For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.
St. Amant's (All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes) inspirational message, that "brokenness is a method" in God's plan, comes through in this story of two people stepping past their fears of loss to revisit and reconcile errors of the past. In high school, Chase Taylor broke two hearts in the Varland family by flirting with Stella while still dating her sister, Kat. Then he left them both. Now Kat is happily married, while Stella is divorced. Stella struggles to let go of her history as a pageant queen, working as an interior designer while nurturing a secret life as an artist. Chase, having promised himself to live a life of no regrets after his fianc e's death in a car accident, returns to Bayou Bend, La., to restore a landmark theater, surprisingly teaming up with Stella years after their falling-out. They eventually work through the old hurt and awkwardness to talk about the feelings they still have for one another. The details of the design and construction work are unrealistic, and the emotional flow between characters is unsubtle and choppy, but both lovers are likable and warm.