Thursday, August 9, 2012

HAVING HOPE (second book in the Faith, Hope & Charity Trilogy)
by Terri Ferran

Bonneville, 2009

ISBN: 9781599552330

LDS Fiction

Reviewed from ARC e-copy received as part of blog tour.

All opinions expressed here are solely my own. 

After being reunited with Adam Bridger, the missionary she waited for for two long years, Kit Matthews experiences feelings she cannot ignore promptings that take her halfway around the world. The strong connection she feels with orphans in Romania because of her own abandonment at birth draws Kit to Romania where she meets a Romanian medical student, Marcel and when Kit challenges Marcel to learn about the gospel, she has no idea of the doors she has opened. After learning of some disturbing news at home, Kit struggles to have hope that God is mindful of His children, and must decide between creating a new life in Romania and returning to repair her life in America.

As I've mentioned in other reviews, there are some characters that I feel a special affinity for, that I really come to care about what happens to them. Kit is one of those characters. It didn't take me long into the first book before I really cared about Kit and what was going on in her life. The fact that the story is told by Kit herself adds to that closeness because I got to know not only what she said and did but what she thought and felt as well. Kit is a well-rounded character with both strengths and weaknesses making her easy to relate to. Not that I'm a lot like her, because I'm very different from her as a character, but because some of the things she struggled with are universal themes, such as where does one fit in one's family, what does one want to do with one's life, and what are one's beliefs about God.

I also enjoyed many of the secondary characters as well.  Sometimes when a story is told from one person's point of view it can be easy for the secondary characters to be one-sided, but that is not the case here. Kit's boyfriend, Adam and his family, her parents and brother, and her best friend, Tara, all come to life on the pages. Sometimes they seemed so real that I almost expected them to come walking in the door.

The major plot line in this book revolves around Kit's traveling to Romania to volunteer in an orphanage and hospital there with Tara and a couple of other young ladies.  Much happens to Kit while she's there, including the introduction of Marcel, who she has very conflicted feelings about.  It was heart-breaking to read about the conditions in the hospital and orphanage, where the children often receive only the most basic of care.  Following along as Kit serves these children and deals with the challenges of not only these children who have been abandoned but her own feelings about her own abandonment. I found it fascinating to read about the way Kit's various relationships ebbed and flowed through the story in very realistic and not always positive ways.

Overall, I'd say this is a tender story about growing up and dealing with the challenges of our own decisions but those of people we care about. This story is very much LDS fiction, but the religious aspects are beautifully integrated into the story. I liked how the author brought up different issues than in the first book. 

 If this book interests you, be sure to check out my review of the first book, Finding Faith, and tune in tomorrow for my review of the third book in the series, Choosing Charity. Also be sure to enter the giveaway. 

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