Zondervan|May 24, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-310-33488-0
In The Wishing Tree, Ivy Marshall, a savvy, determined woman, finds out her husband has cheated on her on the 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 circumstances. When her return to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, brings her face to face with her former fiancé, old feelings rise to the surface and she wonders if there is a future for them. However, her husband has started tweeting his apology to her and 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 own wishes for the future and decide what love should be.
Ivy Marshall worked for her father, Simon in one of his commercial real estate offices. He was on the phone telling Ivy that he was going to have to close their Asheville office, the very one she’s worked in for four years. Great, now she was going to be without a job. However, she really wasn’t all that surprised because she’d just told her husband, Elliot last night during dinner. The good thing was that it would take about two months to close the office down so they’d have time to wrap up recent projects and give employees time to find other jobs. The bad thing was that she and Elliot wouldn’t be able to keep their house without her income.
Lately, Ivy and Elliot haven’t communicated much, mostly about what food items needed to be replenished or what bills needed to be paid. She wasn’t worried about telling him she was losing her job as that fell under the category of “business” and that’s the only thing they seemed to talk about – nothing personal.
Margot, Ivy’s mother called just as she was leaving the office. After the day she’d had she just wanted to go home and take a hot bath. Her emotions were just a tad unstable, but now Margot was adding to her already emotionally charged psyche by telling her that her sister, Shea was going to be proposed to on national television tomorrow. Margot want Ivy to come home for the weekend to congratulate her sister in person but that’s the last thing Ivy felt like doing. Since tomorrow was Valentine’s Day she could just tell her mother she didn’t want to leave Elliot alone on Valentine’s Day weekend. The last time Ivy had spoken to Shea was three months ago, their relationship was somewhat strained so Ivy wasn’t all that excited about her sister’s engagement because she was going to have the wedding she never had – at Sunset Beach.
The following day didn’t pan out so well for Ivy either. After having to sit through the nationally televised proposal to her sister, she also found out that Elliot had cheated on her! What else could go wrong in this poor woman’s life? Ivy wasn’t in the mood for talking with Elliot and thought about what she could do. Then it dawn on her, she would go home to Sunset Beach, North Carolina and help finish up planning Shea’s wedding. Although it was already May and the wedding was set for mid-June, there would still be lots to do. She could also help her Aunt Leah out in her shop – Seaside Bakery. And, by going home and helping with the wedding, she wouldn’t have to tell her family about her and Elliot’s crumbling marriage. They all new she was out of a job and had the time to help. She might even be able to see he ex-fiance , Michael and who knows what might strike up with him.
Ivy drove home and went immediately to her bedroom and retrieved the suitcase. As she was packing she heard Elliot come into the room but Ivy so not wanted to talk to him. Of course he apologized for his transgression and said he still wanted to make it work but Ivy said nothing. When he asked where she was going she only replied: “home.” Elliot carried her suitcase to the car and Ivy drove off without a good-bye.
Seeing Shea for the first time was a tad awkward, but like the two adults they are now they were amicable toward each other. Margot immediately pulled out her wedding binder that she’d made and decided the three of them needed to divvy up the remaining items on the list. Ivy has been put in charge of The Wishing Tree which involves mailing out tags to each wedding guest to write down ‘wishes’ for the newly married couple. Then Ivy is to ensure that all those wishes get hung on the tree for the Bride and Groom to read later. It’s been a tradition in their family for a long time. But as Ivy helps ready the tree for Shea’s wedding she must look deep within herself at her own future and what she believes true love should be. Can she reconcile with what Elliot has done? Is she too wrapped up in thinking about her ex, Michael? Or, will she decide true love is loving herself first and remain on her own?
The Wishing Tree is definitely a book about forgiveness. It’s also a beautifully written story of love, loss, betrayal, hope, grace, and finding one’s way back from the brink. You can’t allow bitterness and situations already washed under the bridge to affect the here and now or your future. Everyone deserves forgiveness and true grace. We’re not perfect people but when it comes from a place of faith and a deep understanding of your true heart’s desire, then you need to accept what is.
Marybeth Whalen has penned a most gorgeous read. The Wishing Tree gracefully unravels how tradition, culture and sense of place affect the human heart. Well-done!