Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
I always love it when I find a new author, especially when they leave me wanting more. Sondra Kraak did just that with Such a Hope and I look forward to reading more from her.
Her characters are well developed and the story and plot line filled with twists and turns that make it impossible to put this book down. I loved Anna! So vulnerable and yet so strong in her faith, yet the author is not afraid to show us that even those strong in their faith have moments of despair and doubt. Tristan seems to be the complete opposite of Anna, to the point where he mocks her faith and yet respects her faith at the same time. His character is quite complex and it is a real treat to see how he discovers the truth about himself.
The plot line is something I've never encountered in a story before and I really liked it. Our heroine Anna prays and people are healed, yet as the story asks - what happens when healing doesn't come? Does the town turn on you? Do your friends stay your friends? Anna finds this out and more as she struggles to come to grips with the gift God has given her and the issue of faith in regards to healing.
The only thing that disappointed me about this book, was that I'm finished it! I actually miss the characters and hope to see them again. Kudos to Sondra Kraak! She is an author you should be watching.
Reviewer: Beverly Wallin
It was a special treat to read this historical, Christian love story about Tristan and Anna. It was spiritually uplifting and enlightening. The struggles were true to life. Anyone can identify their own struggles and learn from this story. The author, Sondra Kraak, took us in to Anna's and Tristan's emotional turmoil. Along with hardships, failures, and loss, hope, faith, and love fill this marvelous story. I can't wait to read more of her page turning books.
Reviewer: Carol A. Brown
I totally enjoyed this story; it was definitely a “feel good” story, or maybe I should say I felt good about how the story ended. Set in the Pacific Northwest before statehood, when it was still a “territory.”
Anna lost her mother when she was so young she hardly has memory of her. What memory she has might even be the result of her father’s stories about her mother. So she is understandably shaken when she unexpectedly loses her father. Unable to honor her father’s wish that she remain in Portland, she returns to Seattle, the only home she has known. She is a young single woman running a man’s “freighting” business in a male dominated society. She feels “different” from others. Growing up without a mother’s influence, she at times feels socially unskilled. She has the added difference of a vibrant, close relationship to God, and what appears to be a gift of healing. Hard to blend in when your gift makes you stand out. And then there is the issue of her land...and who really owns it. I didn’t find any “slow” spots in the plot. It kept you turning pages to find resolution!
Characters are well drawn. You fall in love with the “stand up guy,” Tristan, right along with Anna. I appreciated the tenacity of these two characters. And I rather liked the good folk of the community where Anna lives. Kraak’s characters have depth. Well, some of them don’t have depth and that is their issue! There always seems to be shallow, conniving people and thankfully, in this story, they get exactly what they deserve!
Technically the book was without errors such as typos and grammar errors that distract a reader from the story line.
The Christian worldview was evident throughout. The message of forgiveness and inclusion of those who may be different was very clear but also unobtrusive. The characters remained true to character and didn’t become preachy. I felt the author did a good job of presenting how highly sensitive people bump into a multitude of problems as a result of being able to “read” people, and feeling different, not included, or being included for the wrong reasons. She also did well at portraying how grief and anger at God can affect a person. These are real life issues people deal with.
Yes I would recommend this book to anyone enjoying a good romance or historical romantic fiction as well as to persons wrestling with the themes of grief, anger at God, high sensitivity issues and how they impact a person, as well as issues of inclusion/being different.
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