Title: Hope for the Holidays
Author: Cathe Swanson
Series: Hope Again, book 4
Major Themes: Homeless Shelters, Romance
Synopsis: Newly arrived from the Congo as the administrator of a women’s shelter and community center, Carrie finds out her work is cut out for her—and isn’t sure she’ll be able to make the impact she wants to.
I’ve been meaning to read Hope for the Holidays for years, but it never happened, for one reason or another. I have loved some of Cathe Swanson’s other books, Baggage Claim, especially, was an all-time favorite. Mom has read quite a few of her stories as well, and highly recommended them—so I knew I was in for a good read when I started this one.
Newly arrived from the Congo, Carrie Strough is determined to prove herself at her new job as administrator of a Chicago-based women’s shelter and community center. Every time she turns around, though, people seem to be undermining her work. First, her brother Roy, has a hard time viewing her as anything more than his little sister, and that seems to be coloring other people’s perspectives on her. Then the different program directors don’t seem to understand the financial straits the ministry is in, and continue spending without first consulting the budgets she’s worked out. Without the respect or care of those around her, Carrie hangs onto the one lifeline she has—Micah, the interim pastor of a church just down the road who also works for the center. He does his best to encourage her, but he has his own struggles. The church board seems to be dragging their feet about finding a replacement for him, and he’s sure this isn’t where he ought to be long-term. Can the two of them work together to come up with a way to get the center back on its financial feet, and find a strong pastor for the church?
There was a lot to love about Hope for the Holidays. Unfortunately, I didn’t read it at a good time—or maybe wasn’t in a good headspace for it—because I found it difficult to get through and not terribly interesting. I’m sure it’s more me than the book; the characters were diverse and their problems intriguing, and I know Swanson is a good author, so I’m not blaming her or the book for my struggle to get through it.
One thing I loved about this book was seeing characters from other stories—especially Snow Angels and Baggage Claim—show up in here again! I’m looking forward to when I can read Roy and Mona’s story, because I’m pretty sure I’ve skipped that somehow. This was a good read, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I re-read it someday.
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: Someone lies in ch. 1, a couple of kisses are mentioned in ch. 23 and 59 (the latter one somewhat described), there is some touching between unmarried couples in ch. 32, 47, 52, and 59, and there is a quick description of people who starved to death in a war in ch. 45.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy this book:
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
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