The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen

Title: The Wishing Tree
Author: Mary Beth Whalen
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: May 2013
ISBN: 9780310334897
Pages: 302
How I Got It: supplied by author

Ivy Copeland Marshall is having a very rough couple of days.  Her father has closed his Asheville commercial real estate office leaving her unemployed, her sister Shea was just proposed to on national television and Ivy witnesses her husband Elliot leaving the apartment of the woman he is having an affair with. Deciding between going to her family home, where she has not been in years, and staying in Asheville to listen to her husband's apologies, she choses to go home to Sunset Beach. Under the pretense of coming home to help her sister with her wedding but not telling her family her own marital situation,  her return is still less than smooth. Ivy has not returned to Sunset Beach since she broke off her engagement to Michael in order to elope and move away to the mountains with Elliot. And she won't be able to avoid seeing Michael because his brother Owen is Shea's new fiance.  Sorting out her feelings for her ex-fiance and her husband, as well as patching up her relationship with her sister has Ivy on an emotional roller coaster. Adding to her stress is the job her mother has appointed her for Shea's wedding, the wishing tree. Guests mail well wishes for the couple and Ivy is to tie them to the small potted tree that will be on display at the wedding. Memories of planning her own wedding to Michael and a psalm keeps popping up while  Ivy tries to understand what love really is. 

I enjoyed this book and included as one of my three summer beach reads. The relationships were complicated and strained but relatable and authentic. Ivy isn't depressed and devastated, she's pissed and confused. I found myself saying "I would say that" or "I would do that" when Ivy talks to her friend about Elliot or wants to look great when she first sees Michael again. I personally related to how Ivy felt that she didn't belong in Asheville or Sunset Beach, how neither place felt like home. As we grow and branch out on our own, we often feel torn between the home of our youth and the homes we build for ourselves. Looking back from our adult lives of responsibilities and obligations we too often see forgotten dreams and abandonded potential instead of finding strength in our life's lessons. Marybeth Whalen did a wonderful job of showing that everyone has their own ideas and expectations of love but without nurturing and communication these relationships can crumble. Whalen also emphasized that it's never too late to try and mend these relationships to grow again or if not then simply for the sake of closure and peace. 

Marybeth Whalen released The Mailbox in 2010, She Makes It Look Easy in 2011 and  The Guest Book in 2012 (which there is an excerpt of at the end of 2013's The Wishing Tree.) At this rate, fingers crossed, she will have a release next year and I will be be snatching it up to let her take me away with a story. 

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