Review: The Wishing Tree by MaryBeth Whalen
Savvy, determined Ivy Marshall discovers that her husband has cheated on her on the very same day her sister’s perfect boyfriend proposes on national television. When Ivy’s mother asks her to return to her family’s beach home to plan her sister’s upcoming wedding, she decides to use the excuse to escape from the pain of her broken heart. When her return to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, brings Ivy face to face with her former fiance, old feelings are rekindled and she wonders if there is a future for them. However, when Ivy refuses to talk to her husband, he resorts to tweeting to her, expressing his remorse and making it clear he doesn’t want to give up on their marriage. As she helps prepare the wishing tree for her sister’s wedding, she must examine her dreams for her own future and what true love should be.
This is my second book by Ms. Whalen. The first, The Guest Book, was good and I looked forward to this one. Though the other one wasn’t a true romance in the traditional sense of the genre, it had definite romantic elements to it, much stronger, IMO, than this one did.
I did enjoy The Wishing Tree, but it left me… hmm… something. I’m not quite sure what. I’m not sure whether I expected her to fight for her marriage and work things out with her (cheating) husband or end up with her childhood sweetheart, but I could have gone either way by the end. While I didn’t disagree with the choice Ms. Whalen made, I’m not sure it’s the one I – as an author – would have made.
But with both relationships – regardless of the eventual romantic finale – there needed to be forgiveness and grace and this is ultimately a story that sees Ivy going through those steps with both her estranged husband and ex-fiance.
I wanted to love this, but just didn’t. It wasn’t bad and anyone who enjoys Ms. Whalen’s books will surely enjoy this one, but I felt… I dunno. Nothing bad, but nothing I can really define either…
Ugh. I hate not being able to put my finger on it and share what it is that’s bugging me, but I can’t. I do hope the other fellow gets a happy ending in another book. I’d read it.
And I really did love the wishing tree. And wish we’d had one.
Edit in response to Mary’s comment below to clarify about how I could have gone either way:
Initially, I could have gone either way. I’ve read and enjoyed books with both premises. The husband wasn’t SOOOOOOO awful I couldn’t see him changing (he didn’t beat her half to death regularly and wasn’t a serial cheater with no remorse, etc.) and the ex fiancé wasn’t SOOOOOOOO good she had no choice. Does that make sense? By the end I did have a clear preference, and it surprised me which one.
Part of it, and I meant to mention this earlier, could well have been that I read it in the middle of the night when I wasn’t feeling great.
Overall rating: 8 out of 10