My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Waterfall Press
Published Date: September 13th 2016
Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B01DC5YF1E
Blurb: Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.
Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.
Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.
Tammy L Gray has become a pretty consistent 1-Click Author for me, mostly because her stories are filled both with real-life and hope.
What I Loved: So many words out of this novel are nearly the same things that come out of my Pastor’s mouth on a regular basis, a message of being real and genuine as a Christian, and through our daily walk with those who aren’t. She mentions so many hot buttons, such as how Christians are hypocrites (true), gossips (true), sinners (well duh), but she also brings light to the fact that despite these things, there are Christ-followers who are real and genuine. People who struggle on a daily basis to just get it right. How if we are truly “Christ-Followers” we would do as He did, sit at tables with sinners, show them love and compassion and not judgment and rejection. It was also touched upon how Christians have their own “language” using words that are unfamiliar to those who did not grow up in Church. Using these words don’t make us holy, and if they make people uncomfortable or becomes a stumbling block, we need to be aware of it, and just be real. I very much love these mini-messages of being relevant and real.
This story was a sort of an opposites attract type story, but both Asher and Katie had issues. I loved the struggles portrayed from both the lifer-church-attendee, and from someone completely…opposite. It was nice to see the story bring together both stories and the love and truth and healing that came through in different ways.
Of course, I love to see real romance, love and passion coming out in a Christian novel that feel much the same as my own relationship with my husband. I love that Tammy L. Gray does not shy away from passion, but embraces it.
Not So Much: While both Asher and Katie both have their own healing, I felt like this was more Katie’s story. I’m pretty sure this was the intention actually, but I was also interested in seeing more of Asher’s process as well. There was a reconciliation and forgiveness, but I felt like at the beginning of the book he was dealing with many internal struggles that seemed to clear up with a simple lecture from his Dad. I would have loved to have seen it flushed out just a bit more.
At times I did feel like the book was a little long. At some point I kind of felt that Katie’s devastation was abundantly clear and was ready to proceed forward with the story. All these things did happen, it just took a bit longer than I felt was necessary.
The Verdict: I know that there are many of my readers who won’t consider this book because I’ve openly reveal how it’s Christian in nature. That is fine. I do think that this was a very beautiful piece of written art and is perfect for any Christ-Follower who prefer books based on Christians rather than not. I also think anyone who likes clean-reads would love this book as well, regardless of their beliefs. I highly recommend this author because she writes great books of struggle and reconciliation, and of hope.