Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Review of A Wedding Invitation by Alice J Wisler
Past and present collide after Samantha attends what she thinks is her former roommate’s wedding. While visiting her esoteric aunt at a butterfly launch during a memorial service, a former student from the refugee camp where she worked several years ago invites her to a meal and destiny.
Wisler’s story of a quiet young woman with a broken heart and living in a rut is a sweet tale of misunderstanding, mistaken identity, judgment and forgiveness. Set in the early nineteen-nineties, with flashbacks to the mid-eighties, the tale is woven between Samantha’s experiences teaching American customs to Vietnamese refugees in the Philippines, awaiting placement after the end of the conflict. Samantha gives her heart to a fellow teacher, Carson, who’d promised his college sweetheart he’d remain faithful. When Sam realizes Carson means to keep his promise, she forgets about a future filled with plans to become a teacher, goes home and works for her emotionally reticent widowed mother.
After the chance encounter with her former student who is delighted to let her know that Carson lives nearby and would like to see her again, she eventually and reluctantly meets him. Their stories gradually come out and the misunderstandings are laid to rest. Even the wrongly accused student doesn’t hold Sam’s accusations of theft all those years ago against her, and asks for help finding the mother who gave her up for adoption.
Told in first person, A Wedding Invitation is an upbeat message that happiness and love involves risk, faith, and trust, and that helping others can revive even the dampest of spirits. Readers who enjoy the music and sounds of life at the end of the twentieth century, the news, the songs, the food and fun of the era, will enjoy this tale of a quirky aunt, mom, and shy young lady ready to come out of her shell.