After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.
Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.
Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Waterfall Press
RELEASE DATE: June 27, 2017
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“You have been the last dream of my soul.”
I will tell you right now that this is not an easy read but oh it’s so worth it.
Laila and Chad’s story is powerful, raw, and gripping. I cried (more than once) for each of them individually and for their relationship. There is such a gutwrenching mix of emotion on these pages – agony, confusion, desperation, grief, anger, betrayal, elation, hope, love, and yes plenty of sparks a’flying chemistry.
These emotions run so high and so passionately throughout the story that the romantic tension is also fully charged. In one scene, in the middle of a rather heated discussion, Chad states “Well, then I guess I have nothing to lose”, backs Laila against the wall and kisses her quite soundly. (I may have read that scene more than once. Ahem.) They love each other so deeply – and have for years – that despite the way they’ve hurt each other they also can’t quite walk away. And swoonlicious ‘we-used-to-be-married’ kisses come with a turn-the-heat-up ‘I-know-your-lips-well’ disclaimer, so reading them requires fans, fainting couches, and freezers. (Just making sure you have all the necessary supplies handy when you start this reading experience … because … whew. Goodness. Those are some yummy kisses. Just sayin’)
Romance and intense emotions notwithstanding, there is a thread of redemption that shines even brighter as two lost souls find their home. In each other. In life. And in grace.
The voice of faith in My Unexpected Hope comes from Katie, a character we first meet in My Hope Next Door. She and Laila and Chad and Cooper (whose story I hope we get next) were the best of friends despite (perhaps because of) their dysfunctional families – until addiction tore their friendship apart too. Yet she’s returned to their hometown and found sobriety as well as restoration, and in his most desperate moments Chad turns to her for strength. Her words to him are so profound and are still ruminating in my soul:
“You can try and fight, and maybe even sometimes succeed, but without faith, you cannot call it freedom. It’s simply bondage on hold…If you want freedom, true freedom, surrender is the way to truly find it. You have to give up control. You have to let go.”
Bottom Line: My Unexpected Hope is beautiful, emotional, poignant, heart-wrenching, and realistically hope-full. For anyone who has loved someone that struggles with addiction, this book is also healing. Gray gets soul-deep with her characters and their inner battles and the end result is a book that is impossible to put down.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / Love it!
KissingBook Level: 5 / Just go ahead and start out in the freezer to read this one!
Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.
Tammy is often lauded for her unique writing style within the inspirational genre, preferring to use analogies verses heavy-handed spiritual content. Her characters are real, relatable and deep, earning her a 2017 RITA award nomination in the Romance with Religious and Spiritual Elements category.
When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.
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