Every Fourth Friday of a month I will post a book review. Sometimes it will be a book I read years ago, other times I will have just turned the last page of the novel and feel like writing a review about it. Today’s review – is not on the Fourth Friday, or on a Friday period! I didn’t get a chance to post a review last month, and the end of this month will be Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d get a jump on things and post my November book review early.
My Review of My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray
My Hope Next Door earned author Gray the prestigious Romance Writers of America 2017 RITA Award in the Romance with Religious and Spiritual Elements category – and for good reason!
Gray’s writing of both dialogue and “inner thoughts” throughout this book is palpable. Many times while reading this novel I could physically feel the disappointment, anger, regret, and sadness of not just the heroine Katie and hero Asher, but several minor characters as well.
My tagline is “Christian contemporary fiction you can relate to” and I think one of the reasons I enjoyed Gray’s novel so much is she writes a lot like me, in that so many people will be able to relate to her characters and their circumstances. “Christians are real people too!” as I like to say.
Lots of Christians have not-so-great pasts; lots feel hurt and rejected and search for love from others and from God; lots struggle daily with bad habits and attitudes they want to break; lots have a hard time forgiving others or forgiving themselves; lots fight to let others in emotionally, even if they’re other Christians or people who want to offer help. The author portrayed all these individuals, feelings, and situations in My Hope Next Door with great depth and skill.
Gray’s website describes that she is “often lauded for her unique writing style within the inspirational genre, preferring to use analogies versus heavy-handed spiritual content.” This rang true in My Hope Next Door, and I believe this writing style does a great job at welcoming readers with all types of religious and spiritual backgrounds and reading tastes to come on in, and enjoy this book, and learn some about God – without it turning anyone off by going overboard with “preachy” or “pushy” religious talk.
In this novel, Katie is a reformed bad girl trying to make amends for her past actions that happened in the small Georgia town where she grew up. She left town four years ago and wasn’t ever going to come back, until her dad pleaded with her to come home once her mom gets ill.
While Katie was gone, she was saved, and as luck would have it, when she comes back home, her neighbor is none other than the local preacher’s son Asher—who for last year has stopped going to church because of the pain several members of the congregation caused him regarding his breakup with a fellow church parishioner. These two people with very different backgrounds become friends, and their differences actually help them grow very close by the end of the book.
I encourage you to read this book – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!