Book Talk Tuesday: Chasing Hope

It’s no secret I’m a huge Kathryn Cushman fan. Which means I also have high expectations for her novels.
Chasing Hope exceeded those expectations.chasing hope
Sabrina was an Olympic-calibre runner whose career was cut short by a medical condition. She immediately changed focus and poured all her energies into her college major, determined to succeed at her new goal.
Brandy is an at-risk teenager trying to outrun her past and stay out of juvie.
Sabrina’s grandmother convinces her to coach Brandy. Sabrina reluctantly agrees, never dreaming how her life will change in the weeks ahead.

Cushman does a great job giving two sides to an issue. Chasing Hope gives us both characters’ perspectives on their own athletic abilities. Sabrina loved running and misses it so much that she avoids even watching college sports because it’s a stabbing reminder of what she’s lost. Brandy sees running as her ticket out of juvie and that’s about it. They each grow to see that running is both more and less than an athletic endeavor.

As Sabrina struggles to finish her senior year of college with additional medical challenges, she takes the reader along her journey. We travel out of Egypt with Sabrina and the ancient Israelites. We cross the Red Sea on dry land. We thirst for God. I found myself holding my breath and flexing my legs during the running scenes and thirsty while Sabrina mused about three days without water.
Another reviewer commented that Chasing Hope didn’t contain anything explicitly Christian that made it a Christian book. I disagree. I found faith woven throughout the book but so skillfully done that someone who says they “never read Christian fiction” could be converted to loving Inspirational novels.

Chasing Hope wins the gold! I loved it and highly recommend it.

**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Done and done.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Encouragement or Badgering?

In our instant digital culture, it’s difficult sometimes to learn where to draw the lines for Tweeting, texting, Facebooking, pinterest pinning, and Instagramming.

What one person thinks of as a newsy tidbit may be “oversharing” to Dave someone else.

What one person thinks of as an exhortation may be considered whining to me someone else.

Several of my friends have been victimized in the past by their church or family or gossip or innuendo or employers or neighbors.


So have I. Not from all of the above, but certainly a few of them.

At the time, I was consumed with my pain, with my side of conflict, with my rights, with my reputation.

Eventually, I had to let it go. Rehashing it only prolonged the healing because I kept ripping off the scab and not letting the wound heal.

I want to say that to a few people but how?

But everything I think of to say, no matter how well-intentioned, can be boiled down to its essence: their pain is boring me.

So, I keep my mouth shut, read the post/look at the picture/ignore the link/delete the tweet, and smile and say a prayer that they are able to let go of a little bit of their pain today.

Book Talk Tuesday: The Wedding Dress

I’ve had The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck on my Kindle for several months. I finally got around to it this weekend when we did some driving and I wanted something to keep me occupied on the road. The current book I’m reading is pretty intense and I knew I wanted something lighter for the road. And I wanted to just take my Kindle, not a heavy book. So I chose The Wedding Dress.

I loved it.

This is my favorite of all the Rachel Hauck books I’ve read.

It begins in present day, Birmingham, Alabama.

On an impulse, Charlotte Malone purchased a locked antique trunk.

She is engaged to Tim Rose but they can’t seem to get around to the actual nuts and bolts mints of planning a wedding. She owns a bridal shop but, with two months till the big day, hasn’t picked a dress. Ditto with Tim and his tux.

Charlotte is secretly relieved when Tim asks to delay their wedding. She calls it off.

In the midst of her grieving, Charlotte finally gets the trunk open and finds the most exquisite wedding gown. It doesn’t seem to be vintage. But it’s not new either. It’s never been altered.

One hundred years ago in Birmingham, Emily Canton is about to become engaged to Phillip. No matter that she gave her heart to Daniel. He left her to play baseball and never bothered to write. Or did he write her after all? He’s back in town and insists he did and he’s back for good, with a real job and ready to talk to Emily’s father.

The book moves from Charlotte’s story to Emily’s and interweaves two other couples’. The wedding dress is the gold thread that stitches them all together, even though it has a history of its own, dating to the Jim Crow laws in the last century.

The story is skillfully written and keeps you turning the pages. Hauck does a great job building tension without going over the top.

Highly recommended!