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Wedding Ring    by Emilie Richards order for
Wedding Ring
by Emilie Richards
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella

Tessa MacRae and her mom, Nancy Whitlock, come to Tom Brooks, Virginia with the goal of cleaning up the family home. Helen (Nancy's mother) has collected a houseful of junk in the three years since they last visited. After a difficult beginning, the three generations of women take the time to help each other deal with many years of wounded feelings and losses. Tessa finds Helen's quilts and learns the family stories that come with each one.

Tessa lost her daughter to a drunk driver, leaving her bereft. Her husband, Mack, tries to draw her into the land of the living but has almost given up after many rejections. Mack tends to his grief by going to meetings at the Compassionate Friends and Tessa is an active member of MADD but they each need close emotional support to survive the loss. Mack is contemplating an affair, but is not sure yet that his life with Tessa is over. Nancy has kept her husband, Bill at a distance from her family home. She feels that if he sees her old home he will feel different about her. She remembers her childhood as being poor and believes Billy will look down on her family roots. Helen tells the richest of tales, ones that can only come from living through the generations. Her life wisdom shines through each one. Tessa and Nancy hold on to them as they reveal not only a love story, but also the history of a family tree.

This is the first in a Shenandoah Album trilogy (to be followed by Endless Chain and Lover's Knot). Tessa has a rage that the reader can feel; Mack is trying to channel his sorrow in a different way. All characters are very well developed with personalities that leap off the pages. Emilie Richards tackles real life issues and spins them into a story that not only pulls her family members into your heart but makes you want them to have a happy ending. I highly recommend Wedding Ring, and Emilie Richards has earned a spot on my keeper shelf.

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