Book Review: Where Hope Begins

28 May

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

 

Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Her most recent novel, The Memory of You, released March 2017 and Where Hope Begins releases in May 2018. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com.

 

My Impressions:

As it always seems to happen with books that blow me away, I have difficulty expressing how deeply they move me. Where Hope Begins is another excellent novel by Catherine West. Her previous novels touched my heart, but Where Hope Begins grabbed me where I’ve been and where I am certain to go in the future. The book is about loss — loss of a child, loss of a marriage, loss of dreams — and the hope of a second chance extended by those we love and the God that loves above all others. This one was a difficult read emotionally (make sure tissues are close at hand), but so worth it. Highly Recommended.

Savannah Barrington thought her life was okay. Not great because of the difficulties of the past and the uncertainties that face anyone’s future, but okay nonetheless. But that changes when her husband of 20+ years decides to leave. Devastated, she escapes to her family’s lake house in the Berkshires to right herself. Her journey is hard and painful, but God is faithful to bring beauty again where none exists.

I need to first mention the writing style of Where Hope Begins. The book is told in the first person voice of Savannah, her recollections of the past, and the third person point of view of other characters. It is a complex framework, but works so well to tell Savannah’s story and to show her impact, intended and unintended, on events in others’ lives. Without the additional 3rd person POV, the reader would never have the whole truth of the situations past and present. Characterization is strong. I identified with Savannah, fell in love with Maysie and Clarice, cried for Zoe and Adam, and Brock and Kevin, well, I’ll let you decide which one is the best man. As stated above, one predominant theme is loss. You don’t have to have experienced what Savannah has to know how she feels. Unfortunately loss is common to all in varying degrees. West knows how to make it real. But second chances are what this novel is all about. Our God is the Master at offering second (sometimes third . . .) chances, and Where Hope Begins shows it in fresh and sometimes startling ways. My favorite quote from the book appears towards the end. The characters have to learn to push aside what the world would deem impossible and hold out for the miracle. 

I loved Where Hope Begins — an emotionally packed reading experience you won’t soon forget.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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  1. Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2018, Part 2 | By The Book - July 10, 2018

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