This Book was supplied to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers through NetGalley for a review in return.
Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life-a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there's not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.
Janelle hasn't gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn't long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened.
This book is the first book of Kim Cash Tate's that I have read and I guarantee you, it will not be the last one either. She has a way of intertwining everyone into her story, you feel like you are there.
I love how Kim just draws you into her stories and this one is GREAT. I felt very close to Grandma Geri because she reminded me of what my grandma would have been like if she had lived long enough. I was only 7 when she passed away.
This story intertwines Janelle, Stephanie and Libby and I love how Kim just brings them so close together and how Jesus changes their lives. At first, I felt sorry for Janelle since she lost her husband and has to raise her kids. But, as the story goes on, you can see Jesus working in her heart. I thoroughly love that.
I grew really close to all of them, but I think I loved Grandma Geri the best. She was struggling through some pretty deep issues and I won't tell you what they are because that would spoil it for you. She gets cancer and what she endures is amazing but she never left the Lord, if anything she grew closer.
Thank you Thomas Nelson Publishers for giving me a chance to read and review this WONDERFUL book. Thank you, Kim Cash Tate for giving us all a good book to read and learn how Jesus moves. I just have to say this one thing, "Jesus does not move, we do". Just a thought.
I would suggest this book most definitely to my friends and family.
Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate tells the story of 3 cousins in the Saunders family who travel to their grandmother's home to spend Christmas together but end up staying longer and learning about themselves and solving some of their problems. Janelle Evans' husband died a few years earlier, and she finds it hard to go back to the pace they spent so much time together. Stephanie London lives in St. Louis with her husband and is nominated by her father as the one to represent the family at this holiday. Libby seems to be searching for something in her life, and she is unable to commit to a relationship. When these cousins reunite and learn their Grandmother Geri is sick, they decide to move in with her to help take care of the home and take her to doctor appointments.
This book looked at more than just family secrets. It also looked at the racial divide that still may exist in some areas. I liked the overall idea of the book and the focus on the importance of family. I also liked how each of these characters were so different from one another. Even though they were cousins, and were raised in similar families, they ended up completely different from one another.
I liked this book, but I felt like I was very confused with all of the characters. There were cousins, aunts and uncles, neighbors, random family friends, and grandchildren. I was unable to remember all of the characters connections to one another until I was basically finished the book. I think some of the characters could have been removed and the book would still have relayed the same meaning.
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I enjoyed this third book in the series, though not as much as the first two books. My favorite novel of the author's is still the first story, Faithful, though I should say I did get a bit choked up a few times reading Hope Springs, so the author did a good job helping me to identify with several situations. There were some couples that I preferred reading about more than others. My only issue is that some of the story seemed to drag for me, while other parts were very interesting. I think the parts that dragged had to do with the fact that there were so many characters that I didn't care about some of them all that much. While there was conflict in this novel, some of it seemed almost too perfect in it's resolution. While on the one hand I do like the healing themes in this author's books, on the other hand, it doesn't feel as real to me when everything ends up tidy by the last page. Granted, some people had endings that were less than ideal (don't want to post a spoiler here) but they were inevitable conclusions, and in fact, that part of the book seemed to zip right on by...almost too fast for me.
Though I point out some things that didn't work for me, overall I liked this book. It was more spiritually focused in tone and dialog (and some readers might even see it as preachy) than her other two books. There were some good themes in this story such as the one questioning who you are doing ministry for...yourself, or others? What's your real motivation? I liked the conflict with Janelle and Kory. That part of the story worked for me. I loved it. I was not as fond of Becca. Her husband seemed like a good guy, though. I also loved the character Libby who had a history with Travis. I guess I like reading more about the broken-hearted women who see themselves as damaged in some way. Even Janelle felt guilty about having feelings for anyone after her husband died.
While grandma Geri was core to the story, I never grew that attached to her. I did like the underlying secret of Keisha's existance coming out toward the end, and also the theme about bringing the two churches together to blend them more and make them less segregated. So I did enjoy this book, but found myself skimming in some places because the conflict wasn't sufficient hold my attention. I don't like when I find myself skimming, and that's why I didn't rate it as high as her other novels. Overall she is a good author, though. Like I said earlier, I loved the first two books in this series.
Hope Springs is an engaging novel that draws you deeply into the lives of the characters portrayed in its pages, while packing a powerful message of unity, of reconciliation, of God having plans for our lives greater than we could even hope for or imagine. At first, I found that there were a lot of characters to keep track of, and so until I had them sorted out in my mind I didn't feel as connected to the story. But soon I was swept up into the hopes and dreams of all the different family members, smiling at the antics of the children, feeling all emotional at the pain people had experienced, and cheering them on as they rediscovered the joy in their relationships and in their walks with God. I absolutely loved the element of the "white" church coming together with the "black" church, of dividing walls coming down, and I found the most poignancy in the scenes at the diner where Sarah-Ann is used by God to connect with others through her humility and her wisdom. What I most appreciated about this book is that it depicts the real struggles and challenges that Christians face today, whether temptations or divorce or racism or past mistakes, and so provides characters that readers will truly resonate with. Yet it also clearly shows the beauty of God's plan, of putting him first in our lives, and reaping the rewards that follow.
I strongly recommend this story and give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, and Litfuse Publicity Group.
This is the third novel in a series by Tate. If you have not read at least one of the books in this series, you may be confused by the characters and the story line. I've read one but it was so long ago, I'd forgotten most of it. Unfortunately, Tate does not provide any catch up review to get readers up to speed if they've not read the others.
This novel centers on broken dreams and God working humility into people's lives. Several of the characters who come back to Hope Springs for a funeral (and other family events) have a history of relationships with one another. As the novel progresses, more inter-relationships are revealed and the story line gets very complex.
One major issue delt with in the novel is the notoriety that comes with being a successful conference speaker. I was very disappointed in how speakers at a successful women's conference were almost worshiped. I hope that's not how it really is. The lesson in humility comes when an aspiring speaker is told she is no longer needed after only one conference. She eventually learns how God is molding her through the experience and that was very realistic.
There are two churches in Hope Springs, one white and one black. Much of the novel revolves around families in the churches who know each other and have been friends for decades. Issues touched upon in this aspect of the novel include the possibility of the two churches worshiping together. Another is how families reacted when a white fellow got a black girl pregnant a generation ago.
I have a few issues with this book. I had difficulty remembering who was white and who was black. There are lots of people, lots of names, and I had to keep reminding myself who was who. Tate has not added much descriptive material (such as blue eyes, or so, something that would again remind the reader she was talking about a white person).
Some of the relationships bothered me. The white fellow who had gotten the black girl pregnant goes on to be come a preacher, hiding his past. I didn't like that at all. There was another relationship where a fellow is renewing his relationship with a girl he was attracted to as a teen. But his divorce is not even final yet, and that bothered me.
I certainly have mixed feelings about this novel. Tate is African American and her writing is aimed at a southern African American audience, I think. This Pacific Northwest white woman may be reading from such a different perspective that I had difficulty enjoying the novel.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.