There is nothing better than a summer reading book by Marybeth Whalen. I find her to be a precious human being and a role model, so I'll just admit that I might be slightly swayed in my opinions of her books, but there you go. Her books are gentle and good, with some conflict, and a little bit of God, but always make an impact. Her latest, "The Wishing Tree", is no different.
Synopsis: Ivy Marshall had a bad day. In 24 hours, she discovers that her husband Elliott has been cheating on her (something that seems to have been building after months of a growing distance between them) AND her estranged sister receives a proposal on national TV. When Ivy receives an invitation from her mother to visit the family cottage on Sunset Beach, NC to help plan THE BIG WEDDING, Ivy balks. While it would probably be a good idea to get away from the offending husband, Ivy has not really been on proper speaking terms with her family since she impulsively broke it off with a childhood sweetheart and family friend and married Elliott. Plus, with her failing marriage, why would she want to think about marital wedded bliss? Ultimately, though, she decides she'll give it a shot.
When she arrives in Sunset Beach, she finds that she has got her work cut out for her. She works on mending fences with her sister and mother, but her mother is acting secretive and her sister goes hot and cold. Elliott has launched a Twitter campaign to get her back, and that ditched ex-fiance? He is looking better than ever, but wants nothing to do with her.
Ivy is put in charge of making "The Wishing Tree" for her sister's wedding, a tradition where invitees mail in their wish for the new couple, and it is artfully hung from branches in a display. Perhaps the answer to Ivy's confusion lies within these messages of hope?
My thoughts: One thing I always know about Marybeth, and that is she will take care of me. My main character won't die, the whole story won't be a dream, and no virus is going to end the world as we know it. Things work out in Marybethland. It may not always be the way you want, but there is no need for fear. Resolutions are satisfying and realistic.
That didn't stop me from feeling some frustration with the storyline. I thought that Ivy needed to grow up a little. She didn't really know what she wanted and therefore was stringing people along, and seemed clueless to other's feelings. There was also horrid communication between all of them, to the point where you really just wanted to lock them all in a room, shake them, and tell them to FIGURE IT OUT. The important thing, and probably Marybeth's point, is that Ivy and her family do figure it out.
Marybeth's last novel "The Guest Book" also took place in Sunset Beach (a favorite vacation spot for the author and a place I fell in love with years ago), so it was really nice to come back. I wouldn't be too upset if we kept returning...if I can't visit there, this is the next best thing!
3.5 out of 5 stars