Thursday, March 31, 2022

Book Review: The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Pages: 416
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: March 30, 2022
Publisher: Gallery
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Feels Like Falling,
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  

Goodreads says, "Four women. One family heirloom. A secret connection that will change their lives—and history as they know it.   Present Day: Julia Baxter’s wedding veil, bequeathed to her great-grandmother by a mysterious woman on a train in the 1930s, has passed through generations of her family as a symbol of a happy marriage. But on the morning of her wedding day, something tells her that even the veil’s good luck isn’t enough to make her marriage last forever. Overwhelmed and panicked, she escapes to the Virgin Islands to clear her head. Meanwhile, her grandmother Babs is also feeling shaken. Still grieving the death of her beloved husband, she decides to move out of the house they once shared and into a retirement community. Though she hopes it’s a new beginning, she does not expect to run into an old flame, dredging up the same complicated emotions she felt a lifetime ago.  1914: Socialite Edith Vanderbilt is struggling to manage the luxurious Biltmore Estate after the untimely death of her cherished husband. With 250 rooms to oversee and an entire village dependent on her family to stay afloat, Edith is determined to uphold the Vanderbilt legacy—and prepare her free-spirited daughter Cornelia to inherit it—in spite of her family’s deteriorating financial situation. But Cornelia has dreams of her own. Asheville, North Carolina has always been her safe haven away from the prying eyes of the press, but as she explores more of the rapidly changing world around her, she’s torn between upholding tradition and pursuing the exciting future that lies beyond Biltmore’s gilded gates.  In the vein of Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman and Jennifer Robson’s The Gown, The Wedding Veil brings to vivid life a group of remarkable women forging their own paths—and explores the mystery of a national heirloom lost to time."


Julia Baxter's family has an heirloom, a wedding veil, that has been passed down through her family for years.  It's not just a wedding veil though; it symbolizes a happy future and long lasting marriage.  Julia is planning her dream wedding at the Biltmore Estate, but things aren't going as planned.  Julia receives an anonymous text that shows a video of her fiance cheating on her. Cue the drama as the wedding was about to unfold.  Julia can't go through with it as this isn't the first time she has had fidelity issues with her fiance, so after the wedding is called off she travels on her honeymoon alone to figure things out.  Rewind many years to Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt in 1914 at the Biltmore Estate.  They are struggling to keep it afloat after the sudden death of George Vanderbilt and the Great Crash of 1929.    The two families have a connection to the heirloom of the wedding veil, but share much more than that deep down. Both Cornelia and Julia want to break free from society's expectations and make their own way. Kristy Woodson Harvey's The Wedding Veil is a pleasant historical novel about the power of family, and having the courage to follow your heart.  

The Wedding Veil ties together four women, but Cornelia and Julia's stories stand out the most.  Julia's story in present day was the easiest to imagine and the unsuspecting text prior the wedding is enough to make any former bride anxious.  Readers can't help but feel bad for Julia at first, but then you start to learn more about her relationship and realize that she is definitely dodging a bullet. How did she get this far with her fiance though? Why did she stay with him this long? Because it was comfortable? So, I was happy to see Julia break free from her fiance, break free from those expectations, and forge a new path for herself. Once she travels to the Virgin Islands (her honeymoon) solo, she starts to not only figure out who she is without her fiance, but also what she wants out of life as she has lost sight of her goals.  Also, I really enjoyed Julia's relationship with her grandmother, Babs, and was entertained by the chapters from her point of view. She tugged on my heartstrings and made me think of my grandmother. 

Cornelia Vanderbilt is a difficult character to capture in The Wedding Veil, but Harvey did a good job considering this is her first foray into historical novel.  I enjoyed the passages describing the Biltmore Estate and although I have never been there, Harvey brought it to life well. She also captured the pressure and immense responsibility that weighed over the Edith Vanderbilt's head as she was in charge of this luxurious 250 room estate as well as the surrounding village. Cornelia has responsibilities to carry on things for the family, but she also has her own hopes for her future.  The wedding veil originally is in Cornelia's possession and without giving too much away, Harvey is able to tie these two unlikely families together very well.

The pacing of The Wedding Veil did drag at times in the middle, especially the historical sections, as I found myself really wanting to go back to present day to see what Julia was going to do next.  Other than some of the sluggish parts, I thought The Wedding Veil was a solid historical read, especially for fans of A Well-Behaved Woman. It has inspired me to plan my own trip to the Biltmore Estate.

Are you a fan of Kristy Woodson Harvey? Is The Wedding Veil on your TBR list? Have you been to the Biltmore Estate? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I went to Biltmore as a teenager, so as soon as I heard about this book, I was instantly interested in it! I haven't read this author before, but this has so many elements that I usually love, so I have high hopes!

    1. I have never been to the Biltmore, but I really want to go now! I think you'll like this one and I think you'd enjoy Harvey'd Peachtree Bluff series! Thanks for visiting, Angela.


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