Audiobook Review: Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Title: Where Hope Begins
Author: Catherine West
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Narrator: Suzie Althens
Published: May 2018
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: 10 hours, 37 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

My Thoughts on the Book:

Catherine West’s latest book is aptly titled. Savannah’s life has taken a drastic turn off course, and she’s not sure what, if anything she can do about it. But over the course of the story, she finds her hope, and her emotional journey makes for a great read. This is excellent women’s fiction featuring complex characters and relationships. The story doesn’t shy away from grittier topics like marital problems, but it keeps a Christian worldview throughout, and will appeal to fans of edgier Christian fiction. It’s an emotionally powerful read, and well worth reading.

My one disappointment in an otherwise excellent story, was with one minor character who I thought was more stereotypical caricature than character. Savannah’s sister-in-law Janice plays a key role at one particular point in the story, but I felt like she was created with that one role in mind, as a sort of judgmental straw-man to be knocked down. I would’ve liked to see her drawn with a little more depth, because she felt really out of place in a story with otherwise great characterization.

Overall, the story is beautifully written, and takes the reader to some really challenging and thought provoking places. It would make for a fabulous book discussion group selection.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Narrator Suzie Althens does a wonderful job bringing Savannah and her family and friends to life in this story. Her voice is pleasant, with just the right degree of emotion incorporated to heighten the drama. I would highly recommend the audio edition of this story.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the book.

Quick Links: About the Book | Audio Sample | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

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