A Brush With Love – Rachel Hauck – A Year of Weddings 2 #2 – Zondervan – Published 30 December 2014
Ginger Winters is a gifted hairstylist with scars no one can see. The last thing she expects from the New Year is a new chance at love. Overcoming a childhood tragedy, Ginger emerges from the pain and trauma with a gift for bringing out the beauty in others. From the top big city salons to traveling the world as personal stylist to a country music sensation, success was almost enough to make Ginger forget she would never be one of the beautiful people. That girl, forever on the outside looking in. But she needs her confidence this weekend. She’s the acclaimed “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.
When high-school crush Tom Wells Jr. also returns to town and shows up at her shop looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her locked away from love, Despite Tom’s best efforts, Ginger can’t forget how he disappeared on her twelve years ago and broke her heart. Can she ever trust him again? When Tom challenges her to see her own beauty, Ginger must decide if she will remained chained to the past or move freely into a new, exciting future.
A Brush With Love is a sweet novella, with relatable characters and a detailed backstory.
Rachel Hauck admits in her acknowledgements that when she planned out this story she found she had enough material for a full-length novel. And you can tell. There is plenty of backstory, intertwined lives, shared history and troubles of the heart and soul that need to be resolved. So as a result, this story does jump a little and concludes very quickly. Yes, it would be better as a full-length book where each step of Ginger’s faith journey, love story and learning to believe in her beauty could be fully explored. But, taking into account that this is a novella and had to be cut to fit the length requirements, this is a fun and heartfelt story.
Ginger was injured in a fire when she was young and suffered extensive burns as a result. Her whole life she has covered up her scars, believing no one could ever see her as beautiful. It was too easy to believe the harsh words spoken about her, especially when the only guy who showed a speck of interest in her left town one night and never contacted her again. Now that same boy is back in town. They are both all grown up, Ginger a successful stylist and Tom a starting out preacher, but the spark between them is still alive, despite the years of silence and hurt. Tom wants to shown Ginger God’s love, but can’t help falling for this woman, who is beautiful inside and out.
Tom and Ginger have a wonderful connection, despite everything that stands between them. I especially loved their shared humour, and the scenes as they reconnect are full laughter that covers the underlying hurt Ginger feels.
This book felt a little juvenile at times, and I’m not sure if that was because the story is built on the relationship Tom and Ginger had as teenagers or if it is just the tone of the novella. I do wish this story was full-length to fully explore all the wonderful facets Rachel Hauck has woven into the story, from faith, God’s love, friendship, the way the world views us and how that shapes out view of ourselves, to forgiveness and the relationship between a kind man and a hurting woman. I instantly connected to Ginger and really enjoyed her voice, which was vulnerable but still strong.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Faith. Beauty. Marriage. Love.
Published: 30 December 2014 by Zondervan.
Format: ebook. 150 pages.