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Love Arrives in Pieces


Love Arrives in Pieces

Beauty has always been a huge part of Stella Varland’s life. A former pageant queen, her beauty seemed to define who she was. But when her husband cheated and left her only three years into their marriage, Stella took a step back and reevaluated her life and the things she thought were important. She now feels that beauty is way overrated and has traded in her makeup and trendy clothes for baggy jeans, t-shirts and the fresh-faced look --- whatever it takes to erase any trace of her old self and blend in. Stella is still trying to work through the emotional aftermath of her divorce, and her anxiety attacks are getting fewer and farther between. She hopes it’s only a matter of time before she finds the self-confidence she lost along the way and somehow discovers who she is apart from her beauty.

Stella’s secret desire is to be an artist, but she hides her passion --- her art studio --- behind a locked door and focuses on her interior design work instead. When her mother pulls some strings and gets her a job to renovate Bayou Bend’s iconic community theater, Stella is surprised but thrilled. She is to work closely with the building contractor to completely revamp the building and get it ready for the grand reopening. When Stella arrives to her meeting with the contractor, she is in for an even bigger surprise and is far from thrilled. Chase Taylor is the man who left town after breaking not only her sister’s heart, but also her own. She holds him responsible for the rift between her and her sister that took a very long time to repair.

"There is a good balance of humor and weightiness, and emotional awareness is spot on. Overall, LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES is an entertaining and fresh read with a lot of heart."

Chase recently lost his fiancé in an auto accident and is now determined to live his life with no regrets. He has returned to Bayou Bend to be near his family and has accepted a contract to reconstruct the town’s theater. The last thing he expects is to be reconnected with the woman he fell in love with years ago. He knows he made some mistakes back then, but he has changed and doesn’t understand why Stella can’t just forgive him and move on.

Regardless of the anger Stella harbors toward Chase for the past, she can’t deny the attraction she still feels when they’re together. But she tries to bury those feelings and do the job that needs to be done. Her sister and her mother are not happy about the fact that Chase is back in the picture, let alone working with Stella. But she does her best to convince them --- as well as herself --- that their relationship is strictly professional.

As Stella and Chase work together to restore the old theater, the potential is there to also rebuild their relationship. Is Stella ready to open her heart and trust again?

The first couple of chapters felt a bit disjointed to me, and it took me a little while to get into the story. But once I did, I couldn’t help connecting with Stella and all of her insecurities. Author Betsy St. Amant has created a character to whom all women can relate and reiterates the fact that no matter how beautiful or talented we are, self-confidence is something we all struggle with, in one way or another. Besides the true meaning of beauty and accepting yourself for who you are, St. Amant tackles other issues, such as forgiveness, learning to trust again after experiencing a broken heart, and recognizing that God is the only one who can fix that brokenness. The book also touches on pursuing our passions and purpose, and the importance of family.

On all of these points, St. Amant hits the mark. There is a good balance of humor and weightiness, and emotional awareness is spot on. Overall, LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES is an entertaining and fresh read with a lot of heart.

Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on July 22, 2015

Love Arrives in Pieces
by Betsy St. Amant