Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN 1595549978 (ISBN13: 9781595549976)
When the pastor of the local church passes away, the Sanders family reunites in Hope Springs to pay their condolences. Once they realize that Grandma Geri is ill and needs extra care, the family decides to stay in Hope Springs and help Grandma Geri as much as possible. What they don't realize is that in the process of helping Grandma Geri, they've actually unselfishly helped themselves by growing spiritually and seeing themselves differently.
I am deeply touched by this book and at the same time completely confused by it. I have not read any of Kim's previous books. Once I finished the book and looked at some other reviews, I realized that some of these characters were in her other stories, so perhaps if I had read them I would not have got so confused? This does not state it's a series, so I don't know for sure. Other reviews stated they thought the Christianity was too strong, no one really talked that much "religious speak", but for me, I didn't feel the Christian message was overboard. I rather enjoyed the Christian "life lessons" and for me, at times, that is how I talk with family and friends. "God gives me grace. And I give Him praise."
From the beginning, I found myself struggling to keep up with all the characters. They were so quickly introduced, and each one had their own story, their own baggage, families, and children, oh, it just got me completely confused. By the time I was beginning to figure the characters out, then came the issue of the all black church and the all white church in the same town, and well, I was confused all over again. I didn't realize from the beginning that color would be an issue in the book so that was not my focus. But when it kept cropping up in the book, I was trying to figure out who was what color so I could better understand their character and where they were coming from. Just left me totally confused. Finally by the last quarter of the book I had it all straight and I was able to enjoy the ending.
Which then leads me to why I was so touched by this book. I was actually moved to tears by the end of the book and at that point color no longer mattered, but rather the importance of family. "It always sounds plain in hindsight." The struggles of each one of the characters as they "traveled" throughout the story was really quite inspiring. They all grew in their spiritual walk and found themselves in an entirely different situation to return home to.
I was proud of Sara Ann and her diner Bible study group. "Have to say this is the first time I've been to a Bible study with bacon." Ha! I wanted to join them! What I liked about Sara Ann was that she didn't claim herself to be a church-going, goody-two-shoes Christian (because she had to work), but she was more Christ like than some who do go to church every Sunday.
There were many other aspects of the book that I just didn't care for, but that's more along the lines of my views being different than many other people's views. For example, the way the "Worth & Purpose" team treated Becca, the stubbornness of un-forgiveness, and lots of other "pet peeve" issues of mine. I wouldn't really say that's any reflection of a poor book, quite the opposite actually. Rather it's a reflection of a book written with enough detail and emotion to get me mad about contemporary issues and "hot" topics.
I really feel this would have been better in a series and if in fact it does tie with the other books Kim has written, I wish it would be labeled as a series. As it stands, I would say this would be a very confusing book to read as a stand alone. Great message, just confusing story line.
I was graciously provided a free digital copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in partnership with NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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