Wedding Bell Blues (Piper Cove Chronicles Series #1)

( 6 )

Overview

Not even a big budget can help Alex make her sister's wedding the event of the year. The usually calm and collected Alex is rattled when the man who walked out on her sixteen years ago to pursue a rock-and-roll career returns to be the best man. In desperation, she calls on her three best friends to help pull off the shindig, and keep her away from the devastatingly handsome Josh. Tomboy Ellen, shy Jan, and vivacious Sue Ann join forces to keep Alex on track. But fate won't be stopped in this small seaside town. ...

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Wedding Bell Blues (Piper Cove Chronicles Series #1)

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Overview

Not even a big budget can help Alex make her sister's wedding the event of the year. The usually calm and collected Alex is rattled when the man who walked out on her sixteen years ago to pursue a rock-and-roll career returns to be the best man. In desperation, she calls on her three best friends to help pull off the shindig, and keep her away from the devastatingly handsome Josh. Tomboy Ellen, shy Jan, and vivacious Sue Ann join forces to keep Alex on track. But fate won't be stopped in this small seaside town. Alex finds it as impossible to avoid Josh as it is to deny that he's a changed man. Is it too late for their love? Only faith, family, and best friends will tell.

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Editorial Reviews

Romantic Times BOOKclub
“Windsor’s first installment in the Piper Cove Chronicles has Alexandra and Josh confronting past hurts and hidden emotions. Windsor adds the perfect ingredients of love, humor and friendship. This will be a series not to miss.”
Christian Retailing
“Delightful characters … a heartwarming story that will appeal to fans of romance fiction.”
Publishers Weekly
Billed as inspirational women's fiction, the first offering in Avon's inspirational line is pure, chaste romantic diversion. Alexandra "Alex" Butler was jilted years ago when her hunky husband, Josh Turner, left soon after their marriage to become a rock star. When Josh returns to Piper Cove on the Atlantic Ocean as best man in Alex's sister's wedding, the professional decorator and divorcée finds to her dismay that her passion for him still simmers under her businesslike exterior. Alex's three "bosom buddies" provide interest throughout, especially the mechanically minded Ellen Brittingham, one of the most promising characters in the novel. A few unfortunate sentences are over the top, even for this genre: "She was as indelibly etched under his skin as his tattoos" and "the sight of Alex... was enough to send the wooden totem pole at the Ocean City inlet jumping in the water before it self-ignited." Some plot elements are insensitive enough as to be unbelievable, such as Alex's father giving away Alex's beloved first home to her sister as a wedding gift, and then asking Alex to decorate it. But Windsor, an RWA Beacon Award-winning author and Christy Award finalist, is a competent writer, and the Piper Cove Chronicles should hold their own in inspirational romance. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Christian Retailing
"Delightful characters … a heartwarming story that will appeal to fans of romance fiction."
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“Windsor’s first installment in the Piper Cove Chronicles has Alexandra and Josh confronting past hurts and hidden emotions. Windsor adds the perfect ingredients of love, humor and friendship. This will be a series not to miss.”
Karen Kingsbury
"Linda Windsor is no doubt among the top inspirational authors of our day."
Lori Copeland
"Linda Windsor never fails to deliver an insightful, wonderfully funny story!"
Kristin Billerbeck
"Windsor is an excellent writer and Wedding Bell Blues is a heartwarming tale."
Romantic TimesBOOKclub
"Windsor’s first installment in the Piper Cove Chronicles has Alexandra and Josh confronting past hurts and hidden emotions. Windsor adds the perfect ingredients of love, humor and friendship. This will be a series not to miss."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061291142
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/16/2007
  • Series: Piper Cove Chronicles Series , #1
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Maryland author Linda Windsor has written some twenty-nine historical and contemporary novels for both the secular and inspirational markets, but she is most noted for delivering “The Lift of Laughter and Spirit” in her modern inspirational romances. A Christy finalist and winner of numerous industry awards, Linda has written for Multnomah Publishing (historical fiction and contemporary romances), Barbour Publishing (romcom novella), and Westbow Press (the Moonstruck romantic comedy trilogy). Wedding Bell Blues, the first book in her new The Piper Cove Chronicles series, is featured on Avon Inspire's launch list.

In addition to writing and doing fiction-writing workshops at conferences across the country, Linda continues a music and lay speaking ministry started by her and her late husband, and she is a part-time financial analyst. She also works on “as desperately needed” home improvement projects on the 18th-century-plus house that she and her husband began restoring in 1986. Wallpaper and paint are definitely in her near future.

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Read an Excerpt

Wedding Bell Blues (The Piper Cove Chronicles)

Chapter One

A sundae meeting was called for. Even though it was Wednesday, Alexandra Butler had put out the call to her friends. With a nostalgic smile at the celebration tradition that, like their friendship, had survived since high school, she pulled her Mercedes coupe into the parking space in front of the Piper Cove Country Club.

As of this morning, she had only one final payment to make on the loan that had subsidized her decorating business, one payment between her and financial freedom from her banker father's tight rein. To celebrate, hot chocolate and whipped cream were waiting inside, along with her bosom buddies.

Thank you, Lord, she prayed, grateful for the freedom, and her friends.

She needed her friends for more than a celebration. Her sister Lynn, whom their father called his little surprise when she was born twelve years after Alex, had called from a weekend trip to New York to announce her engagement to John Astor Whitlowe, Jr., a financial wunderkind just out of grad school. The couple was so excited, they'd even picked out Lynn's dress at a Fifth Avenue boutique. Alex's father, while overjoyed about the match, was determined to impress Lynn's future in-laws. They were not only from old money, but John's father was president of Mercantile One out of Bethesda, a large banking corporation that was taking Piper Cove Mercantile into its network. In other words, John's father was soon to be B. J. Butler's boss.

"I want us to nip in the bud that old notion that Eastern Shore men across the Chesapeake Bay are web-footed hicks," Benjamin JamesButler—known as B. J. by the locals—had told Alex earlier that morning. "Which is why we are gonna plan the finest shindig my money can buy. You've got a knack for making a pig's ear look like a silk purse, and Lynn's so aflutter with love and finals that she won't be much help to your mama, so I'm depending on you, Alex."

I'm depending on you, Alex. It was probably the first time Alex had ever heard those words from her father, and satisfaction hardly described the emotion overwhelming her. Usually B. J. Butler assigned duties like a commander, expecting them to be carried out because he said so, not because he needed anyone.

As Alex swung open her car door, a male voice interrupted her thoughts. "Alexandra, allow me."

Alex lowered her sunglasses, peering over them. "Thank you, Will. Taking the day off, or are you headed to a business luncheon?"

Will Warren had graduated two years ahead of Alex's high school class and now worked for her dad's bank as head of the mortgage department. He made no secret of his ambition to replace B. J., and Alex knew full well that Will's flirtation was nothing more than a potential rung on his ladder to success. It was futile, of course. Her father would give up his position only when they patted him in the face with a spade.

"Business . . . unfortunately," he added, his voice lowering in suggestion. "Believe me, I'd much rather spend an hour with you."

If her father heard that comment, or rather, its innuendo, B. J. would have shot Will on the spot. Alex kind of warmed to the idea, but she was forced by the restraint of the law to use verbal ammo on the would-be Romeo—

"Will Warren, if an hour's all you have to offer," a familiar voice interjected in a honeyed drawl, "a woman would as soon skip as bother."

As for stinging shots, that one would do. Alex grinned. "Hi, Suzie Q."

"Mrs. Wiltbank, good to see you," Will answered stiffly, as Sue Ann Quillen Wiltbank, of the Ocean City engineering Wiltbanks by marriage and the Piper Cove Quillen Realtors by birth, sashayed toward them in a smart black pantsuit, cut to accent her voluptuous curves. Although Alex's friend had gained a good twenty pounds since high school, it had all gone to the right places. "Tell Daddy I said hi, Will," Alex said, leaving the banker flushed from his white starched collar to his thinning brown hairline.

Suzie smothered her in a perfumed hug. "Alex!"

"You're bad," Alex chastised under her breath.

"That pig has had his nose stuck up my—"

"I know," Alex interrupted her, steering her toward the lighthouse-styled apex of the L-shaped building.

As one of Piper Cove's richest citizens, Sue Ann could say anything she wanted and not worry about reproach. Not that that had stopped her when she was merely an affluent realtor's daughter. Hers was the mouth always in gear, whether her brain was or not.

"Tush. I was going to say tush." Sue Ann's mischievous blue eyes twinkled like the genuine gemstones clustered on one of her many rings.

"Of course you were." Alex linked arms with her friend and ushered her through one of the double glass doors with a "Thanks" to the exiting customer who held it open for them.

"Why, Bobby McMann, aren't you the sweetest thing?" Sue Ann called over her shoulder to the man.

Alex could have reminded Sue Ann that Bobby was married and a practicing Catholic who'd perfected procreation by having six kids. But Sue Ann knew that. She simply couldn't help herself. Men brought out the flirt in her, no matter their age or shape. If Bobby had been sixty and balding, instead of a rugged, thirtysomething contractor, Sue Ann would have treated him just the same.

To the left of the entrance was the dining room, reflecting the formal elegance of Chesapeake Bay living. Alex steered her companion to the Coffee Café on the right. Its wildfowl theme and hunter green and beige color palette was in keeping with the natural habitat the area was known for. This room said smell the coffee, while the other suggested high tea served on the club's custom-designed china.

"There they are." Sue Ann pointed to a corner booth, where a brunette in a tank top and jeans jumped up and whistled.

Wedding Bell Blues (The Piper Cove Chronicles). Copyright © by Linda Windsor. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

Question: 1. There is a saying, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." How is that played out in this book? Do you find it a stretch that four women from different social backgrounds and at different places in their faith journeys are still best of friends?

Question: 2. Do you think Alex and Ellen handle their faith differences with Sue Ann and Jan well? Would you like these four women for friends? Do have any friends like them?

Question: 3. How is Alex conflicted by Josh's return? Could you forgive and trust someone who'd abandoned you and returned years later, claiming to be different? How willing would you be to give them a second chance?

Question: 4. Can you sympathize with Josh's reasons for leaving? Do you believe that he really loved Alex? How might things have been different, had God been part of the equation when they were first married?

Question: 5. How has Alex changed since Josh's departure years ago? How has Josh? What conflicts do they continually run into? Will that ever change?

Question: 6. How are Sue Ann, Jan, and Ellen's perspectives about love and/or finding the right man different or similar?

Question: 7. Lenora Butler changes from a depressed mother to one ready to fight for her family. What do you think prompts this change? Aside from chemical, or biological factors, what might have been at the root of Lenora's depression?

Question: 8. How would you describe B.J.'s relationship with Alex? Do you know people like B.J. Butler?

Question: 9. Alex is torn between wanting the approval and love of both her father and Josh. Is this so atypical in inter-family relationships? Do you think that honoring one's mother and father is in conflict with leaving one's parents behind to become one in marriage? What gives you hope that this conflict might not be so divisive this time for Alex and Josh?

Question: 10. At what pivotal point does Alex realize she loves and forgives Josh? What lessons does Alex learn regarding her faith throughout the book? What struggles does Josh have with his? Do you feel that these faith trials will affect the future of their marriage? How?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2008

    Another great from Avon Inspire

    What a wonderful book. Avon Inspire impresses me once again. So far with all of their books I have read, I have loved, not just liked, but loved every single one! Previously, I have read Linda Windsor's Scottish historical series and enjoyed it, but this book is way fabulous beyond that series. I cannot wait to read the sequel 'For Pete's Sake'. I'm glad I own it already, but it's too bad that it's packed for the move... *sigh* br/ br/ Alexandera, the main character in this story undergoes a lot of stress, and a lot of real life. Through her journey with family, friends, and Christ a reader can really get pulled into looking at where their own life is with listening silently to what we are to hear. I fully enjoyed this story with the ensemble of characters, and when I thought the book couldn't get any better a bit of a mysterious twist was thrown in that was great fun as well to uncover. br/ br/ I really enjoyed this book, and I'd relate it to Rachel Hauck's 'Sweet Caroline' and 'Love Starts with Elle'. It is a book that I would should just about anyone read. It's a good vacation or weekender that will make you smile and sigh with contentment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2008

    I Had the Blues Reading This Book

    I had read this author's other book first, For Pete's Sake, and really liked it, so when I found out about this one, I was quite excited. Disappointment quickly set in and I had to FORCE myself to finish the story. The main character, Alex, was so unlikeable I found myself wishing Josh 'her love interest' would find someone else. Alex constantly did the wrong thing, moaned to God about it, and then asked God to make everything right. She never seemed to grow and learn. Her personality grated on my nerves and I was unable to root for her or her situation. How unfortunate, when For Pete's Sake was exactly the opposite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2007

    Wedding Bell Romance

    The first installment of The Piper Cove Chronicles from Linda Windsor shines with good writing and fun deeply layered characters. This is the first book of Linda Windsor¿s that I¿ve read, but it won¿t be the last. She writes with a sensitivity that allowed me, as a reader, to fully engage with the characters and see both Alex and Josh¿s perspectives. And there are huge hurdles in this romance. Much more than the fact that he left her with only a note 16 years ago. While the old sparks and attraction are still there, Alex isn¿t willing to jump into his arms and repeat the mistakes of the past. And the characterization fully supports her reactions. The setting is the fun Maryland Eastern Shore which Linda writes well. I could practically see the community and the real ones that surround it. There is also a full cast of supporting characters who add to the book¿s warmth and layering. And I have a feeling her girlfriends will find themselves in leading roles in future books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2007

    Wedding Bell Blues

    Like always, this author has built characters that have a sense of humor, as well as some short comings. Alex's biggest short coming is the fact that she is afraid to trust. To trust God and to trust Josh. She's also too impetuous. But what's great about her is that she recognizes her failings and is the first to admit them. I love the fact that she is very believable. And Josh. Well, I just love him. I love how he fights for what he wants. And he wants Alex. He's determined to show her that his faith is real and that it has changed his life. The Bosom Buddies. What a unique group of friends these women are! I'm looking forward to reading each of their story in turn. I think that my favorite character is the little girl who is sitting on the swing with Alex at the end of the book. She's such an imp that it reminds me of my friends who have young children. I don't want to wait until the next one is done to read Ellen's story. Or Jan's. Or Sue Ann's. I'm totally hooked!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    inspirational second chance at love

    In Piper Cove, designer Alexandra ¿Alex¿ Turner is stunned to see her ex- husband rock star Josh Turner in town, as this is not the type of place for a person like him even if he is back to attend her younger sister's wedding as the best man. However, Josh has an ulterior motive for coming home earlier than he had too. He has radically changed his life having found the Lord and wants a second chance with the woman he still loves. Alex also loves Josh, but does not trust him with her heart. Josh knows his work is cut out for him to prove to Alex he is not the same person who hurt her. As she struggles with her father¿s health and his giving away the home she cherishes to her sibling as a wedding present while also helping her sister with her upcoming nuptials, Alex turns to the bible for solace, but has troubles with accepting that ¿to err is human to forgive divine¿. --- This inspirational second chance at love tale stars two likable individuals who made lack of communication mistakes their first time around leading to their separation and divorce. The secondary cast, mostly the townsfolk, enhances the deep look at the fully developed lead couple. Readers will root for them to find a way back to each other. Although some passages might stun parts of the audience with their titillating metaphors, fans will enjoy this warm tale of history repeating itself as love may not prove enough once again. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the romantic tension. Great stuff!

    This is the first novel I've read by Linda Windsor and now I'm wondering what took me so long to delve into her stories. I own several more, which I will soon be reading, especially if they are all as good as this book was. I really enjoyed the tension between characters. Especially the hero and heroine. The longing for each other, and yet trying-to-remain-aloof-but-not-succeeding portion of the story kept me smiling. I love a book that has passionate kissing in it, especially when the two people who are drawn together also feel like they shouldn't succumb to what they long for. That makes for the best romantic tension. And this book has fabulous kissing and romance, yet they never fall into dangerous territory because Joshua is heroic enough to flee temptation. The author has a gift for description, making your heart float at times. She also has a great sense of humor and uses witty metaphors. Incredibly romantic, this novel had just enough sizzle to hook me on her books for life. Not to reduce it to sizzle, because the spiritual element was deep and edifying as well, but I SO love an inspirational novel that has more than just one kiss at the end. Trust me, if you love romantic tension, great character arcs and an interesting plot, this story has a gourmet distribution of them all. Delicious and addicting. I loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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