Maya Jackson has worked for Laura Whitcomb, Inc, a renowned New York City bridal gown brand for years and dreams of becoming Head Designer. She has the talent, she just needs a chance to showcase her unique style. Due to an illness, she’s always prioritized her career over her personal life until Maya’s father fractures his hip and she returns to Charleston, SC. While home for only a few months, she’s thrilled to find an opportunity at the local bridal gown boutique, never expecting sparks to fly with its owner...
A military veteran and widowed father, Derek Sullivan hopes to save Always a Bride from bankruptcy in order to preserve the legacy of his family. He also wants to reconnect with his estranged, twelve-year-old daughter, who is still recovering from the loss of her mother. The last thing he needs is a relationship with a beautiful, smart, complicated woman who will be leaving soon.
When Derek begins to fall for the lovely Maya, he knows there’s no future. But destiny has its own plans, and these two lonely people with big hearts discover that coming home to love is the best gift life can give.
A Lowcountry Bride is much like Charleston, South Carolina, the city in which it is set. It moves along at a leisurely pace, much like sultry, summer days in the Lowcountry, with history, heritage, and humanity at its core.
At first glance the book may seem to be a sweet story of coming home and finding love, and it is that, but it's also so much more. Williams explores some deeply emotional topics through her characters. Derek and his daughter are struggling to recover from two tragic losses in a short period of time, one of them sudden and violent. Derek is also attempting to navigate the unexpected change of career that has brought him home to deal with bridezillas, the realities of single parenthood, and the possibility of healing, and loving, again.
While Maya returns home to help her injured father and open his eyes to the realities of growing older, she slowly begins to realize that she might be the one who needs to reevaluate. When is it time to put someone else's dreams aside and follow your own? What will it take to open her eyes to the importance of being true to her heritage and not allow it to be subsumed by the narrow vision of her racist employer? Will she learn to not limit her life because of the chronic illness she has had since childhood but instead open her heart to the love and joy being offered? Weighty topics Williams handles with sensitivity and grace.
Williams has assembled a cast of characters in this book who each help make the reading of it a richer experience, especially the vibrant community of color within Charleston whose history and heritage is brought to life with this story. I especially enjoyed the tribute the author pays to her own Afro-Filipina heritage through her depiction of Maya and the design techniques used by her in the story. She made me want to learn more. And she made me want to spend time in Charleston. It's been too long. I don't know what will be coming from this author next but I'll definitely be watching.
If you're looking for a diverse, heart-tugging romance about coming home, surviving tragic loss, being true to yourself, following your dreams, and choosing each day to open your heart to love and happiness, add A Lowcountry Bride to your summer reading list.