“A Hope Undaunted” by Julie Lessman

I’m still trying to figure out if the title fits the story line.  I suppose in some ways it does, in that the characters had to keep trusting God through difficult circumstances.  But in other ways, it really doesn’t capture the main thrust of the book very well.

The first chapter seemed normal enough, a scene late at night where some rich kids cause problems for a “soda jerk”.  One of the girls has a strict father who sentences her to volunteer work and grounds her for two months.  As she is a strong-willed young woman she is not happy with this turn of events, but since her planned future at law school (so she can become a woman’s rights advocate) is on the line, she agrees.  So far, interesting plot.

In the next chapter readers are introduced to her entire family en masse, and find out the (cute) “soda jerk” has been invited to dinner.  Turns out he is her one time nemesis, “The King of Misery”; now he is a lawyer.  Not only that, but her “volunteer work” is for the organization he works for and she will be answering to him.  Himself also strong-willed the stage seems set for war and (we can only assume) love.

Unfortunately, readers are then dragged into background after background, and story after story of pretty much all the characters.  Everyone is dealing with some intense issue, whether it be questioning the fidelity of a spouse, evading a former boyfriend, a son going head to head with his father, or a little girl who desperately needs a good home.  To be honest it was a lot to absorb and there were so many plot twists and revelations that it made me feel like I’d ridden a roller coaster after eating too much.

One redeeming quality is that though each character must face very difficult circumstances, somehow the ones that need to, find God; and the ones that have already, must learn to “work out their salvation”–which they do.

Perhaps the book is too realistic for my taste…it’s certainly not a “feel good” novel.  I suppose you will have to judge for yourself.            

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