Item description for The Wedding Machine (Women of Faith Fiction) by Beth Webb Hart...
Overview The weddings of Jasper, South Carolina, have been run for years by four women respectfully dubbed "The Wedding Machine." This summer the daughters and sons of these four women are each being "married off" to some unlikely characters, and the gears of the machine begin to grind to a surprising halt.
"One of the most charming books I've read in a long, long time...made me laugh, cry, and cheer--as all good weddings do."
-Cassandra King, bestselling author of "The Same Sweet Girls"
Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina. A place where Southern hospitality thrives. Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of this community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner.
Friends from school days, "the gals" have long pooled their silver, china, and know-how to pull off beautiful events. They're a force of nature, a well-oiled machine. But the wedding machine's gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot. In the lowcountry heat and humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out . . . and both love and gardenias bloom in unlikely places.""
From Publishers Weekly In this engrossing novel with weddings as the centerpiece, Hart (Adelaide Piper; Grace at Low Tide) explores the relationships between women, daughters and husbands. Four high school girls bond in the small low-country town of Jasper, S.C. Now middle-aged members of All Saints Episcopal Church, they happily plan weddings for their loved ones that bring about unanticipated turns of events. It's a bumpy road: still grieving the loss of her true love, Elizabeth Sis Mims relies on her happy pills and contemplates dating the minister. Ray Montgomery's daughter wants to marry a preacher's son in a tacky contemporary strip mall church that offends Ray's desire to be exquisitely correct. Hilda Prescott mourns her divorce, and Kitty B. Blalock wrestles with her husband's lingering maladies. Sis muses, Well, that's the way it is with weddings and life in general... one near disaster after another and a whole lot of what some call ignorant bliss. Occasionally Hart overdescribes, and there are faint echoes of Steel Magnolias and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood throughout, but Hart's writing is lovely, her characters endearing, and humor leavens the darker moments. Midlife women will find plenty to relate to, and the wedding plot line is an invitation to myriad details on food, decorations and points of Southern etiquette. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Wedding Machine (Women of Faith Fiction) by Beth Webb Hart has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 12/03/2007 page 51
CBA Retailers - 02/01/2008 page 40
Romantic Times - 03/01/2008 page 64
Booklist - 02/15/2008 page 38
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.44" Width: 5.82" Height: 0.78" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Feb 5, 2008
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Series Women Of Faith Fiction
ISBN 1595541993 ISBN13 9781595541994
Availability 0 units.
More About Beth Webb Hart
Beth Webb Hart, a South Carolina native, is the best-selling author of "Grace at Low Tide" and "The Wedding Machine". She serves as a speaker and creative writing instructor at schools, libraries, and churches throughout the region, and she has received two national teaching awards from Scholastic, Inc. Hart lives with her husband and their family in Charleston.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Wedding Machine (Women of Faith Fiction)?
Christian book? Sep 24, 2008
Someone on these reviews compared this to Steel Magnolias - I had that feeling, too. This book was about the comraderie of southern women, their pains, their joys, their marriages, their past sins, their childhoods, their children and religion.
I found this in the Christian fiction section of Books-a-Million. But was it about Christianity? It read from the first like a novel I would have to classify as worldly. I found it distasteful in the way it presented itself, and was tempted to quit reading after the first few pages. But because of a good review within by an author's opinion I usually value, I read the entire book. I have to say, though, that I had to keep thumbing back through the pages to see who was who and where they fit into the lives of the four women.
Granted, Christian women have "pasts" and deal with difficult "presents" of all kinds and are at different places in their Christian "walk". Obviously, there are non-Christian women (those who haven't made a commitment to Christ)as well who may relate to the characters' stories, viewpoints. Yet if this book was intended to help point the way to a committed Christian life with the characters on the way to that or already there, I feel it falls short.
If it was for entertainment or to be thought-provoking or to fully describe a variety of ways to give successful weddings and/or receptions, then it meets its mark.
Waste of time Sep 7, 2008
I brought this book to read on a summer vacation and I was so bored and put off by the first 38 pages that I will read no further. The author seems preoccupied with coy cuteness, unimaginative language, and the bathroom habits of dogs. I just couldn't take any more; I usually at least skim a book once I've plunked down my money for it, but I think I'd rather watch my well-behaved dog chase grasshoppers in the front yard than read another page of perky pretentiousness. Is this how women of faith really write?
Another pleasant surprise Aug 8, 2008
Being new to reading fiction, I just did not know what to expect from this book, but it was much better than I thought it would be. This book is about so much more than just weddings. The women in this story are so real and believable and I found myself relating to certain aspects of all of them. The writing is so well done and the story is told in a fluid and interesting manner. I really enjoyed this book from start to finish.
A glimpse into the lives of four women thoroughly entrenched in the ways of the Old South Jul 14, 2008
Readers familiar with Beth Webb Hart will have no trouble recalling her previous titles, GRACE AT LOW TIDE and ADELAIDE PIPER. Both books made Booklist's top 10 Christian fiction books in 2006, and with good reason: Hart's writing style was utterly exquisite, and her skill as a storyteller matched her style.
THE WEDDING MACHINE represents something of a departure from her previous works, centered as they were on the interior lives of two young women. Make no mistake, the setting is still the South Carolina Low Country, and Hart's Southern sensibilities emerge once again in her descriptions of both the social structure of a small town in the South and the low country itself. But here the focus is on a group of four longtime female friends, now in middle age with daughters to marry off.
Hilda, Ray, Sis and Kitty B. have inherited from their mothers the task of organizing Jasper's weddings, at least within their own social circle and the congregation of All Saints Episcopal Church. Known as the Wedding Guild, the four women have this whole wedding thing down to a science. If anything upsets the proceedings, it won't be due to a lack of planning on their part. Every detail, down to the Krazy Glue in the emergency wedding-day box, has been carefully attended to by the human "wedding machine."
Things get hairy, though, one summer when the machine begins to break down. Hilda, who has been holed up in her house ever since her husband left her nearly two years earlier, makes an appearance just long enough to stir things up before hiding herself away once again. Ray faces a crisis of monumental proportions --- given her Southern upbringing, that is --- when her daughter makes the mistake of her life, to Ray's way of thinking. The never-married Sis, still grieving over the loss of the love of her life decades earlier, struggles with her lack of attraction to the single minister everyone wants to pair her up with. Kitty B. continues to live a life of not-so-quiet exasperation with her chronically ill, apparently hypochondriac husband. And although these women have been best friends their entire adult lives, several harbor deep secrets that they have never shared with each other and that go a long way in explaining their personalities and relationship challenges.
The story itself is among the book's strengths, as is Hart's attention to detail. (One detail could have used a bit of an explanation, though: the frequent references to "shagging." It's clear from the context that it's a dance, but a brief description of the Carolina shag would have helped keep readers' minds from wandering to that other, slangy meaning of shag; think "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.") However, I found the introduction of so many characters so early on to be confusing. By the middle of the book, the four main characters had settled into their distinctive personalities, and at that point the storyline did become easier to follow. Another problem, though, was the juxtaposition of flashbacks and the current storyline. For whatever reason --- perhaps the layout method used to distinguish now from then --- I found it difficult to keep my bearings with regard to the various time periods.
Even with those flaws, THE WEDDING MACHINE surpasses many of its cousins in Christian fiction. Readers of Southern fiction --- or anyone who has lived in the "real" South --- will no doubt enjoy this glimpse into the lives of four women thoroughly entrenched in the ways of the Old South.
--- Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Reminds me of my own church, loved this book May 15, 2008
I really enjoyed this book. It stayed with me for a long while after I read it. For those who have had a tough childhood and still pretend to be in a perfect world, it hit home. I could also relate to labors for the church in a behind the scenes way that seems completely senseless but somehow is the glue that binds us to the church and the other ladies doing the same things. It's love. We do it for love and because of something more, a treasure to carry on, get us through life and ultimately all of this helps us to serve and love God. I was comforted by this book.
The most wrenching parts for me were Hilda's struggle with her childhood memories and her not getting any help for herself and also the young soldier who was killed in Viet Nam. Lots of things made me cry in this book and I was amazed at the depth of feeling and the broad knowledge that this author was able to bring to life..
I especially was tickled by the purple people eater church description in a strip mall. Now that was funny. Here in the South, you can see a new church popping up every day with some catchy nondenominational name sometimes in your face names to show you they are NOT like the traditional church. They are everywhere here at the same time traditional churches struggle to keep their members who just want to be a place to honor and worship God without all the hoopla of rock concerts. It will be interesting to see how this all falls out now that we are into the second generation of this sad conflict. Will elderly parishoners still want to rock out when they turn 70? Are these new churches only for the young or the forever young? Frankly, I'm just glad that people are going to church!!!
I loved the book and am going to recommend it to my Altar Guild friends! LOL. It's sort of pep talk for us.