Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"My Hope Is Found" Review

Previously in this series, Gideon O’Riley was able to find love with Lonnie only to be ripped away when a woman from his past, Cassie, declares herself to be his true wife. After several months together, Cassie realizes that she will never have Gideon’s heart and releases him to return home to Lonnie.

But several things still stand in the way of a happily-ever-after for Lonnie and Gideon, including a new man in Lonnie’s life. Toby McKee, a new preacher in Fancy Gap, has spent the last several months helping out at the Bennett farm where Lonnie lives. He and Lonnie become fast friends, and when he proposes marriage, Lonnie sees it as a path to a wonderful new future for her and for her son, Jacob.

When Gideon finally arrives back at the Bennett farm, he finds Lonnie promised to Toby. Will Lonnie choose to go back to Gideon, or will she decide to move down a different path with Toby? Whatever Lonnie decides, will Gideon be able to place his hope and his future in the hands of a loving God?

In the previous novels in this Cadence of Grace series, I was able to enjoy the setting and descriptive nature of the writing even if the story was a bit frustrating at times. This was again the case with the final novel in the series, My Hope Is Found.

The imagery in this novel is stunning. The writing is very descriptive and paints a very good picture of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I was reading, I felt as if I was right there in the setting of the story. While the format and style of the writing was very descriptive, it was overly stylized for my taste. Sentence fragments. And capitalized conjunctions. These were very, very common and sometimes were more than my “grammar police” brain could take. I don’t mind this from time to time in novels – I do it myself in reviews – but it happened so often that for me it was distracting and kept me from feeling the complete thoughts of the characters.

The story in this novel is told from the points of view of Lonnie, Gideon, and Toby. This gave it a bit more depth, especially since it made it harder to figure out who Lonnie would choose in the end. Normally I can tell as soon as I start reading who the main female character will end up marrying. In this one, I actually wasn’t 100% sure at times, and this is a credit to the writing and character development of the novel.

I thought that the best part of this series was the secondary characters, especially the Bennetts and the Jemsons. I loved how they were so sweet and so willing to help others. Their compassion was a testament to their faith, and it was very encouraging.

Gideon’s spiritual transformation was also a good part of the series. Over the course of the three novels there was much growth in Gideon’s life, and it was obvious that the changes that occurred were things that only God could do.

Although I appreciated Gideon’s growth and the wonderful descriptions of the setting of this novel, the overall plot was still sometimes frustrating for me. Lonnie did not come through as a strong character in this novel. She was extremely wishy-washy, and a lot of the times her feelings and actions were based on rumors and assumptions instead of taking time to find out the facts. Lonnie developed a romantic relationship with Toby in just a few months, and then she couldn’t decide which man she wanted to marry. She said she loved them both. Can you romantically love two people at once? I know I could never do that – not a true love anyway. Maybe I am just being too practical, or maybe it’s because I have never had two men in love with me at the same time, but I just couldn’t relate. Since the moment I fell in love with my husband, I have never loved another, and time apart or other difficult circumstances would not change that.

I will admit that Gideon did need to make a decision for Christ before he could truly be a husband to Lonnie, so maybe that had something to do with it, even though I don’t remember her thinking of it in quite that way. Having Lonnie admit that she was in love with both men at the same time was just too much for me.

I rarely have such a disconnect with an author, and it bothered me throughout this entire series. I really wanted to like it more than I did.

I will give My Hope Is Found ... 2 BookWorms.

My Hope Is Found
by Joanne Bischof
Cadence of Grace #3
WaterBrook Press
Publication date: October 15, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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