Where Hope Begins

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Searching for solace Savannah returns to her family home.  She finds not only the solace she's looking for but some things she had forgotten and some she didn't even know she needed.
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I will begin by saying this is one of those books that immediately captures your attention and draws you into this heartbreaking story of betrayal, forgiveness, redemption, love, family, grace and hope.  Savannah proves herself to be this woman of great strength which has been hard-earned with the past tragedy in her life and the new devastating betrayal in her marriage.  Her husband, Kevin, while someone you initially dislike, becomes a man who redeems himself and brings a fractured family back together, and even agrees to open his heart to a new one.  I loved the way this author weaves their story together with the lives of Brock, Clarice and Maysie.  As I closed the book after reading the last page, I found myself crying with both grief and joy for the woven threads that were brought together in this remarkable story.  (Even though I was given a copy of this book for my honest opinion, I would have gladly purchased this book...this story is that good.)
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This is a love story, a complicated messy, love story.  Savannah Barrington founds out her husband of over 20 years wishes to leave her for someone else and she is so broken.  It’s been twenty years and she didn’t see it coming.  She and her husband had lost a child and their marriage just kind of fell apart.  She kept moving as though nothing was wrong but she was shutting her husband out as if he wasn’t hurting also.  Eventually he turns to someone else.
She runs away to her parent’s lake house in the Berkshires.  There is an old woman who is very wise and her son and grand daughter whose laughter leaves her shaken at first.  She finds herself drawn towards the son, but he isn’t someone who can have anyone in his life.   She finds out her husband doesn’t want to give up, he decides he wants to fight for her marriage.  Savannah has a lot of grief and wrestling with her feelings about God, while she works in an old greenhouse with her neighbor and visits the towns old book store.  She finds eventually that she may have to forgive the unforgivable. 

This book is about someone whose life is messy and complicated in nature and is really a great read. I received this book through NetGalley.com, and am writing this review as I really enjoyed reading this book.  It gave me a lot to think about myself and I truly loved the book.
I gave it five stars.  #WhereHopeBegins #NetGalley

Description as found on NetGalley:
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.
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Catherine West writes an emotionally stirring story with lessons for us all.  Her story of a family in crisis is powerful and yet realistic.  Although these unique characters face very difficult circumstances, beauty is found in unexpected places.  This book will encourage readers that restoration is possible and is worth fighting for from the beginning.  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher.  All opinions in this review are my own.
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Where Hope Begins is not a book for the faint-hearted.  It is a  realistic tale of a family hit with one tragedy after another.  Once one gets to a certain age - death, marriage breakup, children in trouble and life-threatening illness surround us and often profoundly impact our own lives.  

One of my favorite quotes from the book is Clarice's statement:  "Sometimes God allows us to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness."  I commend Catherine West for not shying away from tackling these tough topics and writing about how God's grace envelopes us and enables us to keep going and be able to extend mercy and forgiveness to others amidst very challenging circumstances. 

An aspect of the novel I enjoyed was the nuggets of wisdom contained in quotes from famous authors at the beginning of the chapters.  The Barrington family's favorite book, Alice in Wonderland had lines from it peppered throughout the novel as well which added another layer of depth.

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley for this my honest review.
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Savannah Barrington’s life is falling apart. Again. When Kevin, her husband of twenty years, walks away to start a new life with his mistress, Savannah has no idea what she’ll do. Their oldest is away at college, and their youngest seems happy at his boarding school. The house looms empty. Delivering meals to the elderly and volunteering at the library won’t fill the void that threatens to suck her into oblivion.

When her mom offers the use of their summer place on the lake in the Berkshires, Savannah surprises herself and takes her up on the offer. Maybe away from home and all the memories Savannah will find healing for bruised emotions and a way through the pain.

She doesn’t hold out much hope though—after all, for the past ten years pain has haunted her every move. Savannah feels stronger than she did the summer she almost ended it all, but this new catastrophe has her wondering about her sanity. Especially when she mistakes the next-door-neighbor’s little girl for Shelby.

Maysie is only six, though, and her incredibly good-looking dad, Brock Chandler seems familiar in a strange way. And then when Brock’s great aunt Clarice invites Savannah to see her late husband’s greenhouse, Savannah fears she’s losing it again. For a few brief moments she sees, smells, and hears a glimpse of what the greenhouse used to be, back when Joe Chandler lived. 

In reality, the greenhouse looks like an unsalvageable wreck. Nevertheless, Savannah agrees to help Clarice clean it out and bring it back to life. Brock makes repairs to the outside of the building, and the ladies start cleaning out debris inside. 

After a few months of hard work in the greenhouse and soul searching, Savannah feels like she’s ready to accept Kevin’s decision and forge a new life. Maybe she’ll survive after all. Brock’s kiss gives her hope in her personhood. And then Kevin shows up for Christmas. 

Catherine West takes readers on a page-turning adventure into the human heart. Along the way she explores how grief can ransack our lives and leave us empty shells. While the point of her novel isn’t that those who experience tragedy need counseling, in the end, it is the point. Hurting humans need help navigating the treacherous roads leading away from loss. If they don’t receive the help they need, the repercussions could last for years (I know this from personal experience). 

Savannah’s best friend, Beth, models how Christians should come alongside each other in our hour of need. Savannah’s sister-in-law and another well-meaning church lady model how not to help.
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Wow! This book is a page-turner! The characters are well-written, making the reader feel the wide range of emotions from total devastation to miraculous happiness. Tough topics are dealt with truth through relationships, demonstrating how reactions to tragic circumstances impact all involved. From the ashes of pain, hope prevails, leaving a precious comfort that with the closing of one chapter in life, another begins anew, and sometimes second chances provide a deeper appreciation for the depths of family love.
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Where Hope Begins is a beautiful, albeit painful, story by author Catherine West. Savannah Barrington is lost. Her husband of 20 years is leaving her for the other woman. Her daughter is in college, her son at prep school, and she is totally at loose ends.

She finds solace and the beginnings of healing when she retreats to her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires. She also finds friendship in the elderly widowed neighbor, her nephew, and his young daughter.  Just when she is starting to feel better, her uninvited husband arrives right in time for Christmas dinner. With her parents, siblings and their families, her children, and neighbors all there for the holiday meal, Savannah is distraught. 

The mutual attraction between Savannah and her new neighbor, author Brock Chandler, is obvious. But the remorse seen in her husband, Kevin, is also apparent. Savannah’s children, Zoe and Adam, are distraught over their parents’ impending divorce.  In fact, the repercussions are far reaching in ways that could fully destroy or mend the family.

This well written book explores many sensitive topics including grief, betrayal, abandonment, suicide, and loss, but it also addresses love, commitment, family support, and forgiveness.  I very much enjoyed this book and I do recommend it!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This is the best by Catherine West! It had my attention the entire length of the book. From the realistic and well developed characters to the emotional rawness throughout its entirety. I will recommend this book to everybody
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This was the second book I read by this author and I really liked it.

I have to admit at first I wasn't so sure. I thought the story was a moving a little too slowly for my taste and I didn't really connect with the characters. But I stuck with it and it was worth it.

I have to warn people though that this is a hard book. I don't usually get emotional reading books, but this one was very heartbreaking.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of the book!
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Savannah’s husband of twenty years is leaving her for the other woman. Now the house is empty—their three children are at boarding school, college, and in a grave. Broken, Savannah goes to stay in her parent’s holiday home, where she meets the neighbours: an old woman, her nephew, and his daughter. A daughter who is the spitting image of Savannah’s dead daughter.

Yes, Where Hope Begins has lots of angst. As the story progresses we find out more about how Shelby died, about how Savannah is convinced Shelby’s death was her fault, and convinced husband Kevin blames her, even though he says he doesn’t. We also see how this tragedy shaped their marriage, and paved the way for it’s destruction.

At the lake house, we see Savannah’s developing relationship with Brock, the bestselling author who is her new next-door neighbour. Her very attractive next-door neighbour. Why not? Her husband has left her for another woman and wants a divorce. That presents Savannah with a dilemma … and us as the reader. We’re convinced we don’t like Kevin, but does that justify Savannah’s growing relationship with Brock?

The intricacies of the relationships are compounded by Savannah’s Christian faith, a faith her husband supposedly shared. As Christians, we have clear views on adultery, but when is a marriage over? When is the wronged spouse allowed to move on?

Where Hope Begins is an intelligent, thought-provoking, and emotional read in a situation where there are lots of hard questions and no right answers.

The writing is excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Catherine West. The characters are well-developed, the plot complex but not convoluted, and the Christian elements threaded through but not overwhelming. Oh, and I cried. It’s been a long time since a novel made me cry.

Recommended for anyone looking for Christian fiction that addresses some of the hard issues of life. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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A heart moving story that I couldn't put down. Catherine West not only weaves a tale that will capture your heart but she also moves your soul. I couldn't think of a better book to recommend to christian fiction fans.
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I  jumped at the chance to read this book early when I found out what it was about. I think infidelity in the Christian market is a topic that is shied away from, but yet it is needed so much!! Catherine West handled the topic with so much insight, raw honest emotion and grace, that this book was so hard to put down. The characters dealing with this topic were so relatable and likeable (okay and some that I really disliked at times), but yet everything was portrayed so well that I couldn't finish the book hating anyone. There are other serious subjects such as the death of a child, depression and suicide that are all touched on in this book. While all of those are heavy subjects, the characters personalities brought out light and fun moments to keep this book from getting too dark. I highly recommend this book for those who want to read about some more serious life issues and maybe looking for a place to start healing on their own relationship journeys.

"I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own."
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Surviving the loss of a child is said to be exceedingly difficult.  Savannah Barrington and her husband are still reeling from it, about 10 years later as this story begins.  She has struggled with mental illness as a result.  Their two surviving children, in their late teens, are scarred by it and carrying buried grief.  Her husband, Kevin, seeks comfort with another woman.  And, this is the last straw for Savannah.  Hurt deeply by the perceived betrayal, Savannah heads to the Berkshires to withdraw and get herself back together.

Hope, though, can be found in the tiniest crack.  In the unexpectedly places, and when we’re willing to accept some responsibility onto one’s self instead of heaping it all onto other people. God does not require much space to work wonders, but we need to be willing.
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After her daughter Shelby’s accidental death, Savannah Barrington was overwhelmed with guilt and sadness, and her suicide attempt was a cry for her husband Kevin to recognize her pain. Kevin’s response to the turmoil at home was to have an affair, and leave the marriage for the other woman. Lost and alone, Savannah retreated to her parents’ cabin, where her neighbor Clarice’s kindness and wisdom helped Savannah find a way out of her desperate unhappiness , and after prayer and reflection, offered a way for Savannah and Kevin to put their family back together.

The summary may sound depressing, but it isn’t meant to be. Shelby’s death, Savannah’s suicide attempt, the impending divorce, the pain that these situations cause for Zoe and Adam (Savannah and Kevin’s other children)…at the core of this story is a very strong Christian faith that is shared by all the characters. I loved Savannah’s strength and her willingness to help others in need, and appreciated that she was able to find peace.
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A difficult story about adultery, death, suicide and terminal illness, all heartbreaking things.... But I admired the perseverance of the characters, and their determination not to give up. The novel was full of realistic scenes and characters. I appreciated the author's note in which she explains why she wrote this book and includes a prayer for those going through similar problems.
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Savannah and Kevin face the worst situation any parents can imagine; one of their children was killed in an accident and neither can forgive themselves for it. This lack of communication and understanding over many years, leads to the family falling apart, with Kevin leaving Savannah and their other two kids falling into some destructive behaviors. 

As Savannah struggles to reclaim her life, she retreats to her childhood home. While there, she meets a family who is living through their own nightmare as well. Though this sounds morbid, the book is anything but. Instead, the characters are realistic and  down to earth, with a little whimsy and hope brought in to keep the story moving.

I read reviews that indicated I would need tissues, and they were right. As a parent, I can’t imagine losing a child or going on. Add a spouse’s infidelity to the mix, and I’d be a pile of mush. Savannah’s faith helps her reclaim her life, and though the religious references were more than I prefer, they fit the characters well. Ultimately, this book is about forgiveness and moving forward, which are lessons anyone can identify with, regardless of their own religion.
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Where Hope Begins is a beauty-from-ashes story full of authenticity and emotion. With relatable characters, gorgeous prose, and a depth many stories lack, it captured me from the first page.
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WOW!  Just Wow!  Where Hope Begins is an absolutely wonderful book and I enjoyed every page.

Savannah Barrington finds herself reeling when her husband of twenty-one years reveals he's leaving her. After discovering his infidelity, she decides she needs a change and heads to her family's lake house to begin healing.  Little does she realize that healing comes in all different forms.  In order for her to truly begin that process she must face her past, forgive, and let go.  Savannah befriends Clarice, the elderly lady next door, her nephew Brock, and his daughter, Maysie, and thus a beautiful friendship is formed.  Savannah begins to find hope for her future through her relationship with these three wonderful people and will need to pass that hope on to those she loves around her.

Where Hope Begins delves into a myriad of difficult issues; including depression, adultery, suicide, loss of a child, terminal illness, and divorce.  Each subject was written about with such grace and effectiveness you'd think Catherine West had personally dealt with each one.  It is so well written that it'll bring you to tears and have you chuckling...and you just may swoon a bit too!  Oh My!  I highly recommend reading this beautiful novel, it's my first by Ms. West and will definitely not be my last!  

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Not my type of book. It wasn't bad, it is just not somethingI will purchase or recommend really. I found the whole story just a bit  too much.
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