Shadows of Hope (Georgiana Daniels) – Review

4 stars

~ About the Book ~

What if. . .
. . .you struggled with infertility but unknowingly befriended your husband’s pregnant mistress?

What if. . .
. . .the woman you were seeing behind your wife’s back gets pregnant, threatening your job and marriage?

What if. . .
. . .your boyfriend never told you he was married and you discover you’re pregnant?

Crisis pregnancy worker Marissa Moreau suspects her husband is cheating, but little does she know how close to home her husband’s infidelity hits. College student Kaitlyn Farrows is floundering after a relationship with her professor leaves her pregnant. Soon she lands a job and a support system at the local pregnancy resource center and things seem to be turning around. But when Marissa and Kaitlyn become friends, neither one knows they share a connection—Colin, Marissa’s husband and Kaitlyn’s former professor. When their private lives collide, the two women must face the ultimate test of their faith and choose how to move forward as they live in the shadows of hope.

Genre:  Women’s Fiction
Release date:  1 April 2018
Publisher:  Shiloh Run Press

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads  //  Koorong

~ Excerpt ~

The summer breeze kicked up my hair the moment I stepped outside. Just as I reached my car, a buzz in my pocket signaled an incoming email.
My stomach clamped. This was what I was waiting for, wasn’t it? I climbed into the car and set my coffee into the cup holder. Dropped my purse onto the passenger seat and turned on the ignition. Pulled out the phone.
Maybe it was nothing.
Or maybe it was everything.
My marriage was disintegrating long before I’d admitted it, and only in the last few months had I begun to acknowledge, even to myself, exactly how troubled it was. I never expected much, but after ten years of marriage I sat least wanted some comfort and level of companionship. A little love and someone to snuggle. Someone to enjoy the late-night news with at the end of a long day.
A baby would be an unexpected bonus.
But reality had doused our fiery passion years ago. I’d tried it all, read the books, watched the television programs that promised that yes, even I could have a great relationship in just five easy steps.
The problem was that nothing came easy. Nothing with Colin ever had. The phone vibrated in my hand.
I wanted to know, right? Wasn’t that why I’d gone to the trouble to ferret out the password for his university account and set it up to come to my phone? Tristan had expounded on the myriad of reasons why that was a bad idea. And yet I’d forged ahead, just like I had with the marriage even though I knew the reckless love Colin and I shared would only result in heartache.
Casting a furtive glance around the parking lot, I tapped on the mail icon. It wasn’t like he’d know. Colin wasn’t savvy when it came to electronics. And besides, experts recommended that couples know each other’s passwords and have access to all online accounts. Never mind that it was supposed to be with the other partner’s permission. Request a Meeting.
If I read it quickly and then marked it unread, I could go about my day, at least until another message landed in his inbox ten minutes from now. I leaned against the headrest and let the air-conditioning wash over my face. Why was I doing this? Tristan was right—I had a penchant for hurting myself. Nothing good could come of this, because even if this email was okay, and the next one and the next one, I’d always be waiting for one that screamed, “Infidelity!”
If only Colin didn’t disappear for long periods of time and turn his back while texting, or if he hadn’t lost his wedding ring that he never had time to replace. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so suspicious, dissecting his body language and filling in the blanks because of all the things he didn’t say.
Or maybe suspicion and paranoia were just my nature and I was fighting a losing battle.
I steadied my nerves and opened the email.
I need to see you. Urgent. Thanks!
What kind of meeting with a professor was urgent? The sender was PinkBunny91—odd, considering all the other messages he received came from accounts with real names. I reread, trying to parse out clues that clearly weren’t there. Urgent. The word turned over in my head as I stared at the screen. A car honked, jolting me from my thoughts.
Quickly, I marked the message unread.
Like so many things lately, this clue wasn’t really a clue. Off, but not suspicious in and of itself. Guilt pressed over me. I’d violated my husband’s trust. I wanted to uninstall his email account from my phone—I needed to, for my own sanity.
Yet I left it alone and braced myself for the next notification.

~ Review ~

God's got thisAs you might guess from the book’s description, this is a pretty compelling story. It’s well written, and it’s a plot that you really want to see through to its conclusion once you’ve started reading. That said, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the story until its very last pages. Aside from the obviously painful circumstances, my heart was tempted to wish for something my conscience couldn’t sanction, and at times it seemed the story might be heading that way. Then, as the ending drew ever nearer with the biggest bombshell still waiting to drop on the characters, I wondered how on earth the story would have any kind of a resolution.

This is a situationAs I reflect now, I think the only word for the ending is ‘right’; anything else would have been either unrealistic or bruising to my conscience. Hallmark, it’s not, and some readers might be disappointed by the way the story concludes, but it will make you think. And the more I think about it, the more I’m impressed by this story.

First of all, it’s presented from three different points-of-view. Marissa’s point-of-view is written in the first person, whereas Colin’s and Kaitlyn’s points-of-view are written in the third person. This has the subtle effect of allowing the reader to identify with Marissa and her pain first and foremost, but also have insight into the secondary protagonists/antagonists, Colin and Kaitlyn.

Rely on GodSecondly, the author did an exceptional job of making all three characters realistic. It would have been so easy to make Colin a two-dimensional villain, but he’s more than the sum of his mistakes, grievous though they may be. And while Marissa is the innocent party in the fallout of the affair, she’s not without blame in the breakdown of the marriage. I found their motivations understandable, even if they didn’t excuse their actions, and their emotions complex and authentic.

Troubles we faceKaitlyn stands in the middle ground, having made the unwise decision to enter into a relationship with her professor, but without the full knowledge of his situation. She’s an unwitting antagonist—a twenty-six-year-old woman who can’t change the decisions that got her where she is, but who is determined to make the right decisions as she goes forward. As the friendship grows between her and Marissa—and it’s a lovely friendship—waiting for the moment when they would realise their connection wound the tension tighter and tighter.

This is the kind of story that takes you out of your comfort zone and lets you experience the mess that unwise decisions can lead to—the kind of mess that leaves permanent stains. How do believers handle those kinds of situations, especially when at least one of the people involved ISN’T a believer? Where do they find hope and strength to move forward? These are the kinds of questions you’ll be pondering as you read this book, along with the ‘if only’s we can all learn from.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Author ~

Georgiana DanielsGeorgiana Daniels resides in the beautiful mountains of Arizona with her super-generous husband and three talented daughters. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and now has the privilege of homeschooling by day and wrestling with the keyboard by night. She enjoys sharing God’s love through fiction and is exceedingly thankful for her own happily ever after.

Connect with Georgiana:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, New Releases, Women's Fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Shadows of Hope (Georgiana Daniels) – Review

  1. Wow. Those leading questions. =O

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iola says:

    Great review! I have to agree with you about the end. There was an “obvious” solution, but I’m so glad the author didn’t take that path as it would have been wrong for the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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