Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and  timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history-and its new bride-begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

I had a hard time reading this book. I know it was a pdf version [or something] and not the final, cleaned-up Kindle version, but the punctuation, especially capitalization, was beyond horrible. I can see a few mistakes here and there, but I absolutely cannot believe it’s the way Rachel turned it in or just ‘pre final edit’. Sentences, names, all sorts of things were screwy.

I know it’s not Rachel’s fault and for that reason, I stumbled through it and I won’t hold her responsible in the least, but it was still beyond annoying.

Charlotte and Tim are getting married. Soon. But he hasn’t picked out his tux. She hasn’t picked out a dress [and she owns a bridal shop!] and neither one of them has finalized their guest lists, much less sent out invitations.

When Charlotte is sucked into a fundraiser auction at a local historical site, she somehow ends up buying a trunk. One that’s been welded shut. With money she really doesn’t have.

She finally gets it open [with help from now ex-fiance Tim], she finds the most beautiful dress she’s ever seen with a history that she’s nearly desperate to find out.

Told mostly in two time periods, the book tells the story of how the dress came to be and Charlotte’s search for answers. She may not realize it, but she’s searching for answers to far more questions than just those brought by the dress. Three other women have worn it. Their stories will dramatically impact her life as well as Tim’s. Not all of the women who wore the dress are deceased. Charlotte’s search will impact the lives of those surrounding all of the women who wore it.

The setting and characters came alive and I can’t think of one character I didn’t like [with the possible exception of a couple now-deceased characters who I probably wasn’t supposed to like ;)]. Hauck sucked me in [despite the aforementioned punctuation/capitalization issues] and didn’t let go.

By the time she has her answers, Charlotte knows more about herself and her place in this world than she had at the beginning.

This is my second book of Hauck’s but won’t be my last. The ending to the last one I read left me unsettled and dissatisfied. It made me a bit leery but I’d heard such good things I went ahead and requested this one and I’m so glad I did.

Hauck drew me into both time periods and had me rooting for both Charlotte and NAME to find true love – no matter who it was with.

The one thing I would have liked to see is a bit more resolution to the situation with Tim’s sister-in-law, but I can live with it the way it is.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to Hauck’s next one.

Overall rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.


  • Oh, Carol, so sorry you had problems with the formatting! So, so frustrating! The Wedding Dress is my favorite Rachel Hauck book — I hate that the formatting tripped you up!

    • It was frustrating though eventually I was able to turn off my inner editor and ignore it. 😉 I found out later my sister has a hard copy and I may have to borrow it just so I can read it without the formatting junk. I really did enjoy it [and I have Love Starts with Elle on my TBR shelf…] and will read it again – just not that copy ;).

  • Carol, so sorry about the formatting. What e-reader did you use? I have it on Kindle and it’s great. You might let Thomas Nelson know.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read it.


    • I got the Kindle version off NetGalley and it’s weird. Because I know you wouldn’t have turned it in like that and they wouldn’t put it out like that but there it was. I’ve had funky formatting stuff before from NetGalley but that’s more like paragraph spacing and stuff :/. I didn’t think to email them about it – I’ve only been using NetGalley for… well, this was the 2nd or 3rd book I’ve read through them so I’m still learning it.

      I really did enjoy the book, though, and will borrow sis’ hard copy at some point :).


  • Stephanie Dial

    I have a hard copy. I just started chapter 7 and have found 2 typos…the worst being that this section is about Emily but says Charlotte in a sentence and should be Emily. It’s on page 78 where Emily is going to open a window for her mother. It says…”But CHARLOTTE preferred it to the hot, stale air of Mrs. Caruthers’s workroom.” I’m so sucked into this book and both Charlotte and Emily’s stories. I’m really enjoying this book so far.

    • Carol

      Stephanie – unfortunately, typos happen :/. I know Rachel and her publisher both strive to put out the most clean copy possible, but sometimes things slip through :).

      Thanks for stopping by :).