Thursday, March 17, 2016

2016 Must-Read: Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Room for Hope is the kind of book that I love to read, review and recommend.  It’s a beautifully-written story about finding hope in the middle of heartache, and redemption and forgiveness in the face of anger. While I love to read a good Christian romance, sometimes I like something a little different.  Room for Hope is one of those books that really gives you pause and makes you think about things a different way.  What if you were faced with repercussions from someone else’s sin?  Could you find the power to move on and forgive the person who never even asked for your forgiveness?  That’s the situation that faces Neva Shilling in this book.

Neva and her two children, twins Bud and Belle, live in Buffalo Creek, Kansas, during the Great Depression.  They run a general store there while her husband, Warren, travels around selling goods from his wagon.  He returns home to them about once a month to restock the store and spend time with his family.  One night while awaiting his return, the family hears a wagon pull up outside.  They rush out, thinking Warren is home, only to find a sheriff’s deputy hauling a wagonload of furniture and three strange children.  Deputy Jesse Caudel informs Neva that her “brother,” Warren Shilling, and his wife have passed away and asked that their children, Charley, Cassie and Adeline, be sent to “Aunt Neva” to care for them.  Neva is shocked, and shattered.  Since Neva herself grew up in an orphanage, she’s determined not to send the children to the same fate.  But keeping them turns out to be harder than she ever imagined.  Bud is resentful of his new siblings, and Neva cannot find any affection for them.  When the whole town turns against them, Neva fears losing her livelihood in Buffalo Creek, and must decide whether it’s time to move away.  But one man wants to convince her to stay.  Can Neva, Bud and Charley find forgiveness and learn to trust again?  Is there room for hope in the midst of their despair?

Room for Hope is one of my favorite reads so far this year.  Kim Vogel Sawyer writes wonderfully unexpected, yet believable characters.  I love how she used unusual situations to point out grace and forgiveness.  Warren Shilling created a terrible mess in his lifetime, that others were forced to deal with after his death.  But instead of allowing bitterness to fester in her spirit, Neva chose to let go of the past, and move forward.  Through her kindness and generosity, others in Buffalo Creek experienced heart changes as well.  She demonstrates that forgiveness is a choice, and choosing it can change everything.  I hope to see more of these characters in future books.

Why it’s a must-read:

This book conveys such a wonderful message.  Sometimes things happen to us in life that we are not responsible for, but we still must suffer the consequences.  How we choose to deal with these situations, and how we let them affect us makes all the difference.  I doubt many of us will face the issue of a husband with a secret, second family, but we will inevitably encounter difficulties that we would not choose for ourselves.  Room for Hope is a great reminder that God is there with us and for us, to provide the strength to find forgiveness, love and even, hope for the future.

Happy Reading!


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.    

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