Where Hope Begins (Catherine West) – Review

Where Hope Begins banner

5 stars

~ About the Book ~

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

Genre:  General/Women’s Fiction
Release date:  22 May 2018
Pages:  368
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iTunes  //  Goodreads  //  Koorong

~ Excerpt ~

My husband is leaving me.
The thought, the reality, presses against my throat as I stand outside and take in the view from the back patio of our home. Beyond the copse of Scotch pines that stand sentry at the boundary of the perfectly manicured lush green lawn, a patchwork of fields stretches north. Frost-covered fields that will soon be white with snow. Clean. Pure. Unblemished.
Beyond the horizon line, I imagine another world. A world far from the Boston brownstones and skyscrapers less than an hour away. A world of warmth and sunshine, golden sands and sparkling oceans and second chances.
I imagine standing with one foot here, on this hard, cold, and unforgiving ground, the other hovering over an invisible marker that separates winter’s edge and what lies beyond. And I wonder . . .
The back door slams. His boots clomp down the wooden steps, hit the stone deck, and thud into silence a few feet behind me. I cannot bring myself to turn around.
Tears warm my cold cheeks and I raise a trembling hand to swipe them away. Breathe. In and out. Forced effort. A sudden wind whips up and makes me shiver.
“Savannah . . .” His sigh is heavy, but not quite reluctant. “I’m going now.”
I nod and slowly turn to face the truth written on his face.
Our bedroom was barren last night when I arrived home from dinner with friends. Only my clothes remain. Naked hangers swing in silent accusation. He took most of his things then and hauled the remainder out the front door moments ago. His hands are empty.
I inhale again and find my voice. “Did you leave the keys?”
“The keys?” He sounds surprised. I can’t for the life of me imagine why.
“For the house.” I shiver again. “You won’t need them.”
“I should have one for emergencies.” He clears his throat and his eyes narrow. “Don’t you think?”
Yes. Of course.
Sirens wailing, screaming through the silence.
Anxious faces peering, stricken, speechless.
Bathroom tile cold against my cheek. Warm liquid pooling around my wrists.
Those kinds of emergencies.
I lock eyes with this man, this man I have known for twenty-four years, lived with for twenty, and promised to love forever. This man who gripped my hand while I cursed him through contractions. Three times. This man I have laughed and cried with, shared silly jokes with, and given all of myself to. This man who stood beside me, trembling and broken, as we watched a tiny casket being lowered into the ground.
This man I don’t know at all anymore.
“Do what you want, Kevin.” You always do.

Taken from “Where Hope Begins” by Catherine West
Copyright © 2018 by Catherine West
Used by permission of

~ Review ~

Grab a box of Kleenex before you sit down with this one! Wow, what a story. It’s raw and authentic, but despite dealing with difficult topics like adultery, illness, and loss, it’s also infused with rays of light: moments of sweetness with secondary characters Clarice and Maysie, a new friendship that’s as heady as it is impossible (Brock *sigh*), surprising moments of laughter, and glorious—sometimes agonizing—hope.

There were two things that made this such a powerful read for me. The first was the characters. Humans are such emotionally complex beings, and the complexity of Savannah’s emotions as she worked through her husband’s betrayal, her growing attraction to Brock, and the impact that the death of their eldest daughter (as a young girl) had on the family kept me in a constant state of tension. Not to mention a few other incidents that took place during the story…

Brock’s character is the most bittersweet part of this story. I fell head over heels for him, but I really don’t want to say anything more than that lest I give anything away. And Savannah’s husband, Kevin—we don’t even get his point of view in the story, but as the throbbing sting of his betrayal settled into the shattered remorse of a man who realises he may have irreparably destroyed what was once the best thing in his life… Well, it got to the point where I was feeling gutted on behalf of both Savannah and Kevin and I was totally in love with Brock. What on earth was I supposed to do with that?!

And that’s where the second thing that made this a powerful read comes into the picture. The plot. The winding path that took these characters to the bittersweet end, exposing and tending to some deep wounds along the way. And on that point I’m going to fall silent—again—because I don’t want to give anything away. Just make sure you have those tissues on standby! I guarantee you’ll need them. But I also guarantee it will be worth it.

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

~ Other Books by Catherine West ~


Read my review for The Things We Knew or The Memory of You

~ About the Author ~

Catherine West newCatherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Her most recent novel, The Memory of You, released March 2017, and Where Hope Begins releases in May 2018.

Connect with Catherine:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Goodreads  //  Pinterest

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.

11 Responses to Where Hope Begins (Catherine West) – Review

  1. Ok, who’s starting the Brock fan club?! #teambrock #sigh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Winnie Thomas says:

    Wonderful review, Katie! I heeded the warnings and stocked up on Kleenex and chocolate before I started reading! I still haven’t finished my review yet! I’m having a hard time with it. Can I borrow yours?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Author Chat + Giveaway with Catherine West | Fiction Aficionado

  4. Iola says:

    I’ve read most of Catherine West’s books, and this is definitely her best yet! My rave (aka review) will post this week.


  5. Pingback: Best of 2018: The Emoji Files, Part II – Got Me in the Feels | Fiction Aficionado

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