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Left at the Altar: My Story of Hope and Healing for Every Woman Who Has Felt the Heartbreak of Rejection

Overview

Fascinatingly insightful and hopeful page-turning account of one woman's encounter with ultimate rejection.

TV journalist Kimberley Kennedy went from having it all to complete devastation, rejection, and public humiliation when, like a Lifetime moviescenario, her fiance literally left her at the altar. Fortunately, her story did not end at the church. With candor and humor, Kimberley shares the most personal details of her life as she journeys from devastation to a deeper ...

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Left at the Altar: My Story of Hope and Healing for Every Woman Who Has Felt the Heartbreak of Rejection

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Overview

Fascinatingly insightful and hopeful page-turning account of one woman's encounter with ultimate rejection.

TV journalist Kimberley Kennedy went from having it all to complete devastation, rejection, and public humiliation when, like a Lifetime moviescenario, her fiance literally left her at the altar. Fortunately, her story did not end at the church. With candor and humor, Kimberley shares the most personal details of her life as she journeys from devastation to a deeper understanding of what happened and how she found not only healing but hope to someday find her Mr. Right.

The intimate woman-to-woman inspirational journey includes:

  • Stories of women who were left at the altar
  • How to deal with feelings of anger towards God
  • The little black dress analogy
  • How not to let your rejection define who you become
  • Tools for healing and moving on
  • How to laugh, love again, and return to dating
  • Ultimate insight from men who have been rejectors
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785228783
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/17/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,012,397
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimberley Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, writer, andhost ofa weekly newsmagazine show airing in Atlanta, Orlando, and Charlotte. A former news anchor in Dallas and Atlanta, Kimberley enjoys public speaking and is active with nonprofit boards.
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Read an Excerpt

Left at the Altar

My Story of Hope and Healing for Every Woman Who Has Felt the Heartbreak of Rejection


By Kimberley Kennedy

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2009 Kimberley Kennedy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4185-8580-8



CHAPTER 1

The End of Forever


We never know the good we have till constant friends depart And leave us just with half a life and half a heart.

—Katharine Tynan Hinkson


It was a beautiful morning that day in late April. Of course, it always seems to be a beautiful day when you are in love. The sky is a little bluer, the birds' chirping sounds a little sweeter, your favorite songs always seem to be on the radio.

But that April day was even more beautiful than all the others because this was the start of my beautiful wedding weekend, the beginning of my life with Lew.

This was the day of the wedding rehearsal, and my home was filled with all the hurried prewedding preparations. Wedding gifts were arriving, friends were coming in from out of town, the phone was ringing, my mom and I were excitedly packing for my honeymoon. In the midst of all that, like Julie Andrews dancing around with those draperies in The Sound of Music, I would grab my wedding dress hanging on the armoire and stand in front of the mirror, imagining myself walking down the aisle as Lew gazed at me lovingly from the altar.

I was a grown woman silly in love, and I wanted to remember every single second of this amazing day. This was a story we would tell our children and our grandchildren over and over again.

Anyone who has been a bride knows how intoxicating a time it is before a wedding. As the bride-to-be, you feel as if you are the center of the universe. Everyone is buzzing around you, giggling and happy. Nothing sad from the past is important; all that matters is right now. For my family and me there had been a lot of those sad times, but things finally seemed to be going our way, my way, and I just knew that all that sadness was finally behind us.

Of course, the object of all that anticipation was Lew. He was the man I was about to call my "husband." I could not wait to say that. I could not wait to say I was his "wife." And so, as I left home that sunny April afternoon, I was on top of the world because every minute was inching me closer to him, closer to our being husband and wife.

Inside the church was the typical wedding rehearsal scene: the organist asking last-minute questions, the priest wanting to know about a scripture reading, everyone talking and laughing. I was wearing a long cream-colored halter dress that my mom and sister and I had bought on one of our many prewedding shopping trips. It was so pretty, and I remember hoping Lew would think so too.

The church was lovely, aged, and stately, a typical Episcopal church from long ago. It smelled old, which I liked, I guess because it gave off a whiff of permanence and stability, just as a marriage should be. It was so lovely that it occurred to me that, if the flowers somehow never arrived tomorrow, it would be beautiful enough as it was.

And the joy! I had never felt such joy. Everyone I loved most in the world was about to be inside this church. I truly was on a love-high, my heart admittedly racing a bit from all the excitement. This was my wedding, not my sister's or my friends', mine. Don't get me wrong; being a bridesmaid is great and such an honor (I should know; I have had plenty of experience), but finally it was my turn. My turn to get the groom and the happy ending.

Lew was late, but then he was always late, so I wasn't really concerned until a few moments later when his sister came in. In stark contrast to the happy people who had already arrived, she was pale and obviously shaken. She came up to me and said that Lew needed to see me ... and in that moment I knew. Lew, the priest, and I went into her office. Before Lew said a word, I begged him not to do it, not to say it.

He was clearly distraught, and when he was finally able to speak, he looked directly at me and simply said, "Kimberley, I just can't do it."

I just can't do it. Five little words that would change my life forever.

I have given a lot of thought about how to describe the way I felt at that moment, but I guess anyone who has had a sudden shock or death of a loved one knows how it feels. At first I felt numb, stunned, as if I were having an out-of-body experience. Did he just tell me he could not go through with our wedding? Surely I had not heard him correctly. I must have misunderstood, or maybe this was not even real. I was just having a nightmare. But as the numbness wore off, my heart began beating so fast that it must have snapped me back into the horrible reality. He had said it. "I just can't do it." Lew was not going to marry me.

As my body began shaking and my eyes welled up with tears, I could see in his eyes that this time I would not be able to reassure him, that I would not be able to change his mind.

Still, I tried.

Even as I pleaded and begged, I knew it was in vain. I remember looking over at the priest, who clearly had never encountered this kind of thing before, standing there in nearly as much shock as I was, hoping she would have the words to fix this, but all she could do was look back at me with this profound sadness.

A thousand thoughts went through my mind. Mostly I just wanted to see my mother.

Lew never went out to tell our families and friends that this rehearsal, this wedding, was not going to happen. He left that up to his sister, who also informed those waiting, as I found out later, that they could still join their family at the club for dinner where his unknowing parents were waiting to host the rehearsal dinner. When I learned that, I was stunned and hurt that she was still willing to party while my family, friends, and I were so devastated.

The next night, I also discovered, his family tried to secure the band that was to play at the wedding reception for a gathering at his home for his out-of-town guests. And I should also mention that one of us did go on our glorious honeymoon to the south of France. And he took his brother.


Hazy Memories

My memories of the rest of that night and next day are hazy. We were all in such shock, but my family and friends never skipped a beat. They mobilized in such a way as to comfort me while, unbeknownst to me, canceling the wedding and calling all the guests. I remember thinking that this must be what it would be like at my own funeral. Everyone tiptoeing around, speaking in hushed tones, wondering how this could happen to such a wonderful girl, how no one deserved such a horrible thing.

People brought in food and drinks, and my bridesmaids slept on the floor to be near me. As I sat there sobbing on my sofa in my beautiful, long cream-colored halter dress, one of our family friends, a doctor, gently tried to get me to take a sedative, which I did not want to do. I just did not want a false sense of well-being. It was strange, I know, because most people would have wanted to be knocked out at such a time. But for me it was as if I wanted to feel the intense pain I was going through. Maybe it was my brain trying to help me accept what had happened, and the only way to do that was to feel it. Still, as hard as I tried to refuse, everyone there tried harder to get me to swallow it; there would be plenty of time for feeling the pain later. So I eventually took their "painkiller."

The most vivid memory I have is the strength of my mother. Sitting there in her wheelchair, her arthritic body bearing the weight of her child's heartache, she was stronger than anyone there. But the hurt in her eyes was profound. Her own life had been racked with pain, emotional and physical, but she will tell you that watching her daughter's heart be broken was the worst pain she ever endured.


Images and Fragrances

Kathleen is right. It did take a while, probably because the shock and pain were so intense. But my sister's recollections, so strong even today, show you how hurt we all were.

Anyway, you should also know that Lew never called to check on me. By Monday, word had gotten out that I had been left at the altar, and, as Kathleen said, it became great fodder for the morning and afternoon radio shows. While I certainly got the better end of the gossip, it was humiliating for me, and I am sure it was embarrassing for my family. When the newspaper called for a quote, my family decided it was time to get me out of town. I know it was for the best, but being with my mother, my sister, and a bridesmaid was not what I had been expecting to do that week. All I could think of was that I should be on my honeymoon, that I should be with Lew.

I do have some vivid images in my mind of that day, including my postpartum sister yelling things at my fiancé that should never have been said in a church, the grief-stricken face of my younger brother, the strength of my mother, friends on the phone canceling my beautiful wedding, bridesmaids sleeping on my living-room floor. I don't think of those images much anymore, and I rarely incorporate them into my verbal story. I think that is because the hurt of my family and friends was so intense that to conjure them up brings back pain I would rather not remember.

But the one image I cannot suppress, even today, is not really an image at all. It is the smell of fresh flowers. My house had been filled with flowers that morning before the wedding. And of course, they were waiting for me like memorials at a funeral when I arrived back home that evening, and to this day I cannot smell gardenias without feeling sad.

CHAPTER 2

The Chapters of My Life


I know that love is blind, but does it have to be deaf and dumb too?

—Author Unknown



I have told my story so many times that it usually feels as if I am talking about somebody else, except, of course, on those PMS days when I remember it was me and feel sad. I tell it for two reasons: one, a lot of people heard about it and are curious for details; and two, I want the listener to know that at my age I have at least gotten really close to getting married.

The response is predictable. It begins with amazement, since very few people actually know someone who has been left at the altar, and it ends with that look of pity since now they do. And I find that, contrary to most good storytellers, I do not have to take liberty with the facts to make it interesting. No, in this case what actually happened is a good story on its own.

To really understand the story, though, you need to know how I got to that night at the altar, how my past, particularly my college and young adult years, contributed to what happened. I would love to be able to tell you that I am completely blameless in this terrible event, but I think we both know that would not be true. No, I contributed all right, but that's something, unfortunately, I can only now understand in hindsight.

Today I think of my life in four chapters—some shorter, some longer, some fun and easy, some sad and difficult:

1. Childhood to junior year in college

2. Junior year to Lew

3. Lew

4. After Lew


Simple, compartmentalized, controllable, the fall and redemption.


Childhood to Junior Year in College

My younger sister and brother and I grew up in a traditional, all- American household. My mom was a homemaker, my dad an airline pilot. My parents were a beautiful, bright, and sparkly couple whom everybody loved and who always made me proud. We lived on a cattle ranch in a one-caution-light town, an hour and a half south of Atlanta, where my grandfather, a very successful businessman, had retired: lots of land for kids to be kids, Cecil's General Store just down the road, the kind of place where you never locked your doors.

We all were active in our little Presbyterian church in the nearby town. My parents instilled in us good old-fashioned values, such as respect and responsibility and the importance of taking care of people who were not as fortunate as we were. As kids, we were involved in all the things you might expect: piano, ballet, Little League, horseback riding, golf, and tennis. But somewhere around thirteen, my mom said it was time to figure out which one of those things I had a passion for and zero in on that. Instead of letting me be mediocre at a lot of things, she wisely decided it would be better for me to be really good at one.

I chose tennis, and she was right. What I learned by having a goal, working hard at it, and then excelling at it were important life lessons that would serve (no pun intended) me well. Becoming really good at tennis gave me an incredible sense of confidence and a firm belief that, if you want something badly enough, you can get it, but only if you work hard and never give up. The premise held for a long time.

Between tennis practice, matches, and tournaments, I was a regular teenager: good student, student body treasurer, Beta Club president, senior favorite, editor of the newspaper, and Upson County's Junior Miss. And boys? I went to the proms and dances with boy "friends," but I was never boy-crazy like so many of my friends at that age. Boys were okay; I just had too much else going on, too many plans for the future to give them a whole lot of thought. No, giving them a lot of thought would come much later.

It was a perfect way to begin life, I'd have to say. But the best part about growing up in the Kennedy household was that I always felt loved. Safe and loved. Protected, nurtured, supported, invincible.


Junior Year to Lew

It is too bad we all have to grow up and learn that nothing is ever truly perfect. And it is too bad we cannot always learn it in small increments, instead of through the tsunami that hit my junior year in college. That was the year my mother's rheumatoid arthritis made its major assault, knocking her off her feet, literally. She had been diagnosed with the disease the year I was born and had lived fairly normally with it for nineteen years, so this took us all by surprise.

Perhaps it hit my dad harder than anyone else, and he coped with it in a way that pulled the rug out from under all of us and our once-ideal family. He left Mom later that year. He would probably say that he did not leave us kids, just Mom, but he did. He would come and get my little brother on occasional weekends when he was not flying, but he never offered to come and help out at all or to support Mom or us in her now-mounting doctor visits and hospital stays, although he did support us financially. It must have been a very frightening prospect, being the oldest child with a sick mom and two younger siblings, because I told him that if he left us, I would never speak to him again. I don't think he believed me, but I meant it. And for seventeen years I did not speak to my dad.

My final two years in college were tough. Thankfully, I had chosen a small, women's liberal arts college outside Atlanta, Agnes Scott, because I ended up driving home every Friday afternoon and driving back to school late on Sunday night nearly every weekend. My mother and I had always been incredibly close, but when her illness hit so hard, it bound us together even tighter. There was no way I was going to allow her to go through that and the loss of her husband alone. I also went home every week to make sure my siblings, especially my ten-year-old brother, had some sense of normalcy in their lives. It didn't hit me until years later that I never mourned the loss of my dad in my own life. I guess there was just too much else to worry about.

Fast-forward through my twenties and into my thirties, and my family managed to right ourselves after my dad left and learned to cope with Mom's progressing illness. Once you accept an illness such as arthritis as a way of life, you just deal with it the best way you can. Do I wish it hadn't happened or that my dad had been there to support us, even if he wasn't married to Mother anymore? Of course. But we did it. I did it. And I think we are all better people for it.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Left at the Altar by Kimberley Kennedy. Copyright © 2009 Kimberley Kennedy. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction, ix,
One: The End of Forever, 1,
Two: The Chapters of My Life, 15,
Three: Suspended in Time, 27,
Four: More Than Worthy, 45,
Five: The Perfect Target, 55,
Six: Protecting My Heart, 63,
Seven: Man's Rejection, God's Protection, 71,
Eight: Left at the Altar Too, 85,
Nine: The Hole in My Heart, 107,
Ten: The Man's Perspective, 121,
Eleven: Moving On!, 135,
Twelve: Laugh Again, Love Again, 151,
Resource List, 169,
Acknowledgments, 171,
Notes, 175,
About the Author, 179,

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Must Read - especially if you are going through a breakup!

    Left at the Altar by Kimberley Kennedy was not at all the book that I expected it to be. I honestly expected it to be a book about women who had been left at the altar and their journey to move past that horrific experience. Instead I found it to be a book that every female who has been through a rough breakup should read. Kimberley uses her own heartbreaking story to share how it is possible to get over a past love, even if that love has left you at the altar. Towards the end of the book, Kimberley gives the reader a list of tools for healing, followed by a list of tools for moving on. These lists really put into perspective and summarized what Kimberley had been telling the reader throughout the entire book.

    Tools for Healing
    1. Know that God cares.
    2. Realize it is ok to mourn.
    3. Allow family and friends to comfort you.
    4. Don't mourn too long.
    5. Focus on the truth.
    6. Don't waste valuable time plotting ways to get him back.
    7. Get back into your routine quickly.
    8. Find a godly counselor.
    9. Stay in constant contact with God.
    10. Turn off the deceiver's voice.

    Tools for Moving On
    1. Get into a good women's Bible study or small group.
    2. Lose the fear.
    3. Don't talk about your rejection when you do start dating.
    4. Realize that you will inevitable compare every man who comes along to the who who rejected you.
    5. Don't make it a priority or become obsessed with replacing that person who rejected you.
    6. Develop patience.
    7. Beware of loneliness.
    8. Continue to reject the deceiver's lies.
    9. Realize that you may very well be rejected again.
    10. Allow God to reveal to you the exciting plan that he has in store for you.

    All lists from Left at the Altar by Kimberley Kennedy pages 138-149

    I found these two lists to be the most important things that I took from the book because although I am currently in a stable relationship with a very loving guy, I wish I had known some of these things when I did go through some very rough breakups. Like Kimberley there were times when I thought that God was playing games with me and that he never wanted me to be happy because well if he wanted me to be happy then there is no way he would let me feel the pain that I felt throughout some of my breakups, especially one in particular.

    I would definitely recommend this book to all of my female friends and would also recommend it to anyone who is currently going through a break up because it reminds us that it is important to not lose faith and to trust that God did not want your relationship to work out for a reason even if you don't quite understand it at the time.

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book to review from Booksneeze

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2011

    Good easy read. Personal.

    Left at the Altar is very well-written. It's almost as if you are sitting in a crowd and listening to Kimberley Kennedy speak to the group, and to you personally. It's the type of wisdom you want to get from a close friend or mentor but never do. As humans we like to learn of other people's lives - to peer into them.

    I read Left at the Altar in one weekend. Like a voyeur. It is an easy read and meant to comfort you in knowing life will continue.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    Heartfelt Heartbreak and finding Hope again. A must Read!

    Left at the Altar by Kimberley Kennedy. This book was a wonderfully heartfelt book written by Kimberley's own rejection. Kimberley had everything going for her big time news Anchor position and ready to marry the love of her life. Then to have it all come crumbling down right before she said I do. It took months before she realized after her terrible heartbreak that there is life again. In this book you will find many compelling stories of rejection and fear of being lonely and unloved by others who have been in a similar situation. Many think that being left at the altar can be life shattering but Kimberley guides and shows us all about hope, healing and forgiveness. Kimberley uses Bible verses as a way to show women how a relationship with Christ should be the central matter in their lives. I really enjoyed how honest and real she was in the telling of her story, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I would highly recommend this book to someone who has been through the same situation or similar. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    Left at The Altar

    Left at The Altar by Kimberly Kennedy is a very motivational and inspiring book. It encourages us to move on and teaches us how to forgive those who wronged us. This book also guide you in letting go the bad things in life in order to move forward.

    This is a very good book. Initially I thought it's a fiction, but I was wrong. This self-help book comes from the author's own life experience. She was left at the altar, and she taught us how to deal with the humiliation and all sort of negative emotion that comes from being rejected.

    I highly recommend this book to those who are feeling lost and have no will to move forward, for tghis book definitely teaches you how to live life to the fullest with regrets free.

    I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A book for the rejected woman by a rejected woman.

    Death, taxes, and rejection are the only certain things in this life.  I don't think there is any quite as devastating as rejection.  The author thinks so as well.  The author helps the reader learn to deal with rejection by recounting her own painful rejection story.  She was left at the altar.  Her fiancé broke of their engagement at the rehearsal. 

        Probably the worst things about this rejection is that the author is a public figure- an anchor woman.  Whereas many of us deal with rejection privately, the author had to deal with her rejection being played out across the media.  Fortunately for her, she had universal sympathy. 

        Recovering from rejection is almost like grieving a death.  The author tells the reader that rejection can be a good thing.  Not only did she learn some valuable things, she realized that had she married her fiancé it would have been a really bad thing.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    Healing for the broken heart

    Left At The Altar by Kimberley Kennedy is a book for the broken, by the broken. She was ready to marry the perfect man, when the night of their rehearsal he spoke five words that changed her life. I just can't do it. Kimberley Kennedy has used this experience to write a book to people in the middle of their healing. If you have recently broken up with someone, are divorced, or just do not know how to move on, you'll want to read this book.

    The author first states that as in death, grief is normal. She takes the reader through the Five Stages of Grief, stressing that God has never left you. The most powerful sentence of this book is the following statement. " I have come to the conclusion that there are three players driving is in the events of our lives: us (our own self-will), the deceiver, and God." If only we would remember before we decide! She also provides ten tools for healing and tools for moving on. It is evident, that at the writing of her book, she was not completely over the hurt. Also, she provides a wealth of stories of those who have also gone through this experience, which shows the reader that they are not alone.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    Well written from the heart

    TV personality, Kimberley Kennedy, went from having it all to having nothing at all in just a few short minutes. Her fiancée was late for their rehearsal and while nothing was unusually about him being late she knew when she saw him that he world was going to turn upside down. She was not only going to have to heal from this but do it in front of the whole world. This well written book walks us through not only Kennedy's story of recovery but other women's as well. For me it was very interesting to see another book I have read, while it was for a college course, come up in this book. I need really connected that being left at the alter would be like going through the process of death. The concepts from, On Death and Dying, follow very closely to recovering from a heart break. I was touched with Kennedy's honesty and openness to discuss even the most personal parts of her recovery and forgiveness of herself and God. I found it very interesting that while most women would either blame themselves or the man who left them, Kennedy blamed God. There sure was a process for her to move from this to letting God take over her life. While there are hard topics in this book, I also felt that there was a sense of humor written in as well. While I am happy to say that I have been married for 10 years, there were things that even I needed to hear from this book. I would recommend this book to any woman who has ever had her heart broken or just feels alone in this world.

    I was provided this book to review by BookSneeze my opinions are my own

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read for Hard Times in Life

    This book would be great to read if you are going through a sad/heartbreaking journey BUT this is NOT for someone who just wants a book to read. I am sure if I were going through a death of someone close or being left at the altar this would be a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    A great book

    Kimberley Kennedy is a media personality who works in the Atlanta area and is set to marry her fiancee Lew. As they are preparing for their wedding at the rehearsal, Lew shared that he could not marry Kimberley. Kimberley tells her story of rejection, and the anger she felt toward God after her relationship fell apart. She uses Bible verses as a way to show women how a relationship with Christ should be the central matter in their lives. I really enjoyed how honest and real she was in the telling of her story, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down.
    A wonderful book that I tell everyone to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    Left at the Altar

    Left at the Altar: My Story of Hope and Healing for Every Woman Who Has Felt the Heartbreak of Rejection by Kimberley Kennedy was the most recent book I read. Although I am not married or engaged, I thought it might be an interesting read for the mere fact that at some point in life, everyone has felt some type of rejection, be it from a relationship, friends, or even family. I can honestly say I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to others, married or not.

    Kimberley Kennedy is a media personality who works in the Atlanta area and is set to marry her fiancee Lew. As they are preparing for their wedding at the rehearsal, Lew shared that he could not marry Kimberley. Kimberley tells her story of rejection, and the anger she felt toward God after her relationship fell apart. She uses Bible verses as a way to show women how a relationship with Christ should be the central matter in their lives. I really enjoyed how honest and real she was in the telling of her story, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Buy!

    This book is perfect for any woman who has ever felt rejected. It shows you are not alone in this struggle and how you can learn to overcome it. This should be on every woman's book shelf.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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