Book Review: Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

July 1, 2017 Christian, contemporary, Janell Butler Wojtowicz, romance 9

about the book

Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring.

He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss.

Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

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GENRE: Inspirational Christian Fiction
PUBLISHER: Discern Products
RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2016
PAGES: 321

“…God knows the outcome, even if it makes no sense to us at the time.”

Embracing Hope is a sweet romance which looks at loss, grief, faith, and of course hope. The “Christian college bubble” is spot on, as is the reality that life – hard life – happens in spite of the bubble.  Along with the different stages of grief, this novel addresses tough topics such as alcoholism, abuse, assault, and suicidal thoughts as well as a plethora of ‘smaller’ stuff like burnout (from trying to do everything because you no longer believe God will), body image/insecurity and finding (and doing) what you were created to do.

Drew and Allison are likable characters whose initial attraction progresses naturally into a deeper relationship. I appreciated that they each had their own moment to be the strong one. Both used their respective strengths – or what they had recently learned for themselves – to offer hope and advice to each other when most needed. A great picture of how community should be lived out in relationship.

Bottom Line: Embracing Hope is one of those rare books that doesn’t shy away from an honest look at the reality of life for a Christian – the lows, the highs, and the ever-patient grace of God. The story told here is real and authentic, but at the same time it never loses its gentleness. Drew is angry at God, Chris is out of control, and Allison is caught in the middle. Yet, underlying all of it is the tender embrace of God. This is a debut novel, so some of the development isn’t perfect but overall it flows well and is a great weekend read! Looking forward to more from this author!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Honest and grace-filled

KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion

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about the author

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including journalism, Christian higher education public relations, and local government public information. She is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Janell and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. She has two step-sons and three step-granddaughters.

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What about you? What is a verse or song that reminds you to embrace hope?


9 Responses to “Book Review: Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz”

  1. Jackie McNutt

    I always listen to Casting Crowns and will replay” Who Am I”
    because it is such an inspiring song when I feel less than hopeful.
    Thank You for review, the book looks like one I need to read soon.

  2. Janet Estridge

    Seven years ago my husband broke his neck. The song that I clung to was, “on Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”. I’m not sure of the title. It was a very long year but with God’s help we made it through.

    • Janell Wojtowicz

      God is always there even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. But when you look back you see God’s hand in it.

  3. Paula S.

    I always appropriate the verses Romans 8:38&39. Nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ our Lord! Blessings.

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