Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women's Fiction;
Format: Kindle ARC
No. of Pages: 416
Date of Publication: March 29, 2022
My Rating: 5 Stars
The New York Times bestselling author of Under the Southern Sky and the Peachtree Bluff series brings “her signature wit, charm, and heart” (Woman’s World) to this sweeping new novel following four women across generations, bound by a beautiful wedding veil and a connection to the famous Vanderbilt family.
Four women. One family heirloom. A secret connection that will change their lives—and history as they know it.
Present Day: Julia Baxter’s wedding veil, bequeathed to her great-grandmother by a mysterious woman on a train in the 1930s, has passed through generations of her family as a symbol of a happy marriage. But on the morning of her wedding day, something tells her that even the veil’s good luck isn’t enough to make her marriage last forever. Overwhelmed and panicked, she escapes to the Virgin Islands to clear her head. Meanwhile, her grandmother Babs is also feeling shaken. Still grieving the death of her beloved husband, she decides to move out of the house they once shared and into a retirement community. Though she hopes it’s a new beginning, she does not expect to run into an old flame, dredging up the same complicated emotions she felt a lifetime ago.
1914: Socialite Edith Vanderbilt is struggling to manage the luxurious Biltmore Estate after the untimely death of her cherished husband. With 250 rooms to oversee and an entire village dependent on her family to stay afloat, Edith is determined to uphold the Vanderbilt legacy—and prepare her free-spirited daughter Cornelia to inherit it—in spite of her family’s deteriorating financial situation. But Cornelia has dreams of her own. Asheville, North Carolina has always been her safe haven away from the prying eyes of the press, but as she explores more of the rapidly changing world around her, she’s torn between upholding tradition and pursuing the exciting future that lies beyond Biltmore’s gilded gates.
In the vein of Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman and Jennifer Robson’s The Gown, The Wedding Veil brings to vivid life a group of remarkable women forging their own paths—and explores the mystery of a national heirloom lost to time.
A luxurious wedding veil has been passed through a family for generations. The Vanderbilt veil. Is this veil a blessing or a curse? It is hoped that the veil will bring good luck, but for some it seems that it is anything but.
The story begins in 1879 with six-year-old Edith Dresser. She hears a wonderful story from her mother about a magical wedding veil. Sadly, Edith is soon orphaned. In 1898 Edith is about to marry. She is saddened as she misses the fact that her mother will not see her get married. However, she will wear the family veil, which is a lace point heirloom. Edith Dresser marries the love of her life, George Washington Vanderbilt, and the legacy continues.
Then we meet Julia Baxter. She looks glamorous on her wedding day and is wearing the carefully preserved precious veil. However, a group text changes everything and she calls the wedding off, fleeing to the previously designated honeymoon location to try and sort her future out. She meets Connor and even wonders if she just might have a brief fling.
While Julia is struggling to sort our her future, it is soon learned that her grandmother Babs has sold the family home and is moving into a retirement home. She did not want to worry the family about any major decisions concerning her, so she did this all on her own. Running into a man that was once very special to her is something that Babs never expected.
As the story shifts back to 1914, now Edith is managing the vast and exquisite Biltmore Estate after the tragic loss of her husband George. She will do her best to keep the 250-room estate running with hopes of passing it on to her daughter Cornelia. However, Cornelia wants more for herself in life. The story then shifts to 1934 with Cornelia striving to make her own mark in the world while keeping the Biltmore running.
Kristy Woodson Harvey has woven the mistress of Biltmore, a real historical icon, Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt, into the pages of this truly engaging read. As the book closes, the author's note illustrates Harvey's remarkable research and talent when it came to bringing this book alive to readers. Quite naturally, Harvey took literary liberties to make this such an enjoyable story. There are tons of resources for anyone who wants to take a similar course of research as this talented author.
Side note: The Biltmore Estate is still around in a grand way. It is a glamrous 8,000 acre oasis.
Please also see my YouTube video book review -
Many thanks to Gallery Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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