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What a fascinating book. Can’t wait to read the sequel. Very entertaining.
Once again, Stephen Murray lures anticipated readers in, allowing us to catch-up on the couples that entered The Chapel of Eternal Love five years ago. The author's ability to bring us up to speed showcases a creative mind that fully utilizes the gift of imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed learning how some of my favorite couples fared in Return to the Chapel of Eternal Love. Will there be more nuptials in future? I surely hope so!
The author provides the reader an opportunity to observe a day in the life of souls entering and leaving a busy, enchanted Las Vegas chapel. These fictional characters could easily be someone we know; either personally, through the magic of TV, or even ourselves. Out of love, something beautiful is constructed and it will unite or separate the souls entering The Chapel of Eternal Love. A book, I could not put down!
A fitting finale to its prequel, Return to The Chapel of Eternal Love, pulls readers into a whirlwind of relationships filled with everything from sheer marital bliss to familial turmoil. A perfect blend of romance and reality, it truly redefines, "happily ever after."
Return to the Chapel of Eternal Love is such a delightful book. Twenty three chapters of emotional energy. It is a sequel to Stephen Murray's, The Chapel of Eternal Love. The individual stories captivated my interest instantly. I giggled, laughed, and cried.
I enjoyed reading about the individual love stories of the couples. Rosemary was so caring and giving to all the couples that came to the chapel. And the addition of her dog Buster made the story even better.
The Chapel of Eternal Love and its sequel Return to the Chapel of Eternal Love were so much fun to read. An entertaining slice of life in Las Vegas. The couples were varied and each of the relationships was unique. It was easy to slide into their lives and hope for the best for each couple…just like being there. The dog, Buster, is a real winner, so real and adorable.
The last chapter of Stephen Murray’s wonderful book The Chapel of Eternal Love: Wedding Stories from Las Vegas is entitled “A Day in the Life of a Wedding Chapel.” And what a day! Through the various nuptials in this collection, Murray offers no less than a fascinating cross-section of American culture. He achieves this ambitious vision through subtle, incredibly compact storytelling.
Along with an easy humor, Murray demonstrates a poignant empathy for his characters. Whether he captures the psychology of Linh, the Vietnamese immigrant in search of her father who decades ago had been an American soldier in Saigon, or the gentle counsel of chapel director Rosemary, Murray evokes individual perspectives with deftness and economy. The breadth of vision here is impressive from Harley-riding loners to septuagenarian second-timers to an Iraq-war veteran’s correspondence with an anti-war attorney to the young lovers confronted with an unexpected pregnancy to the glamorous model and the photographer to the kindly counselor and the prostitute (not to mention a crazy Elvis-impersonator wedding – hey, the book is set in Vegas). Given such diversity, Murray can juxtapose the hilarious interreligious romance of the Jewish Becky and the Italian Giovanni up against the heartbreaking tale of betrayal suffered by Rosa, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala.
From story to story, The Chapel of Eternal Love is constantly engaging and revealing. Grasping loneliness with nuance, Murray presents a book that is Exhibit A about how much a single personal connection can make huge difference. On one level, the book is about identity, maintaining the one that originally defines an individual, but then discovering through another what allows that identity to flourish.
Indeed, The Chapel of Eternal Love gets a reader thinking, but, as importantly, it provides so many pleasures that one can’t help but get as swept up in the romance of the book as much as the motivations that propel Murray’s characters to the altar.
Stephen Murray delivers what the reader has been waiting for in his sequel, Return to the Chapel of Eternal Love. Five years have passed since we "attended" the weddings of the couples all married on a particular day. We again are allowed a look into their lives as Rosemary prepares to retire. She doesn't know that a fabulous reunion of the couples is also being planned at her surprise farewell party. Again we are instantly drawn into the lives of the couples, Rosemary and the darling Buster. Stephen Murray delights us with the follow up stories, as we take a nostalgic trip with the characters who feel more like our friends!
The Chapel of Eternal Love is an endearing "ride-along" with a diverse group of couples who have unique lives and love stories. The Fairy God Mother at the heart of the Chapel is Rosemary, the wedding organizer, with her adorable dachshund, Buster. Rosemary possesses an instant rapport with each of the couples whose weddings she oversees at the Chapel. Although she works her magic without a wand, she seems to hone in on exactly what is needed to make the wedding day a lovely experience the couples will always treasure. Stephen Murray has the ability to bring his characters to life and as such, the reader feels privileged to "be" at their weddings. Each chapter instantly brings the reader into the lives of these people as we find ourselves wishing them all the best on their special day.