My Unexpected Hope – Tammy L. Gray – Waterfall Press – Published 23 June 2017
After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.
Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.
Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?
My Unexpected Hope is a realistic and enjoyable Christian contemporary novel. Strong characters and tough life situations combine in this story of love, broken marriages, second chances, addiction and recovery, and faith.
Laila is trying to put her life together and move on from her past. She is planing to move and has a new and wonderful boyfriend – embracing anything that puts her far from the small town of Fairfield where she has lived all her life and the hurt of her broken marriage. Chad Richardson knew that this was his last chance to get sober and stay sober. When he learns that Laila is starting to move on he knows it is time to return home and try to save his marriage. But his return home does not go as smoothly as he plans and he will have to give everything he has to start over and convince Laila he is a new man.
My Unexpected Hope is the companion novel to My Hope Next Door. They have crossover storylines but can both be read as standalone novels. I really enjoyed My Hope Next Door, and My Unexpected Hope brings the same mix of relateable, realistic, and flawed characters who are desperate to overcome their mistakes and create a new life for themselves.
I found Laila to be a wonderful character. She is so strong. She has always supported the people she loves, gave Chad so many chances but knew that he needed an ultimatum if he was ever going to get serious about getting sober. Now she is trying to create a new life away from the hurtful memories of the destruction of her marriage and the neglect of her childhood. She also has a new-found faith that is helping her to navigate her new choices and her desire to be stronger about looking after herself as well as those she loves. At times I didn’t like Chad all that much. There is no denying his connection with Laila, a bond, history, and chemistry that runs deep, but he tends to be manipulative, even as he struggles to change, to be a new man. But isn’t that so realistic of life and human nature? No one is perfect. Laila doesn’t want perfection from Chad, she just wants honesty.
This book doesn’t pull its punches about the very real nature of addiction and recovery. It addresses the issues of faith and forgiveness in the midst of very real, very hard challenges. It also celebrates new chances, starting over, and the intimacy of marriage.
I enjoyed reading My Unexpected Hope and recommend it for readers who enjoy contemporary novels about romance, marriage, deep personal challenges, and faith.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Addiction, marriage, divorce, drugs, alcoholism, romance, sobriety, friendship.
Published: 23 June 2017 by Waterfall Press.
Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 332 pages.