Friday I was lucky enough to have Cathy West stop by and answer some questions about her life. If you missed that, check it out here. Today I’m happy to share my perspective on her latest book, Where Hope Begins. This book? Well, it is wonderful. It is amazing. It is a book that actually had me in turmoil over the characters, because I wasn’t sure which way I really wanted Savannah to go. Team Brock or Team Kevin? To be honest, that doesn’t typically happen with me and Christian fiction. I always choose the husband, because I know that’s what God would choose. But this book made me second guess at that, and you know what? It reminded me that this happens in real life people. More frequently then we’d like to admit. I know this is a fiction story, but I have to be honest about something. I think couples should read it. Together. Before they get married, after they get married, when their marriage is struggling, and even when things are going smooth. My husband and I could have used this book years ago. I’m sure other couples could have too. Oh, this is a book that will be sitting on my bookshelf, but not collecting dust. I imagine I’ll probably read it once or twice a year. Yes, it is that good.
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
Wow. Amazing. Real. Raw. Genuine. Heart-wrenching. Breathtaking. All these words do not even begin to sum up how I feel about this book. Catherine West is not at all scared to bring real life topics into her Christian Fiction, and quite frankly I am glad about that. Infidelity, suicide, drinking excessively, a marriage torn apart. You don’t see those in most of the Christian Fiction novels you read, but why is that? Is it because we try to sweep the real world under the rug and concentrate on characters who are “prefect Christians”? Don’t get me wrong, I love those books too. But these characters seem real. I feel like I am on their level. I can connect with them in ways I cannot connect with a perfect character. To see a flawed character go through such a trial as what Savannah went through is a test of your own faith at times. Grab your tissues folks because it’s going to be a long ride.
How to forgive the unforgivable? Is there anything unforgivable in a marriage? This books shows the fleshly answer, and the spiritual answer. But just as Savannah struggled with this herself, we struggle with that answer here in the real world. And if you dig a little deeper, you see so many underlying themes in this book. You see the reaping of sin. You see how it spirals, and affects so many around you. You see the repercussions of not leaning on the Lord, or your spouse. You see how easily families can be torn apart. But you also see the power of healing. You see growth, wisdom, and learning from mistakes. Yes, there is heartache. Yes there are times that you are torn as a reader, because you find that you really like Brock. Or maybe that’s just me?! But as you keep reading you will find that Catherine West paints a beautiful picture of redemption, forgiveness, and healing. One that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Set aside plenty of time to read this my friends. And don’t read too fast, because you are almost certain to miss something. And just wait until you meet sweet Maysie. Her bubbly personality is enough to put a smile on the saddest face. She lights up a scene just by simply being in it. As does Clarice. I found myself drawn to her character and her uncanny wisdom about all the things happening int he story. I kind of wish I had a Clarice in my life! I bet she would be such a support and help!
The bottom line is that you need this book in your life. Seriously. Buy a copy, borrow it, get it from the library, whatever it takes. I encourage you to share it with others. Read it as part of a book club discussion. That would be fantastic! Just be sure to read it. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
MY FAVORITE QUOTES
Brock Chandler is all straight white teeth and sparkling eyes and smiles like a movie star. And his voice sounds like Matthew McConaughey’s. Suddenly I can’t find mine.
It is indeed a library. An absolutely amazing room, and one I immediately long to get lost in. It’s like something you’d see on Pinterest or in the movies. And I suddenly feel like Bell from Beauty and the Beast.
There is something inherently attractive about a man who quotes Jane Austen.
But you know, the faith I hold on to, the God I still believe in, who I believe somehow still loves me, he’s all about forgiveness, not judgment. And I believe those who follow him are asked to extend grace and mercy. Even toward someone as vile as me.
I think you’ll know exactly what you want when you least expect it. And when you do, you’ll know you made the right decision.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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
Connect with Cathy:
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