Sabrina Rice, an industrious college student majoring in advertising, once dreamed of being an Olympic runner then becoming a missionary like her hero Eric Liddell. Unfortunately, her plans were sidelined and she went from marathon star to has-been. The transition was so painful she switched colleges and didn't want to have anything to do with running anymore. That is, until a troubled teen needed a mentor to keep her out of juvie.
Both Brandy Philip and Sabrina live with their grandmothers, who happen to be good friends. Sabrina realizes Brandy is super-fast and reluctantly agrees to help her trainâ€”at 5 a.m. several mornings a week. Both young women must deal with pain and loss and must learn to trust each other. But will Brandy be able to turn her life around and believe in her potential?
To add further challenges to Sabrina's life: Koen Connor, a fellow student, is drawn to her. She seems unsure about becoming involved with the good-looking, popular guy and hides her weaknesses, erecting a wall he continues to chip away. And a former rival continues to complicate Sabrina's life now that she's involved in the running world again.
Much in these girls' lives screams "unfair," but that's the path they're directed to follow. I rooted for both main characters and was completely drawn into their stories. Unlike most novels, this book didn't bog down along the way but kept me engaged, and I didn't want it to end. I highly recommend Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman.
This was the first novel I've read by Kathryn Cushman, and as usual when trying a new-to-me author for the first time, I was skeptical. The subject sounded interesting, but I wondered if the story would be. It was. I enjoyed it very much, and I'll tell you why.
The voice Kathryn used drew me in with its lively feel. Sabrina was interesting, her past cleverly kept secret from the reader as well as the characters trying to uncover just what haunted her. Brandy ended up being one of my favorite characters, though I must admit I wanted to smack her many times. I so enjoyed the grandmothers, and of course Koen was dreamy! All of them felt real to me, as though I could look out my window at 5AM and find Brandy running by while Sabrina looked on. And speaking of running, as a backdrop it was interesting, and as a theme it really was deep, the message encouraging. I felt like cheering when I read the last race, and I loved the epilogue!
I enjoyed the flow of the story, and the characters were real, each with his or her own unique dialogue style and personality. The writing/editing was very good overall. One thing really nagged at my inner editor, and I am pleased to say that it was the only thing that did: the use of "further" instead of "farther" when referring to physical distance. It's a common enough mistake, but I must admit that it did irk me very much with its recurrence throughout the book. Like I said, though, it was the only thing I picked up on.
All of that to say that I will definitely be reading more by Kathryn Cushman, and I will be recommending this novel to my family and friends!
+My copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
This book is truly incredible in its ability to captivate you and keep your attention from the very first page to the last! The theme, itself, the power of struggle, the struggle of pain, and how God deals with each situation in His unique way, is dealt with in such a unique way. I simply could not walk away from this story. When I had to deal with reality and my everyday tasks, the characters and problems were still alive in my mind. They just would not be quiet!! I could hear them talking as I went about my daily jobs , until I got to sit down and quietly emerge myself once again in this tale that leads to the most unexpected events and places.
A talented runner who is determined to make the Olympics, Sabrina Rice, has her world and dreams shattered by a devastating diagnosis. She forfeits her scholarship, out of necessity, and years later, she is emerged in her new life and ideas for her future- NOTHING to do with running. Sabrina has tried very hard to deal with the past and move on, however a new neighbour shatters her change of life.
Until Sabrina meets Brandy and sees her running across the campus, outpacing security, she has managed to avoid all thoughts of training and running. However, she recognizes a true ability and talent in this young lady. It is so painful to realize that this troubled teen has a chance to do everything that she had once dreamed of. Events occur to bring these two ladies together in a very different way. Following God's plan is often an extremely difficult task. Does Sabrina have the faith and will power to do it??? Can this troubled young girl find acceptance and see that she has a future??
There are actually two subplots in this story that are carefully intertwined to become one. Kathryn has the ability to keep you reading far into the night, wondering what would happen next. It is a compelling tale that could apply to all of us, in our walk with the Lord. Do we always listen? Are we cooperative or do we fight His will? This author has certainly made me think while reading this well developed novel.
The characters are down to earth, realistic, with everyday problems. Each has a unique personality with dreams and hopes that have been dashed, and they now have to make a choice. We deal with the same choice in our lives. I fell in love with the two main characters as they clashed on opinions and feelings and had to dig their way out of very big holes!! I could picture them in every scene. "Chasing Hope" is a testimony of the power of God's plans for us .
This book really made a powerful impact on me. I'm grappling to put what I feel into words. Cushman has woven the tattered threads of two young women's stories into a beautiful tapestry of hope. She brings their life experiences full circle and the epilogue gave me goosebumps.
Chasing Hope is an artfully crafted testimony of the power in God's plans for us. It's gritty and real with both heroines a complex mix of strengths and weaknesses. I was really struck by Sabrina's battle to find God's purpose in her life. Like so many of us, she has difficulty understanding God's timing and that leaves her nearly missing out on a divine path. That struggle really struck home with me. There's lots of fodder for a book club discussion within the pages of this book. Chasing Hope is a stunning witness to God's far reaching power. Definitely a book not to be missed.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
Broken dreams. Heart ache. Does God see me and care about the things that bring me devastation? What does it mean when it says "All things work together for good"? I would venture to guess that all of us have at some time had our fondest dreams broken. And as such, we will be able to identify with Sabrina as she tries to overcome that desolate feeling, and maybe even with her as she questions whether God is there. As I read this in its entirety, I was able to look back at my own dark times and see that yes, God was there and is there. The things that have happened to me, are part of me, and have made me what I am. And if I look closely, I will even see that without those things, without the experiences I would be a lesser person, less able to help someone else in their need.
Kathryn is a great author, bringing us multi-level characters that are human, not perfect, and sometimes not even altogether likeable until we get to know them. I am far from being athletic, but reading about it made me feel as if I too can run a marathon.
"Book has been provided courtesy ofÂ Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.Â
Available at your favourite booksellerÂ from Bethany House, a division of BakerÂ Publishing Group".Â