Love Arrives in Pieces
For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn't trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to her brokenness---so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but always falls short. So she keeps her passion for her secret art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn't get another job soon, she'll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée in a car crash. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he'll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town's old theater, and is shocked to learn former flame Stella is the designer for the project.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and their pasts as they struggle to compromise and come together on a vision for the theater. Chase doesn't understand why Stella is such a subdued version of herself, while Stella doesn't get why Chase thinks he understands her. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness---and their unresolved feelings for each other---until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, losing her trust in the process.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force both Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice---to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from the broken.
My thoughts: Wow. I really loved the first book of Ms. St. Amant's I'd read All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, as well as her novella in the A Year of Brides collection. I wasn't sure at first how I'd feel about LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES since a beauty queen, pageant winner I am not. I never even entered the contest. I was a bit hurt when Stella equated being first runner up as being as good as last (wouldn't not placing in the top three or four be that?) but since I am not a part of the pageant world, maybe I'm wrong.
I also have never been divorced, so I can't relate there, but I did have a failed engagement and felt many of the same reactions Stella expressed, so I totally get the brokenness. I liked Chase and really felt for him facing an uphill battle. I did wonder how the relationship between him and Kat and Stella's parents played out.
I loved this book -- especially since I have stuff in common with Stella and could relate. I loved a secondary character, Dixie. She was so sweet. I did guess part of her story, but not all of it.
If you like contemporary romance, pick up LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES. Don't let the beauty queen scare you away. You will love this book. 5 stars.
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