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After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.
Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.
Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?
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I often use the phrase “beauty from ashes” to describe stories that illustrate God’s restorative grace in action yet “beauty from flaming ruins” seems more appropriate here. The depth of pain and destruction from living in a culture of addiction and abuse are difficult for those of us who have not experienced it to comprehend.
Laila Richardson is bone-tired of being hurt by the destructive cycle her loved ones seem to be trapped in. Her fledgling faith is tested as she seeks peace and a fresh start. Of all the characters in this story, I most connected with Laila. She is a natural caregiver and peacemaker and just wants what is best for everyone.
Chad Richardson is a slave to his addiction. His low self-esteem breaks my heart and at the same time, I’d really like to shake some sense into him. Despite his vices, Chad’s façade of charm and charisma earns him the loyalty of most folks who know him. Yet the same tight-knit community qualities that protect him also make Chad vulnerable to the mistakes of his past.
This story is filled with authentically flawed characters, complex situations, and tangled emotions. If you like your books fluffy, neat, and tidy this one might not be for you but if you’re like me and crave stories that will challenge your thinking and raise your level of compassion, don’t miss My Unexpected Hope.
I requested the opportunity to read this book through the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
About the Author
Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high-quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.
Tammy is often lauded for her unique writing style within the inspirational genre, preferring to use analogies versus heavy-handed spiritual content. Her characters are real, relatable and deep, earning her a 2017 RITA award in the Romance with Religious and Spiritual Elements category.
When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.
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Are you attracted to stories that tackle tough issues in Christian Fiction or do you find yourself somewhat intimated by the discomfort?
2 thoughts on “My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray”
I’m definitely ok with some grit…something with a little depth is what makes reading worthwhile!
Trdivincenzo (at) gmail (dot) com
I love Tammy Gray’s stories. I’m okay with some grit and hard issues, but then I have to pick a fluffier book for my next read. Amy Matayo and Catherine West write similar stories, and they’re some favorite authors, too.