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320 pages
Jun 2009
WaterBrook Press

Never the Bride

by Rene Gutteridge

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A screenplay by Cheryl McKay turned novel by Rene Gutteridge, Never the Bride is a recipe for love…of God. When sensible Jessica Stone begins to see God in the form of a man who talks to and touches her, she loses control of her world—and is much happier for it. Through laughter and tears, the reader finds that Jessie isn’t the only one who is challenged and changed.

Witty and honest, this novelization shocks even the most skeptical reader with words that cut to the heart without seeming preachy or overdone. The heart-wrenching reason behind Jessie and her younger sister’s bond establishes an understanding that, despite God’s supernatural and, at times unbelievable, appearance, this story is set in the real world where real pain exists. It is clear that the authors’ purpose is not to gloat about her knowledge of Christ, but rather, to share what each knows to be true of God through the telling of the characters’ unforgettable, yet somehow familiar, love story.

The book begins with Ms. Stone in comfortable control of her life and all that is in it; she recovered from her parents’ tragedy and grew up to be a responsible and reliable older sister, friend, and employee. But then, standing right there in Starbucks, is Him, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, and He won’t stop until she agrees to let Him write her love story. Sometimes running, sometimes sauntering, sometimes singing out of tune, and always causing a scene, Jessie moves forward with blind faith, at times tripping over herself, in search of the love she’s always dreamed of, only to find that He’s been following her around all along.

While she seems at first to be too cynical to be reconciled, Jessie quickly captures the reader’s attention with a vulnerability that feels familiar and a laugh-out-loud sarcastic flair that no one would want to ignore. Her interactions with other characters in the book are believable and relatable—I found myself scribbling an enthusiastic “yes!” beside many particularly accurate depictions of conflict between characters.

In keeping with Jessie’s initial compulsion with numbers (and everything else), I marked the pages of this adorable novel 104 times with “ha” or “haha” or even, at times a “hahaha,” and the number may have been even more than that had my cat not been lying on my writing arm (apparently enjoying the book, too). And even in the midst of my laughter, I would come to a line so full of realistic life-wrestling that I couldn’t help but stop and ponder the truth behind the choice of words. This book is a beautiful fit for anyone longing for a laugh, seeking a sense of mutual understanding, or looking to fall in love with the greatest Lover of all. – Carrie Bragg,

Book Jacket:

Since she was just a little girl, Jessie Stone dreamed up hundreds of marriage proposals, doodled the romantic ideas in her journal with her treasured purple pen, and fantasized about wedding dresses and falling in love. She’s been a bridesmaid nearly a dozen times, waved numerous couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember.

But shopping for one key component of these countless proposals hasn't been quite as productive–a future husband. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best…well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God shows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. What will it take to convince her that the Almighty has a better plan than one she’s already cooked up in her journals? Can she turn over her pen and trust someone else to craft a love story beyond her wildest dreams?