GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: May 22, 2018
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 that she can’t run away from. Forgiving the unforgiveable. 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.
“Sometimes we are allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness…”
I’ve been trying to put words to ‘paper’ since I finished this book yesterday, and I’m still not sure I can adequately express all the emotions I experienced as I read it. Definitely keep a box or ten of tissues handy for this novel!!
First, let me say that I love love love the writing voice decisions that Catherine West made in Where Hope Begins. Savannah’s first person narrative is spot-on for her character and her situation, but I also enjoyed getting a 3rd person narrative perspective from several of the other characters as the story progressed. Especially Brock.
Which leads us to the shameless swooning portion of this review.
Brock is YUM. There’s just not another word for him. That Matthew McConaughey drawl. His easy use of the word ‘darlin’. His sense of humor. The way he is with his daughter. The depth of his feelings for Savannah. Well, ok, maybe i can come up with a few more. Droolworthy. Fan-necessitating. Knee-weakening. Swoonilicious. And a bunch of other descriptors I can’t use for fear of spoilers.
But despite my slight crush on Brock, this isn’t really his story. Sure, he plays an important role. Sure, he had me all twitterpated one minute and ugly crying into my pillow the next. But Where Hope Begins is more Savannah’s story than anyone’s. Thanks to her first person narration, we get inside her head and heart. We feel her pain, her insecurity, her grief, her anger, her loneliness, her fight to keep going as her world shatters. Again. And it’s here that Catherine West especially excels. She takes Savannah to the deepest pit and meets her there with HOPE already waiting. She wounds her heart (and ours in the process) but she’s right there to shower all of us with GRACE and HEALING.
Bottom Line: I have loved every book that I’ve ever read by this author, but I can safely say that Where Hope Begins is her best one so far! This is a story of the spiraling effect of sin, of the spiraling effect of forgiveness, and of the kind of hope that hangs in there when everything else is falling apart. Yet, while the ugly-cry quotient is certainly high, so are the moments where you can’t help smiling or even chuckling or… as we’ve already established … swooning 😉 The characters are authentic and at times raw – much like the story – and in each of them you might see a little of yourself. West courageously strips away the pretense that could easily infiltrate this kind of story, and she leaves us instead with a smart, honest, and incredibly touching story of restoration in the midst of the most shattered brokenness and hope in the midst of the darkest night. A must read!
(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: 5 stars / Amazing!
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 novels, The Memory of You, released March 2017 and Where Hope Begins released in May 2018. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com
Other Books by Catherine West
What about you? If you’ve read this book, how many packs of tissues did YOU go through? 😉