refugee camp in the Philippines. Sam fell in love with Carson and felt that her feelings were reciprocated so she was devastated when she learned that Carson intended to be faithful to his college girlfriend. Now that Lien needs their help, Sam and Carson begin spending time together again.
Will Sam fall in love with Taylor or Carson, or will she continue to live alone, working with her mother? Will she learn to let go of past disappointments?
Although not without flaws, this is an enjoyable story with a good Christian message.
Sam’s interactions with her friend Natasha feel authentic and give us additional insight into Sam’s character. Likewise, I enjoyed Sam’s relationship with her mother. The supporting cast of characters in Winston-Salem, especially Aunt Dovie and Beanie, lend charm to the story and they teach Sam some valuable lessons. It’s fun to see how Sam is different when she’s in Falls Church with her mom and best friend Natasha, compared to when she’s in Winston-Salem with Aunt Dovie and others.
I enjoyed seeing these characters re-unite and resolve some of their misunderstandings from the past. I also liked how some of the minor details end up playing a significant role in the overall story. Wisler definitely knows how to weave a good life lesson into a fun, engaging story. Similarly, the details about the refugee camp are very authentic and it’s interesting to learn more about the history of the Philippines.
My primary concern is that the love story didn’t draw me in. It’s not quite true that I didn’t care how Sam ended up, but I certainly didn’t feel a burning need to read “one more chapter.” Although I think Sam is a well-written character, it’s always hard when so much is told in flashbacks. And while I could understand her reluctance to get drawn back in to an emotional relationship with Carson, she acts sort of strangely around him for a good portion of the book. This makes it hard to understand their connection.
Even though A Wedding Invitation didn’t keep me up at night, it’s still a well-written story with a good message.