Embracing Hope: Five-Star Review
by: Janell Butler Wojtowicz
Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring.
He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?
Wow. Wow. Wowee!
I was all set to give this book a 4-star review—relatable characters and sweet romance. I was reading along, enjoying the story when I hit about the 50-60% mark and bam!
The story of Drew and Allison went from a gentle romance to a deep exploration into the depths of man’s raw emotion.
“I’m so sick of people talking about hope.” Drew shook off Ben’s grip. “I tried to move on and it went nowhere. I have nothing to hope for and I never will again.”
Drew and Allison face depression, unforgiveness, grief and loss. You will go on a rollercoaster ride as you delve into the hidden reaches of the heart where man struggles to understand the way of an Almighty God.
“God, why don’t you help people who love and serve you? Why do You just watch them struggle?… You’re a God of compassion. Why didn’t You send someone to help? Or maybe You don’t exist. Have I wasted all these years thinking there’s a loving God when there’s not? If you exist, prove it.”
I cried, then I cried, and I cried again.
I highly recommend this book, but I must warn you. You will face the ugliest in man’s heart, as one of the characters cries out in anger, “I hate God.” Your heart will ache with Drew and Allison has they walk through the darkest night.
“Pearls are created by an irritant in the oyster’s shell, such as a grain of sand. It’s abnormal, it doesn’t belong there, but it can’t get out. To protect itself, the oyster covers the sand over and over again with a coating that creates a pearl.” She kissed Allison’s cheek. “Life can be one big painful irritant, Allie, but let God be that protective coating. The result will be a precious, beautiful pear—your future.”
Can they find hope for the future? Can they let go of their feelings of unforgiveness? Can they follow through with the unthinkable? Can they forgive their enemy?
Embracing Hope is about finding hope in God when life becomes too much to bear and death looks like a better option than life. It’s about finding hope even in the darkest of times.
“God never said our lives would be easy. There will be problems, and…and loss. But when you let God have control, He will use you and your circumstances for his glory.”
About the Author
Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including newspaper journalism, Christian higher education and nonprofit public relations, and local government public information. Much of her writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel. Janell is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law and three step-granddaughters.