Never the Bride: A Novel by Rene Gutteridge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I know you don’t know me, but I’ll admit it –I’m a drama queen. Hopefully, I am not a drama queen in the negative sort or connotation that this label elicits, but in the very fact that I’m in charge of the drama program at my church. Why do I tell you this? It’s because of the advice that my pastor always gives me- he says, “Please pick the comedy skits, because you get to people’s hearts through the back door with them, not hitting them over the head with the heavy stuff, it just sort of gently comes to them through their own laughter.” And so I comply with his requests- you will find this concept brilliantly executed with Cheryl McKay’s and Rene Gutteridge’s novel Never the Bride. There is no hitting you over the head, but lots of laughter and great insight if you pay attention.
We meet Jessie Stone broken down on the side of Pacific Coast Highway with a flat tire bemoaning the fact that there is no guy in her life to take care of these frustrations for her. Yes, the title of the book "Never the Bride" sums up her attitude on life in spades. After failed online dating services, failed speed dating, and just plain old failed relationships, Jessie Stone is at the end of her “forever single” rope. And then enters a tall, dark and handsome man with gorgeous blue eyes. Hmmm the answer to her dreams (?) - Oh yeah, but maybe not as she thought. It’s God Almighty in the flesh trying to get Jessie to see things His way, that He might have a few ideas on how to handle her love life. Does she listen to Him? Well, sort of, with a few detours of her own.
This story is told with a wonderful sense of humor, a brilliant fresh writing voice and is a plain, absolute joy to read. As this was written as a screenplay first (Cheryl McKay) and adapted to a novelization later (Rene Gutteridge), it is easy to see how it would make a great movie, but trust me it works as a great novel as well. The scenes are very easy to visualize, especially the scenes where God shows up in various times and places and completely un-nerves our heroine Jessie Stone. His timing is always off according to Jessie and right on time according to God. He manages to get her completely outside of her comfort zone with regards to her ideas on her profession, her beliefs with regards to Him, as well as, of course, her love life. But isn’t God like that- His ways are always better than ours, if we will just listen.
So from this drama queen to you I say ”Bravo” on “Never the Bride” and I will be rushing to the Movie theaters if this is made into a movie. It was darling, winsome, and full of great spiritual messages. I can think of quite a few friends to recommend this book to and I truly hope to see Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge team up again- they are a formidable force. 5 stars.
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