Love Begins with Elle is the latest offering from one of my favorite authors Rachel Hauck. Rachel’s books sometimes have the twang of southern chick lit or lowcountry romance. But Love Starts With Elle has a different feel, a heart that kept me reading.
This book starts with a proposal — Elle, the dame of Operation Wedding fame in Sweet Caroline, thinks she has it all when her hunk of a pastor proposes to her. But if he’s the one for her, why is everything so hard? Soon Elle is questioning her life and what God wants for her.
Heath McCord moves to South Carolina for six months to escape New York City and the memories of his deceased wife. He’s also chasing a dream — turning a lawyer into a writer. Only problem is he wants to write a World War Two love story rather than a hard-hitting legal thriller. I laughed as I read some of what his agent told him — since I’ve heard many of the same lines!
One thing I count on in one of Rachel’s books is a spiritual thread that will challenge me and often hit me between the eyes. Elle struggles with entering a relationship of deep intimacy with Christ. She’s invited to join an older woman for prayer every weekday morning for prayer. She shows up once out of a sense of obligation, but soon can’t imagine her days beginning without that time. How I long for a similar sense of relationship — yet, I have to take that step and draw near to Him, so He can draw near to me. Am I willing to make the sacrifices required to develop what my soul yearns for?
Rachel also presents characters who are fully human and struggle with real-life issues. There’s no candy coating on these characters. One of Elle’s sisters has to deal with the last fall-out of an earlier relationship that resulted in a daughter. Watching her struggle with real emotions without the veil of fictionalized Christianity challenged me. Am I willing to provide the accountability and support that someone needs when they find themselves confronted by the lingering effects of sin. We all have those areas, so why pretend otherwise.
This book was a joy to read. It impacted me on several levels, while being a real page-turner. If you’re looking for a romance with depth, this is a fantastic one to read!