Narelle here. Today I’m sharing with you my book recommendation for A Handful of Hope by Elizabeth Maddrey. This wasn’t the post I’d planned to share today. I changed my mind last weekend after we recorded a bunch of StoryChats @ InspyRomance podcast/YouTube episodes that included an upcoming episode #20 on Mental Illness with Jaycee Weaver (releasing Friday, May 7).
We’re including a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway with my post – see details on how to enter (which includes being a YouTube subscriber and commenting on our StoryChats @ InspyRomance YouTube channel) at the end of my post.
She wants to be worth loving.
Repeated heartbreak has convinced Jen Andrews she’s unlovable. When the groomsman she’s paired with at her best friend’s wedding shows interest, she wonders how long it will be before he realizes his mistake.
David Pak is ready to settle down with the right woman. After a disastrous first date with Jen, he’s determined to look elsewhere. But he’s haunted by the wounded look in her eyes.
How will David set aside his hesitations and see past Jen’s barriers to find love? And if he tries, will she let him?
A Handful of Hope is the fourth book in the Taste of Romance series of contemporary Christian romance novels set in the metro Washington, D.C. area. If you like stories of love and hope in the fast-paced modern world with realistic characters and heartwarming romance, then you’ll love Elizabeth Maddrey’s latest journey with this beloved circle of friends.
I enjoyed reading A Handful of Hope (A Taste of Romance Book 4) and journeying with Jen and David in their friends-to-more romance set in metro Washington D.C. area. Jen and David are paired up at a friend’s wedding and the initial spark of attraction is there. They also work for the same company on different floors. Their work connection provides opportunities to see each other around their busy jobs.
Jen and David’s romance is unique and challenging for a couple of reasons. David has Korean heritage and his family expects him to marry a nice Korean girl from their church. Jen is struggling with depression that can impact on her ability to socialise. She does her best to hide her symptoms, but there are times when it becomes too much. We’re given an insight into what’s happening in her life when she retreats to her home with her adorable dog, Tribble, for company.
I also empathised with Jen when she had to cope with the careless words and opinions of people in her circle of family and friends who lacked insight and understanding of her mental illness. I loved how Jen didn’t take on board the unhelpful comments made by Christians who just didn’t get it. The stigma of mental illness is handled with sensitivity and the story has a strong Biblical foundation.
I loved how David didn’t give up on Jen. He took the time to understand the why’s behind Jen’s words and actions. The easy option for David would have been to let Jen push him away. Instead, he makes the heroic decision to choose the road less traveled. And he shows he cares for her by doing things like cleaning her kitchen without being asked.
I recently reread this book and remembered why I haven’t read book 5 in the series – A Tidbit of Trust. The heroine in book 5, Sara, is one of Jen’s best friends. I was so mad with Sara for what she did to Jen in this story that I couldn’t bring myself to read Sara’s romance story. While rereading A Handful of Hope, I remembered why I was cranky with Sara for saying things to Jen that were mean and insensitive, especially considering Jen’s struggle with depression.
Elizabeth Maddrey has encouraged me to give A Tidbit of Trust a chance after I mentioned my issues with Sara during our upcoming StoryChats @ Inspy Romance episode #20 on Mental Illness with Jaycee Weaver.
I highly recommend A Handful of Hope to readers looking for a contemporary Christian romance that handles the issue of depression with sensitivity and Biblical truth.
Questions for you: Have you read A Handful of Hope? Have you read many CCR (contemporary Christian romance) books that include characters who struggle with depression? Have you ever skipped a book or jumped forward to read a book in a series because you had a strong emotional reaction (negative or positive) to the main character when you met them as a minor character in an earlier book? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway – open until Monday May 9, 2021.
We’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one winner who completes the following steps:
- Subscribes (or is a currently subscriber) to our StoryChats @ InspyRomance YouTube channel.
- Leaves a comment on any of our StoryChats @ InspyRomance YouTube episodes.
- Leaves a comment on this post to let us know the YouTube episode number where they commented (to make sure we don’t miss seeing your YouTube comment).
The giveaway is open until May 9 and the winner announced in the following Sunday Edition.
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