Carol Award: Short Contemporary: Finalist: The Wedding Garden
Title: The Wedding Garden
Author: Linda Goodnight
Publisher: Love Inspired (Allison Lyons, Editor)
Category: Short Contemporary
Reviewed by: Lacy Williams
Linda Goodnight handled the subject of a child conceived out of wedlock with grace and sensitivity.
Years ago, Sloan Hawkins left the small town of Redemption, Oklahoma, never imagining he was leaving behind an unborn child. Now he’s back to care for his ailing aunt, but the people of Redemption—including widow Annie Markham, the girl whose heart Sloan broke when he left, can’t easily forget his bad-boy past.
While Linda Goodnight could have treated the storyline as a cliché, she handled the subject of a child conceived out of wedlock with grace and sensitivity. Because of the hero’s upbringing, he is especially sensitive to having a son who needs him, and Goodnight sprinkles in this backstory in ways that doesn’t overwhelm readers but allows them to sympathize with the hero and root for him to overcome.
Goodnight also excels at creating a small-town feel for this novel, in both setting and characterization. She shows both the negative aspects of everyone knowing Sloan’s business, as well as creates secondary characters who genuinely care for the prickly man who doesn’t quite know what to do with their concern because he’s used to being on his own.
Other things that make this novel a Carol finalist include Goodnight’s skill with dialogue, the authentic romance she builds between hero and heroine, and the emotion she is able to capture on each page.
Buy this book