Review

PUBLICATION DATE:  May 1, 2012

W

ish You Were Here is a charming love story with a rewarding message about God’s grace.  The main character, Allison Denman, is a mere five days away from marrying Seth Rayner when she finds herself kissing Seth’s brother, Daniel.  Allison isn’t the sort of girl who does these kinds of things.  She’s organized and careful – not a risk taker.  That’s part of the reason she has agreed to marry Seth — he’s successful, decisive, and safe.

Meanwhile, his brother Daniel, a rough-around-the-edges outdoors consultant, isn’t sure how to deal with Seth.  After all, Daniel is supposed to be the best man at the wedding.   The brothers have never had a close relationship, and if Daniel confesses, Seth may never speak to him again.

Allison, Seth, and Daniel are joined in the story by Allison’s best friend, Meghan, sister Hadleigh, and aunt Nita, all of whom are realistic and interesting.

The novel follows these characters as they figure out that it’s okay to make mistakes and that God loves us anyway.

I loved this book and raced through it.  It’s such a lovely story with likeable, relatable characters, and the story is very suspenseful.  I found myself anxious to see what Allison would do next.  She is such a realistic character and I wanted her to find happiness, both religiously and romantically.

My only minor complaint is that there are times the plot seems a tiny bit clunky. For example, there are some issues that pop up in awkward places; it’s as though the author wanted to bring them up and wasn’t sure how to fit them into the story.  I noticed this mostly with respect to Allison’s father.

Overall, the story moves along nicely and at a good pace.  It’s a lot of fun to follow Allison along her adventures and watch her develop.  At the beginning of the book, she seems quite young and perhaps a little immature.  As the story progresses, she gets to know herself better and develops into a more mature woman.  By the end, Allison learns that she doesn’t need to be perfect; God loves her even when she makes mistakes.

It’s always nice in Christian romance novels to see the main character realize that God is all she needs and that she can be happy even if she doesn’t get “the guy.” Vogt does a great job at this.

The background copy for the novel mentions that Vogt has been a successful non-fiction author who said she would never write fiction.  It seems to me that her non-fiction experience has helped shape her fiction writing, which is tight and well-controlled.  I haven’t read any of her non-fiction, but since I was impressed with this book, I hope she continues writing fiction. In fact, I’d love to see a sequel to Wish You Were Here.