Where Hope Begins

Where Hope BeginsWhere Hope Begins by Catherine West
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 22nd 2018
Pages: 368
ISBN: 0785217436
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“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” – Robert Frost

At the beginning of this book Savannah Barrington is reeling. Her husband of twenty-one years has left her for another woman. Learning of his affair and betrayal has turned her world upside down. Savannah decides she needs a change of scenery. She has a daughter in college and a son away at boarding school. There are too many memories tied up in the house she shared with her husband, so she decides to seek solace in her parent’s lake house in the Berkshires. There she meets her neighbors and begins to live her life again. She has weekly tea with Clarice, the woman from next door while befriending the woman’s nephew Brock and his daughter, Maysie. Savannah is attempting to make peace with the fact that her marriage is over, her husband has moved on and she learns it is time for he to do the same. Her entire family has suffered a HUGE loss in their life and things have been strained for a long time. As Savannah attempts to close one door of her life she gains insight, and learns there is always hope, there is room for forgiveness and that starting over is not always a bad thing. While working in the greenhouse and getting to know her neighbors, Savannah learns that life does go on, beauty can spring forth from something bad, and that she is worthy of loving and being loved.

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” -Virginia Woolf

This book deals with a lot of heavy issues: loss of a child, adultery, suicide, trust, forgiveness, hope, family, mental health, guilt, betrayal, health issues and faith. The characters are coping with a lot of issues in this book and I appreciated how real their thoughts and actions felt. I thought the Author handled all the issues respectfully. She showed how loss can affect all members of a family, how the breakdown in communication can affect everyone, and how guilt can be all encompassing. The Author showed the family’s faith in their religion. For those that are not religious, do not let this hold you back. This book is not “preachy” but does a beautiful job of showing how the characters had faith, questioned their faith and relied upon their faith in good times and bad.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” -Luke 6:37

The book will cause most to wonder “what would I do in that situation?” and “could I forgive? “The characters in this book are pondering the same questions with a few more thrown in as well. The characters in this book go through many emotions and I felt as if I was along with them as they coped with all the things life threw at them in this book. The characters are like-able and their reactions all felt believable and real. There are five stages of grief and we see the characters go through various stages as they cope and go on with their lives.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just how up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” Anne Lamott

This well-written book begins with heartbreak and ends with hope. I really enjoyed not only the story but the message of this book. It was a quiet page turner that had me guessing as to what Savannah would decide to do. This one will pull at the heartstrings and have you feeling the emotions of the characters and I felt for their situation, their loss and their path moving forward.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson-Fiction and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.