Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer ~ Book Review

Neva Shilling has the ideal life.  A wonderful husband who works hard and provides for his family, 2 children, a lovely home and a thriving business.  The only thing that is hard is that her husband is away for month long stretches at a time as he buys and sells for their mercantile, but he always comes home with something wonderful for them; new clothes, furniture, fancy appliances.  Yes, they have it pretty good for the standards of the time.  And today there is joy in the household because today is the day he comes home.  As they await his arrival, a wagon drives up with the news that Warren has died.  As Neva tries to digest this piece of news, there is more that brings her whole world crashing down around her as she realizes her whole marriage is built upon lies.  The sheriff is not just delivering the bad news of Warren's death,  but there are 3 children and household goods in the wagon.   Children and goods that apparently belonged to Warren and his wife and now are being delivered to "Aunt Neva" at Warren's last request.    As Neva deals with the realization that Warren was leading a double life, she fights feelings of devastation, betrayal, anger and guilt that is was her fault.  But she can't wallow in those feelings because she needs to care for her own children, and now must decide whether to take on Warren's other children or send them to an orphanage.

I really enjoyed how this story unfolded.  It had my attention from the first pages and held it until the end.  Neva is portrayed as a Christian woman who's world and faith are totally rocked.  She wasn't perfect but I loved how the author had her walk out her faith throughout the story.  There are many lessons to be learned from the portrayal of this character.  And there are many to be gained from the characters of the town and church people as they found out the circumstances of Warren's death and who the children really were.  A very honest exploration of hypocrisy.   The setting is early 1930's, I believe, or possible late 1920's.  Can't quite remember but the the prejudices of the day and heart attitudes are really brought to light in this story.   I really cheered for the main character as I tried to put myself into her shoes and receiving the kind of news she did.  To become bitter, angry and hard would have been totally viewed as acceptable.  I also really loved the exploration of determining what is the right thing, following up on that decision and living with the consequences of that decision.  Character development was excellent and there was growth in several of the characters by the end of the story.  A very good read from start to finish.

10/10 for me.


Barbara H. said...

I've enjoyed other books by this author, and when I see her name, I think, "I should look up more of her books!" This scenario would be a very hard one to deal with.

Patti said...

This sounds fantastic. I am definitely adding it to my to-read list.

Faith said...

This is going on my "want to read" list!! thanks for the great review!

Gattina said...
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