Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Love Never Gives Up

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is a powerful contemporary Christian novel that will take the reader on a roller coaster emotional ride.

Catherine West always writes stories that tug at your heart and this is no exception. Where Hope Begins is a gritty realistic read. It is painful. It is beautiful. It is a tale that refuses to leave the reader untouched.

This novel is about raw grief. Grief associated with loss – loss of life, of hope, of dreams, of a future. Life ended ten years earlier. The subsequent years have been existing but not living. Loss affects everyone. We all cope differently. Some are “trapped by my [their] own grief.”

In our grief we may lose sight of God. We pull away from Him. “Too many questions God hasn’t answered. Too many prayers He’s simply ignored.” God has not gone silent on us, we have simply stopped hearing. He does answer prayer but we do not always like His answers or His timing.

When life is hard, we may withdraw. Family members lock themselves away in their grief. The family fractures. “Now I’m just broken.” Who can mend us? Only God can. “God doesn’t give up… People do.” He waits for us. God sends people to help us. He never leaves us. “Hope begins in the dark.”

The novel deals with faith. When we have little faith, what do we do? “And when our faith seems to fail?… You pray for more.” This reminds the reader of the Biblical words, “I do believe. Help my unbelief.”

The Christian walk is not always easy. The novel has the disturbing topics of divorce, suicide attempts, loss of a child and cancer, but it is not a gloomy read. “Sometimes we are allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness.” Catherine West has presented the reader with a study of a life that hurts, that is confusing, that is emotional. “So tired of crying. So tired of this hatred. Tired of this anger.” What can we do? Where can we go? Only God can heal this pain.

The characters are wonderfully drawn. There are some humorous verbal volleys amid the pain. Written in both the third and first person, the reader ‘experiences’ life from different points of view.

I just could not put Where Hope Begins down. My emotions rose and fell. I laughed and I cried. I gasped out loud at some truly beautiful moments. In the midst of death, there is life. In the midst of pain, there is beauty. In the midst of despair there is hope. The one sure constant in life is God. Cling on to Him.

A powerful, heart wrenching, beautiful read.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson on Net Galley. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.




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