I was honored to be able to read a pre-release copy of Journey to Hope.
Ever since finishing Decision to Hope, I've been WAITING for the next installment. What would happen with Kathleen? How will her relationship with Matt unfold? How CAN it unfold with the weight of her past? And what about that piece of work, Matt's sister?
Journey to Hope is so much MORE than I expected or anticipated. To be honest, it took me a while to think of what to write. I've written more book reviews in various places than I can count... but this one stopped me in my tracks.
If you are looking for fluff, you may want to skip this particular novel. But if you're looking for a story to get wrapped up in that's just so... grimly real, but gritty with messy people and hope and love - romantic love, familial love, friendship love - this is the next book to pick up.
Kathleen faces down her demons. No spoilers from me, but frankly, there were times when it was too much. Too HARD. One of my favorite things about this book is that Kathleen is real - in her rage, in her fear, in her confusion at herself, and in her compassion for others. That's what made me love the story, but also what made me wince as the plot unfolds.
Matt has to do some housecleaning of his own. His romantic abandonment of his less-than-loved-but-highly-lucrative career seemed passionate when he met Kathleen. Now, however, he's dealing not only with visioning the life he wants to build, but how to meet his obligations to his former firm and his own family.
Speaking of family... some of my questions got answered about Matt's sister. I was looking for more... more details, more salacious information about this nasty wicked sister. Instead, I read a story that unfolded that made her a lot more sympathetic, gave an understanding of how she and Matt spent years building the firm... and how, after all, she was simply the best kind of ally. Now, you might think that would be disappointing. I wanted some JUSTICE for her nastiness in Decide to Hope. What I got instead was... satisfying. Kind of like how we all want to enjoy a big ol' slice of chocolate-by-death cake, even though it's SO unhealthy, but in the end, a well-prepared meal with balanced flavors leaves us feeling satisfied both in fullness and in flavor. THAT kind of satisfying.
In case you haven't figured it out: I loved this book, but not the way I love some of my other favorite books. It's not a fantasy world that gives fodder for my imagination to run in a new world. Instead, it's a story about people who grow to be increasingly real and gives me hope about this broken and disjointed world we're all living in right now.