Over the years, Eva Marie Everson has delighted fans with her romance novels. Her latest release Five Brides (Tyndale House) has everything you want in a good book. It’s a historical, set just after the Second World War. The novel follows five women who all take turns sharing one wedding dress they purchased together. As if the engaging plot wasn’t enough to pull you in; to top it all off, this story is based on real-life events.
Five Brides is a story of sisterhood and romance. But behind the fiction there are remnants of reality. “This is actually a true story,” says Eva. “A dear friend of mine told me the story of a friend of hers who had come to the States after WWII, had moved into an apartment with four strangers in Chicago, and then bought a wedding dress with them from the famed Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. All five women, she said, wore the dress. When I found out who the friend was, I became even more excited.”
The “who” Eva mentioned is Joan Zimmerman who started “Southern Shows” with her husband more than fifty years ago. Southern Shows are national consumer events held all over the country. Southern Shows draws huge crowds to their events–over 600,000 guests each year! Through the years, Joan was asked several times to share her story. But it was Eva, the award-winning novelist, who she trusted to write her journey into pros for fans all over the world.
Writing a novel based on a true story was something new for Eva. But she pursued the story with tenacity. “It’s not easy holding Joan Zimmerman down long enough to get the stories–but I finally did. She and her husband Robert were wonderfully gracious–and so, so funny!” Of the five stories, only Joan’s story is true. The other four main characters were fictionalized.
These five women share the spotlight in Five Brides. And of their character, Eva says, “They were five fiercely independent women (both in my story and in real life) in a period of our history when women were returning home from the work place. But these five wanted more than working until marriage and living in a boarding house until Mr. Right came along. They thought for themselves.”
One day while window shopping, the five women spot a stunning wedding dress. One a whim, they decide to pretend one of them is engaged and they try the dress on. They all try the dress on. After they fall in love with the white stunner, they decide they should pool their money and buy the dress—each taking their turn to wear it. And so the fun begins. At the time, none of the girls are engaged. Who will be the first to wear it? The girls go their separate ways. They were not close friends, but one thing holds their stories together—the beloved wedding dress. Five Brides follows each of their love stories until the moment they walk down the aisle.
It is an enchanting, fun novel that will urge readers to contemplate their faith as they cheer on each of the five women on their journeys.
This story originally ran in our June issue of FamilyFiction. Click HERE to read the entire issue for FREE!