Where Hope Begins

Where Hope Begins

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781978607347
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 05/22/2018
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

Catherine 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 on the beach or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Visit her online at CatherineJWest.com, Facebook: CatherineJWest, and Twitter: @CathWest.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"The heart will break, but broken live on."

— Lord Byron

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?"

Emergencies.

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.

"I think it's best. I won't ..." He looks away. His normally vibrant blue eyes seem oddly dull and his jaw quivers just a bit. "Look, Savannah —"

"Don't." I hold up a hand. The wind picks up speed and rustles through his dark hair.

At forty-two, Kevin is aging well. Not aging at all, actually. Runs for miles, eats what he wants, and doesn't put on a pound. I have just turned forty and find it hard to look in the mirror. Lines that were not there yesterday appear today. Gray hairs grow overnight. Weight does not come off as easily as it used to.

"I might go away." The thought slips out and startles me.

"What? Where?" He cannot contain his astonishment. His eyes shift, uneasy under my stare, and I know what he's thinking. I have not taken a trip alone in years. Have not been alone in years. How will I survive?

"I don't know where." I grip my elbows and watch a few flakes of early snow descend from the sky. They rest on Kevin's head, as if a silent blessing from above. I give no such blessing. At this moment I abhor him.

"Let me know." He sounds tired. Looks tired. I don't know where he's been the past month, although I can imagine. No. That's not entirely true. I do know. He has not been in our bed. My bed. Even when he was there, I know now his mind was elsewhere.

"I'll tell Zoe." I fiddle with the zipper of my green down jacket and survey the lonely patio. Empty gray clay urns and neglected flower baskets testify to my horticultural failures. Snow bounces on the black tarp covering the pool. "We're supposed to get two inches tonight. Crazy, huh?"

"You want to discuss the weather?" He's incredulous, perplexed. "Zoe isn't talking to me." Now he's annoyed.

"Isn't she?" What a shocker.

Our daughter, our eldest, but not our firstborn, is stalwart and loyal to a fault. She hates him now, but I hope for both their sakes she will forgive him. Eventually.

I don't know if I will do the same.

I stiffen as I stare at him, stuffing down the overwhelming need to end this conversation. This miserable moment. Instead, it feels freeze-framed. Forever cemented in memory — this one defining moment in my life when I realize all I've done, everything I've poured myself into, has been for naught.

Memories meld together in a mosaic of children's activities, women's luncheons, and boring business dinners. Car pools and car washes and carnivals to raise money for whatever charity the school or church picked that year. A life now divided into three compartments: Zoe in college, Adam away at school, and me here. Where I've always been. With my other half about to step into his shiny black Mercedes-Benz and drive away.

"I'll text you then," I offer. "If you insist on knowing where I am."

"You don't text." One side of his mouth lifts in a half smile that fades too soon. I can't remember the last time I saw my husband really smile.

"Maybe I'll learn." I step aside to give him room. He won't go back through the house. Not with Adam there. And I don't want him to. "Well." I need to let him go. "Mustn't keep her waiting." She has apparently been waiting for this day for quite some time. And I never had a clue.

Kevin runs a hand down his face, lifts his shoulders under the heavy cashmere coat he wears. A soft plaid scarf hangs around his neck. It's new. I notice he no longer wears his wedding band. Three weeks ago, when I last saw him, he still did.

"I'll need to get in touch, Savannah. There'll be papers to sign at some point."

"Christmas." Visions of a decorated tree and stockings strung along the mantel skip across my mind. "What will we do for Christmas?

Thanksgiving?" Why am I asking these things?

Kevin shrugs again. "Adam has his ski trip over Thanksgiving.

Christmas ... I don't know." His phone vibrates from a pocket in his coat. "They're not little kids anymore."

No. They are not. But they are still kids.

Our kids. And he has broken their hearts.

Not to mention mine.

"Good-bye, Kevin." It's all I can say now. As much as I'd like to tell him how I really feel about what he's done, as many times as I've thought of telling him where to go, today the words won't come. Besides, I am already there.

In hell.

It is not big enough for us both.

And some days I still believe I deserve this agonizing pain even more than he does.

* * *

Adam sits at the kitchen table, his sixteen-year-old lanky frame huddled over a half-eaten bowl of Cheerios. I lock the back door and try not to flinch at the sound of Kevin's expensive car engine revving. Tires peel off in a soul-shattering screech.

He can't get away fast enough.

Adam lifts the end of his spoon and lets it clatter against the bowl.

Over and over again, until I want to snap at him to stop. But I don't.

I shrug out of my coat, hang it up, and notice the array of shoes along the rack by the door has diminished in size. I kick off my loafers and forget where I put my slippers, so I walk across cold travertine tiles and return to the sink. Kevin arrived as I was doing the pile of dishes I'd ignored all week.

The water has gone cold.

I grab the plug, yank it upward, and watch reluctant soapy suds swirl toward the eager drain. As I pick up a glass to load in the dishwasher, it slips, shattering against the white ceramic sink.

"Why do you need a sink that looks like a bathtub?" My mother's first question once her inspection of our newly built home was complete.

"It's called a farmhouse sink, Mom. I like them. Plenty of room for large pots."

Who knew ten years ago, when we built our dream home, that this day would come? Who knew my husband would turn his attentions elsewhere? That he would decide it was no longer worth the effort to keep a marriage together after tragedy.

That he would declare we were no longer worth the effort.

If someone had told me then what I know now, I would have called them a raving lunatic.

My fingers curl around the splintered shards too tightly. A stinging sensation shoots up my arm as red drops drip and streak the smooth white stone, and my sink is no longer sacred.

A word I seldom use escapes before I can think.

"Mom. Here." Adam is beside me with a wad of paper towels. He watches through worried eyes as I squeeze them around my fingers.

"Just a scrape. I'll be fine." Someday perhaps this will be true.

But today it is a lie.

"Dad is such a jerk."

"Adam." I blink wetness. Tears still come too quick, too often. I suppose there are other things my son could have said. Other words he wanted to use. I think I've thought them all.

He lifts a brow, and suddenly he is not the little boy I remember. He is a man ready to go to war, whichever one calls first. Ready to take on the world and win. But I don't want him to. I want him to remain a child, to keep him here at home, safe, protected. Yet I know I can't. I have failed both my children in this regard.

Failed all of them.

I pour coffee and sit, clutching my hand, willing my heart to slow down. Adam slumps into the chair opposite me and flicks his finger against a couple of crisp green bills taking up space on the table.

"Two hundred bucks." He snorts. "That's what he left me. I told him I didn't want his stupid money, but he left it." His cheeks blotch and his eyes fill.

"I'm sorry." I reach across the table and he slips his hand in mine and we sit, silent.

"I don't have to go back to school." He sets his jaw, so like his father. Pulls back his hand and rakes long fingers through his dark hair. Another mannerism I recognize.

"Of course you do." I hope my smile is brave. "You'll be home for Christmas. And I ... I thought I might take a trip." The idea still surprises me. I'll have to find a fill-in for my Meals on Wheels days. And let the library know I won't be around to help out. Maybe this isn't such a good idea. But I don't think I can bear many more nights alone in this house.

"Yeah?" Adam tips his chair back and grins. "Going to Aunt Peg's?"

The suggestion sends a shudder through me and we laugh. I cannot dream up a greater punishment than a visit to my horsey sister's Kentucky ranch, alive with cats and dogs and rabid barnyard animals and her four unruly children.

"That wasn't what I had in mind, no."

"She called. Aunt Peg." He picks up a crinkled note and winds it around his finger. "While you were outside with Dad. And then Uncle Paul called. And then Grandma."

We're going down the line. They are all watching, waiting, holding their breath. I tuck my hair behind my ears and smile. "Well, you've been busy."

"Wanna know what Aunt Peg said?" His blue eyes are too gleeful and I shake my head.

"Something you shouldn't be repeating, I'm sure." My sister uses minimal discretion when it comes to airing her true feelings over what Kevin has done. While I appreciate her support, I should probably ask her to tone it down a tad around the kids.

But Zoe has said it all already. With such venom that she frightens me. I don't want her to hate Kevin. I don't want to hate Kevin. And I don't, always. Just most of the time.

Adam ... I worry about Adam. He seems to be sitting on the fence, shell-shocked, wondering when and where the next grenade will fall. He insisted on being here this weekend. Thought it would be easier on me, I suppose.

But not on him. I doubt he thought of that. I should have been firm. I told Zoe to stay away; I knew she would make a scene. I should have said the same to Adam. Stay at school where you don't have to witness the unraveling of a marriage that was meant to last. Where you don't have to watch the life you knew and counted on crumble into broken pieces that cannot be put back together.

But I haven't played this game before. I don't know the rules.

"Uncle Paul said to tell you he loves you. You don't have to call him back, but you can if you want."

My older brother does not mince words, but he is kind. Always kind.

When I called to tell him the news two months ago, I sat through unnerving silence on the other end for quite some time. And then my Baptist preacher brother uttered sentiments he certainly was not taught in seminary. Words I'm sure he had not said since high school. I miss Paul. Oregon is too far.

It's funny how we all went in different directions. Paul out west, me on the East Coast, and Peg, as usual, somewhere in between. My retired parents spend most months in Florida.

Tomorrow, when I put Adam on the bus and he heads back to school in upstate New York, for the first time in longer than I can remember, I will be alone.

Pathetically, unwittingly, yet utterly alone.

I have absolutely no idea what to do with that.

CHAPTER 2

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

— Robert Frost

I wake slowly Sunday morning, and the world is somehow still spinning.

In the kitchen, armed with coffee, I sit at the table and open my laptop. I didn't have the energy last night. But now I'm ready to give my furious feelings freedom. Blogging was something I kind of fell into years ago, after Shelby died. One of my many counselors suggested journaling. Writing down all the emotions I couldn't yet voice. A friend suggested taking it a step further and starting a blog. "You could really help people, Savannah. You know, deal with their grief."

Because I'm not the only parent who has lost a child. She didn't say it. But back then, that's how it felt. Like I was the only one. Little did I know, the blog I began for cathartic reasons would turn into a popular community of soul survivors. None of whom know my real name.

"Mornin', Mom." Adam is already dressed, khakis and a white button-down, clean and pressed. His hair is damp and combed off his face. It still makes me grin to see the kid who would only wear jeans and a red T-shirt to school until he was about ten dressed like a grown-up.

I twist the rings on my left hand and try on a smile. Part of me will be relieved when he's back at school. Putting on a brave face has worn me down. "How'd you sleep?" I won't ask if he's packed, ready to go. He will be. He is as thorough and organized as his father.

I hate this. Sending him away to school was not my idea, yet he seems happy enough there and he's doing well. Still. Good-byes are always the worst. And this weekend I've had my fill.

"I slept okay. You didn't, huh?" He shoots me a grin.

"Is it that obvious?" I pull my robe tight and wonder what I must look like after playing tug-of-war with the bedcovers all night. My hair feels like forest creatures have made their home in it. My head hurts. And I ache like I've run a marathon. Not that I have, ever, but I imagine a body the day after might feel this way.

"Want to come to church?" He forages the fridge.

"I'll make eggs." I push my chair back, but he shakes his head.

"I can do it." He grabs the carton and heads for the cooktop on the island. His search for the frying pan is noisy. "So, church?"

Laughter gets stuck in my throat. "Um ... you see me, right?" Church is not on my list of things to do this morning. Hasn't been on my list of things to do for quite some time.

We've always been involved, both Kevin and me. Raised in Christian homes, we inherited our faith and passed it along nicely. We took the kids to Sunday school, youth group, attended Bible studies ... I took my relationship with God very seriously for a lot of years. I was what they call a "woman of faith" once. And now?

Now I'm just broken.

We wanted a miracle. Asked for one. Maybe even expected one.

And when it didn't happen, when God didn't come through, my faith faltered.

Badly.

And yes, I know how shallow that sounds.

* * *

After the service, I hover behind a potted palm in one corner of the modern sanctuary's sprawling foyer and pretend to study the bulletin.

There is nothing worse than standing in a crowded room feeling completely alone. I remember now why I haven't been to church in a while.

People cast cautious glances my way. A few smile and nod as they pass, saying things like, "So nice to see you, Savannah," but I know what they're saying behind their hands. The widened eyes, the whispers, the wondering. Bad news travels fast along the prayer chain.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Where hope begins"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Catherine J. West.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Where Hope Begins 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
I have loved every book that I’ve ever read by this author, but I can safely say that Where Hope Begins is her best one so far! This is a story of the spiraling effect of sin, of the spiraling effect of forgiveness, and of the kind of hope that hangs in there when everything else is falling apart. Yet, while the ugly-cry quotient is certainly high, so are the moments where you can’t help smiling or even chuckling or swooning (because Brock is YUM.) The characters are authentic and at times raw – much like the story – and in each of them you might see a little of yourself. West courageously strips away the pretense that could easily infiltrate this kind of story, and she leaves us instead with a smart, honest, and incredibly touching story of restoration in the midst of the most shattered brokenness and hope in the midst of the darkest night. A must read! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Baranski1987 More than 1 year ago
Where Hope Begins is written by Cathy West. This is the first book that I have read by Cathy West and it surely won’t be my last. This story was so powerful that it had me riveted to my seat the entire time. The love, anger, devotion, heartache, pain were so real to me. An excellent read. I highly recommend that you get your copy of Where Hope Begins today.
BookReviewerTG More than 1 year ago
So many times in our broken state of helplessness we can find mercy and grace in God's love. Such is the case in Savannah Barrington's life. None of us want our spouse to leave us for infidelity. But many times those things are beyond our control. When Savannah's husband leaves her after twenty years it hurts her to her core so she decides to go to a place where she remembers love and laughter--her parents' lake house. At this place Savannah finds much more than she ever thought she needed but she also finds that she must learn to forgive. Forgiveness never seems hard until we have to forgive. An interesting novel of hurts, healing and heart-to-heart thoughts and talks with those who know the meaning of listening. *This book was provided for review by The Fiction Guild*
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: This miserable moment… it feels freeze-framed. Forever cemented in memory—this one defining moment in my life when I realize all I’ve done, everything I’ve poured myself into, has been for naught. I don’t want to hate Kevin. And I don’t, always. Just most of the time. We’ve been in and out of counseling for the past ten years. Christian counseling. Psychiatric counseling. Family and couples counseling. I can quote books verbatim on how to put a family back together after loss, how to grieve, how to pray for your husband. I must have missed the one on how to keep him at home. Brock Chandler is all straight white teeth and sparkling eyes and smiles like a movie star. And his voice sounds like Matthew McConaughey’s. Suddenly I can’t find mine. He knew that kind of pain. That searing forest-fire heat that eventually fizzles to dormant embers but remains a threat, a slow burn, never fully extinguished and easily flammable. Her idea of gardening is buying a flower arrangement from Whole Foods, putting it on the table, and waiting for it to die. …we walk toward the house in step. It’s a practiced rhythm we’ve forgotten somehow, but it has not forgotten us. My Review: I was astounded by the level of deft handling, observant insight, and thoughtful sensitivity given to an abundant amount of heavy personal issues and unfortunate circumstances. While my eyes may occasionally burn and sting, I am rarely moved to actual tears while reading, although this emotive and heartbreaking story had me sobbing, and more than once. I was often annoyed with the characters’ selfish tendencies for denial, indecision, and procrastination, but most of us walking this earth are guilty of those same foibles at various times in our lives. The premise and storylines were relevant, well-crafted, painfully heart-squeezing, and surprisingly engaging. I’ve never read Ms. West’s work before and despite my discomfort and tendency to eschew religious themes, I was quickly immersed and fully invested in her superbly written tale, although I was conflicted in whom to root for. Her writing style was smooth, easy to follow, and kept me reading far later than I expected. I fully enjoyed and appreciated her wry humor, which was often stealthily dropped in unexpected places. The characters were realistically flawed and as fleshed out and knowable as my next-door neighbor, maybe even more so. I was definitely a Brock fan all the way through and far from joining team Kevin until he tore off a piece of the self-righteous preacher’s wife, and from then on I had to take him seriously, I just had to, as he sorta became my hero. The ending was highly satisfying and although extremely sad, it was also the best possible outcome.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Wow! Where Hope Begins is, without a doubt, one of the most emotionally wrenching novels I have ever read. I knew from the book’s description that there were going to be some heavy topics to deal with in this story, but I simply had no idea how this book would move my heart! I hardly ever cry while reading a novel, yet I sobbed my way through the epilogue of Where Hope Begins. And then I was glad that I did. And, even now, as I think of the journey that these characters went on, I am tearing up again! This novel explores the events that can break hearts, adultery being only one of many things that broke Savannah’s heart and fractured a family. But this novel also delves into what broke her husband, Kevin’s, heart. I absolutely loved the way the author slowly revealed everything that pulled these two people apart and how it affected their entire family. The secondary storyline with Brock, Clarice, and Maysie is profound, is pivotal to Savannah’s healing, and is amazingly moving. These characters feel like real people to me and even after I finished reading the story this morning, I cannot stop thinking of them. I loved them all! I also can’t get over how this author can make me cry with a combination of sadness and gladness. While this book does pull the heart in many different directions, the story truly is one of hope. It raises the questions of what can be forgiven, what can be endured, is true healing and forgiveness possible, and does God truly restore hope to the broken? I simply love this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
sesquius More than 1 year ago
This story had me captivated and intrigued, and the story of forgiveness was just overwhelming.  The story is about Savannah Barrington and her husband has had an affair with another woman. Faced with this she heads to her side of the family lake house to recover. While there she rediscovers herself and how after 20 years of marriage life has gone the way it has. It's an eye opening experience as she is faced with challenges.  A neighbor welcomes her into their home, a grandmother with her son and his daughter. Together they help Savannah make sense of herself with possibly a chance at love again. But things just aren't quite what they are when her husband returns. The book was well written and kept me glued to the pages. I couldn't stop if I wanted to and fortunately I had time in which allowed me to read uninterrupted. A book well worth a read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Book Look Bloggers, and was under no obligation to post a review.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Goodreads’s Hottest Books of Summer HomeMy Books Browse ▾ Community ▾ Search books 39 23 Debbie Krenzer Debbie Krenzer's Reviews > Where Hope Begins Where Hope Begins by Catherine West Where Hope Begins by Catherine West (Goodreads Author) 12691311 Debbie Krenzer's review Jun 21, 2018 · edit it was amazing bookshelves: net-galley-books, ebooks This is a story of a couple who have been together for 24 years and they have a lot of issues. A LOT of issues. A tragic death of a child, growing apart after so many years, suicide attempts, adultery and just everyday dealings with two children 16 and 20 years old. There are also a lot of great quotes throughout the book. The characters are also somewhat pretty religious. There is a lot of talk about God. The author uses the story of Alice in Wonderland throughout the book to describe the marriage of Savannah and Kevin which fit in perfectly. **Tissues needed** It took me a while to get through to the end of this book. I had to keep stopping and handle my blubbering. Yes, I cried. I cried a lot!!! It was such a sorrowful, sweet ending. I loved everything about this book. Not my first book by this author which I discovered when investigating her other books. And this will not be my last. Two books read by this author and, for me, both 5 stars. How could I not? Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
GailHollingsworth More than 1 year ago
This was as close to real life as you can get in a fiction novel. The characters experienced true to life situations that had me gripping my iPad and tissues at the same time. Savannah had so many issues to deal with specially not feeling loved by her husband. The author showed how vital true communication is to the life of a marriage. Savannah and her husband Kevin had skirted around their problems and issues with never really taking the time to listen and try to understand each other. How could she possibly forgive her husband for what he had done? This was a real eye opener I'm sure for so many that will read this novel. Great food for thought. I received an ebook copy of this novel from the publisher through Net Galley but was not required to write a review.
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
I do not know what book would be more relevant right now, than Where Hope Begins. The week I sat reading this story - a story about mental illness, depression, suicide, adultery, divorce, death, illness, losing your child, and all the possible turbulence and third person drama that those issues could create - every single day there was news about known people, some more famous than others, that had ended up losing the battle of depression, addiction, mental illness, and taking their own lives. At first, as I tried to escape the horrid reality into a book, and the story kept repeating these heart-wrenchingly realistic topics, I thought I could not deal with it, that the sadness and the feelings of deceit, deception, despair were too much to take at the time. But as I kept reading the story, and I got more into the characters, got to know and understand how their past was affecting the present, I realized that this is not a story about trying to learn to live with the betrayal and lies, trying to find a new chance and way in life, but this was a heartbreaking story of learning to forgive, to our selves and to others, let guilt go and learning to love and live with an earthshattering loss, to make the right choices, learing to pray again, finding the words for the emotions, and finding the faith in God again after the feeling of Him turning His back on you. Where Hope Begins is a breathtaking story about a family's redemption that will stay with me for some time. The story is told from several points of views, switching between the first and third person POV. There are moments of remembering the past events, the crossroad moments during the family's life, that had brought them to the point where they are today. As Savannah escapes to her parent's summer house to recover from the divorce, she gets to know the odd and endearing family next door, who becomes an important part of her life. There are baffling yet endearing moments of clairvoyance, the joy of life, sharing secrets, gardening and afternoon tea, mixed inner struggles, and anxiety and loneliness that go so deep, are so devastatingly sad, raw, and real, that these can be triggers to some suffering from depression or a loss of a loved one. (With the sensitive, painful topics of the story, I would recommend the book for a mature audience.) There was no way for me to read this story and not let it make an impact. It made me think, feel, and evaluate life. It made me angry, frustrated, crying, and so sorrowful it took my breath away. But it also made me elated, smile, and believe, trust in the promise that we are looked after and taken care of. At the end of the story, I wanted to reach out to my friends and family, to embrace the life and appreciate what I have. And while adultery is part of the storyline, the story is a strong, realistic, and believable tale of loyalty, love, and faith. If read with an open mind, the story can be a graceful blessing filled with love, hope, and optimism, while the journey to the gain of faith will definitely break your heart. ~ Five Spoons
Teadrinker More than 1 year ago
Where Hope Begins by Catherine West starts out with Savannah Barrington in the middle of a messy, difficult life. Her world has been shaken when her husband of more than twenty years has an affair and leaves her. Life in their house feels so very lonely that she leaves for her parents' lake house in the Berkshires. Savannah becomes fast friends with the next door neighbors--an elderly woman with a lot of wisdom, her nephew, and his daughter. Through their friendship, Savannah learns that she is has a purpose and is worthy of God's love. Then, as life happens, Savannah must face challenges from the past and face all the future holds. West deals with some tough issues in Where Hope Begins--adultery, a child's death, suicide--and the challenges of living with the results of those events. I don't want to share any spoilers in my review. I did think she handled the subjects well. I read the book in a day. I giggled in a couple of places and I shed a few tears with the characters. As a whole, I thought it was well-written and I enjoyed the characters. Family relationships have challenges in real life and West portrays a real family with big challenges and how they deal with them. At the end of the book she shares in the epilogue about how she prayed for the readers and how she felt God wanted her to write this story that she didn't really want to write. Where Hope Begins would be a good book club discussion book and she offers some good discussion questions in the back of the book. I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.
Abold24 More than 1 year ago
After seeing people post about this book, I decided I wanted to read this one. This is the first book by Catherine West that I have read, but it will not be my last. This story is about redemption, forgiveness, and how to attain hope when it all is lost. The book begins with Savannah and Kevin, who are separating. Throughout their marriage, they have faced many difficulties. Their two children are basically grown and are adults, but even they are struggling with the issues occurring in their family. This story shows how others can make a difference in your life and how forgiveness can occur even in difficult circumstances. This story in some ways can be a difficult read depending on your circumstances, but worth it. I loved the quotes throughout the book! This uplifting tale makes you examine your own life and yourself. This book will also remind you of how to discover hope in the mist of trying times. I highly recommend this book! You will not be disappointed! ***I was given a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest opinion. Even though I received this copy free, this is my own opinion.
MFurumasu More than 1 year ago
Sometimes life events are so painful and overpowering, that you lose hope. You try everything to numb the pain whether it’s, walk away from those you love, try to end your life, drink or do drugs, anything. All because it hurts too much to face the pain. These are just some of the things the main character Savanah, and her family, experienced. While reading this book, I felt the deep pain these characters were dealing with. It was so well written by Catherine West. Yet, there was also times of cute humor, and sweet bit of romance. The author brought out questions and emotions in me, which I needed to work through. Could I really forgive if I was hurt so bad? Would I want to just end my life, or would I reach out to Jesus and draw my strength from Him? Is my faith strong enough to get me through the pain? What I really appreciated in this book, is that Catherine West didn’t just sugar coat things. She was willing to be real and show the ripple effect things which can have on our lives. This story and the lessons I got from it, will live in my life for a long time. The most important lesson is to find my hope in God and His unending love for me. I want to thank Thomas Nelson and NetGalley who gave me this opportunity. I received this book from the publisher to read. All opinions are my own.
sandralb More than 1 year ago
WOW! Warning, if you read this book, you will cry. Reading Where Hope Begins by Catherine West was a real roller coaster ride. Savannah Barrington is retreating to her parents' lake house. She has lost so much already, but finding out about her husbands infidelity is more than she can deal with. Her son is away at school and her daughter is in college, so there is nothing keeping her from taking some time off to reflect and heal. Catherine West is a master at character development. There are so many wonderful characters in this story I would have trouble picking just one favorite. Savannah's father only has a few lines, but they are funny and very down to earth. I could just hear my own dad saying the exact same thing and having the same reactions. Catherine will have you smiling, laughing and shedding some tears. In my experience (many tears). She tackles some really heartbreaking situations, losing a child, suicide, infidelity, divorce, cancer and terminal illness. I love the way Catherine is able to draw hope out of this darkness. She takes us back to a charming romance and second chances. I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
sandralb More than 1 year ago
WOW! Warning, if you read this book, you will cry. Reading Where Hope Begins by Catherine West was a real roller coaster ride. Savannah Barrington is retreating to her parents' lake house. She has lost so much already, but finding out about her husbands infidelity is more than she can deal with. Her son is away at school and her daughter is in college, so there is nothing keeping her from taking some time off to reflect and heal. Catherine West is a master at character development. There are so many wonderful characters in this story I would have trouble picking just one favorite. Savannah's father only has a few lines, but they are funny and very down to earth. I could just hear my own dad saying the exact same thing and having the same reactions. Catherine will have you smiling, laughing and shedding some tears. In my experience (many tears). She tackles some really heartbreaking situations, losing a child, suicide, infidelity, divorce, cancer and terminal illness. I love the way Catherine is able to draw hope out of this darkness. She takes us back to a charming romance and second chances. I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
Instead of five stars I want to give this ten hearts . You will run a gamut of emotions while reading this and definitely need tissues. It deals will hard subjects that need to be addressed and talked openly about and this would be perfect for a book club discussion. It also shows there is hope no matter how dark our days. I have to say I was torn in how I wanted the outcome to be, because I grew to love each character in a different way...flaws and all. The writing is flawless and it moves like the tempo of your favorite melody. I feel it would make a wonderful movie as it resonates with so many of us who have faced these issues in our own lives. God gives beauty for ashes and this is a perfect example of that. I could go on and on, but just pick up a copy and be taken away into a story that draws you in and won’t let go even after you read the final page. The truths will stick with you and maybe have you examine how you react to situations. Definitely a must read...more than once. A keeper. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
Where Hope Begins is a meaningful and memorable story! From the captivating characters to the stirring story line, my emotions were engaged from beginning to end. Each turn of the page pulled me deeper into Savannah’s journey of heartache and healing, and I reveled in the laughter and the tears. West tackles several tough topics and does so with grace and hope, offering readers a multitude of truth and wisdom to linger over and savor. Where Hope Begins is a beautifully told tale and highly recommended read! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
jacksonmomLV More than 1 year ago
Wow - this was a book that demanded to be read - I could not put it down. The Barrington family has been broken by grief and guilt, each family member reacting in their own destructive way. Yet each character is so winsome and and likeable that you feel yourself empathizing and pulling for them to find healing and unity again. Definitely a novel that should come with a few Kleenex! Devastated by her husband's betrayal, Savannah asks a question that sooner or later applies to us all: "How long? How do you hold on when there's nothing left to hold on to?" Her wise elderly neighbor, who "hears God louder than the rest of us," knows that it only looks like "nothing" - there is still faith, hope, and love, though they are broken and bruised. And grace is available for every wound. "God doesn't give up, dear. People do." Slowly, and not without setbacks, courage returns, and Savannah realizes she has "learned more about (her husband) Kevin in these months of being apart than...in a lifetime of living together." And she's not without her own sins. True forgiveness becomes possible when they stop "the incessant blame game" and start listening. Grace is offered and embraced. I really enjoyed the quotes that headed each chapter. From sources as diverse as Mark Twain and the Bible, West nailed them like signposts to help her readers stay on course when our emotions were spinning all over the place. The only part of the book I didn't like was the guardian angle bit. But I'm sure others would disagree. Brock has the best line in the book, in my opinion, and it summarizes the Barringtons' journey perfectly. "Second chances don't come around too often in this life. If you get yourself one, grab it good and don't let go for anything." Great advice for all of us! I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own
jacksonmomLV More than 1 year ago
Wow - this was a book that demanded to be read - I could not put it down. The Barrington family has been broken by grief and guilt, each family member reacting in their own destructive way. Yet each character is so winsome and and likeable that you feel yourself empathizing and pulling for them to find healing and unity again. Definitely a novel that should come with a few Kleenex! Devastated by her husband's betrayal, Savannah asks a question that sooner or later applies to us all: "How long? How do you hold on when there's nothing left to hold on to?" Her wise elderly neighbor, who "hears God louder than the rest of us," knows that it only looks like "nothing" - there is still faith, hope, and love, though they are broken and bruised. And grace is available for every wound. "God doesn't give up, dear. People do." Slowly, and not without setbacks, courage returns, and Savannah realizes she has "learned more about (her husband) Kevin in these months of being apart than...in a lifetime of living together." And she's not without her own sins. True forgiveness becomes possible when they stop "the incessant blame game" and start listening. Grace is offered and embraced. I really enjoyed the quotes that headed each chapter. From sources as diverse as Mark Twain and the Bible, West nailed them like signposts to help her readers stay on course when our emotions were spinning all over the place. The only part of the book I didn't like was the guardian angle bit. But I'm sure others would disagree. Brock has the best line in the book, in my opinion, and it summarizes the Barringtons' journey perfectly. "Second chances don't come around too often in this life. If you get yourself one, grab it good and don't let go for anything." Great advice for all of us! I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own
Mylittlebirdie More than 1 year ago
I can't possibly do this book justice. It's full of grief, sadness, joy, hope, and even a bit of humor. The story is centered around Savannah Barrington and her journey to find healing after her husband leaves her. As she stays in her parents' house in the Berkshires and gets to know her neighbors, she examines her life over the past twenty-four years. We see the beauty of young love, the joys of marriage starting, the busyness of raising children, and the tragedy that sometimes strikes when we least expect it. We also get to see Savannah learn to heal and navigate her new life in the best way possible. Savannah's emotions are so real, so relatable, that she is my favorite character in the book. Sometimes she copes so well, and other times she just doesn't want to deal with anything. I find that I'm like that at times, but aren't we all? Savannah's faith is tested to its limits, and she has to learn to find the peace that can only come from listening to God's plan for us. His plan for the Barrington family is absolutely beautiful, and I cheered and cried along with them. Hands down, this is Catherine West's best book yet! ***I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I jumped at the chance to read this book early when I found out what it was about. I think infidelity in the Christian market is a topic that is shied away from, but yet it is needed so much!! Catherine West handled the topic with so much insight, raw honest emotion and grace, that this book was so hard to put down. The characters dealing with this topic were so relatable and likeable (okay and some that I really disliked at times), but yet everything was portrayed so well that I couldn't finish the book hating anyone. There are other serious subjects such as the death of a child, depression and suicide that are all touched on in this book. While all of those are heavy subjects, the characters personalities brought out light and fun moments to keep this book from getting too dark. I highly recommend this book for those who want to read about some more serious life issues and maybe looking for a place to start healing on their own relationship journeys. "I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own."
swissgranny More than 1 year ago
I’d been warned about this book! I knew I’d need to stock up on tissues and refrain from reading it in public for fear of ugly crying. I’d read some of Catherine West’s stories before, so I knew I’d be in for a rip-roaring emotional roller coaster ride. I also knew that it would be worth it all in the end, because nobody writes gritty, realistic, emotional, heart-wrenching, hope-filled books like Catherine West does. Her beautiful writing style and gripping story lines have made her a favorite author of mine. From the masterfully-crafted, multi-layered characters to the poignant, touching message of forgiveness, healing, and hope, this is a reading adventure I won’t soon forget. I could actually feel Savannah’s angst and sorrow and apprehension. Clarice and Maysie were delightful and added a fun flavor to the tale. Kevin, whose actions caused the upheaval in the story, created significant confusion in my feelings toward him. And Brock! . . . well, just . . . Brock! You’ll have to read the story to find out about him! This book is headed for my keeper shelf and will definitely be one of my favorite reads of the year. If you enjoy realistic, clean Christian fiction, do yourself a favor and read this book. You won’t regret it. Just remember to keep the tissues handy. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson/NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
RachsRamblings More than 1 year ago
A book with realistic characters , a true-to-life story, and the gritty, difficult emotions and circumstances of life that real people face every day. Several of the circumstances in this book are ones I’ve known of personally. I suppose I should warn you...most needed a few tissues for this read. Life can be hard, but outside of ourselves and our raw emotions that try to overtake us, there IS hope! Life can be messy, difficult, and painful, and this book opens up all those wounds in a way only Catherine West can. The plot is incredibly well done, the characters are empathetic and seem so real and accessible, and the novel itself will touch your heart. I think once again it’s the child in the story that I love the most! I always fall for the child...that story in amongst the rest is what touched me the most. I’m sure you, dear reader, will find your own gem in amongst each character or story! Don’t miss the authors explanation behind the novel either! “You’re seeing everything we don’t deserve, but somehow get. It’s the miracle of faith. Grace. And hope.” I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
ganderson523 More than 1 year ago
Where Hope Begins is a deeply emotional story about how one family deals with issues that can tear them apart-death of a loved one and the death of a marriage. Catherine West does an amazing job of conveying the emotions a family goes through when vows are broken, especially the spouse who is broadsided by the act-shock, hurt, anger, rejection and feelings of fear and not being enough. When things are so bad, the pain is too hard to deal with and we can't take another step, God is always there if we reach out to Him. Only He can use our situations to bring something good out of bad-no matter the outcome. When we close ourselves off in pain, we can't always see what our loved ones are going through. The Barringtons have a lot of unresolved issues that go back to the loss of a child. The whole family has a lot of pain to work through. This is a layered story of faith, forgiveness, trust and maybe even second chances. This is a beautiful story that too many people can relate to but it is a story where God's love and healing shine through and there is always hope. As I was reading, I wondered how I could review this story and convey the emotions that it evoked in me and do it justice. I realized that I can't. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
luvnjesus More than 1 year ago
Where Hope Begins” is about a family that from the outside looks perfect, but yet imperfect once the reader steps inside the book. Are we not imperfect, wanting to be more Christ-like? That is if we have Jesus. The author tackles serious real life issues that happens to couples and people everyday that tug at your emotions and heart. A family dealing with brokenness, a domino affect of a family quickly spiraling out of control from a series of poor decisions and fallout after a tragedy that affects everyone. But....... it is also a story of mercy, love, forgiveness, will challenge your faith and hope. “Where Hope Begins,” is told from Savannah’s point of view and how she handled anger, betrayal and grief. As she dealt with these emotions, I found myself getting pulled into her story. My heart ached for Savannah, the tears flowed. Make sure you have tissues handy, you will cry, laugh and your heart will be touched. You will feel the raw emotions of each character. I felt like I was having coffee and sitting across the table from Savannah as she tried to make sense of the situation that she was faced with. I highly recommend this book. Romans 8:28 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. "I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own." #womensfiction #mustread #releasestomorrow #catherinewest