Book Review: My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray

This is not a new story. It was published in 2017, but it is new to me. I’m not sure how I found it. Some recommendation from somewhere, but however it ended up in my library, I’m super glad it did!

This is the story of Laila and Chad Richardson. Divorced because of Chad’s chronic alcoholism and drug addiction. Laila is ready, finally, after one year of being single, to move on. The problem is the town of Fairfield, Georgia where they lived, isn’t ready to let her. Ever since Laila and Chad’s best friend Katie returned, healed and whole, the town expected Chad to follow and Laila to wait.

But Laila is tired of waiting, though the grief of losing Chad has never relented. She has signed the lease on a new home and has a new boyfriend, Ben, both in nearby Burchwood. When Chad hears about Laila kissing Ben in front of Joe’s Bar where she works as a bartender, he knows it is time to go home. It is time for him to fight for the heart of the woman he loves.

Chad has been nine months sober, held a steady job, and learned new ways to handle his temptations. But is he ready to face a past that nearly destroyed him? Could he already be too late?

As Laila and Chad fight each other and their own fears, they must release the demons that haunt their past and cling to their future. Old torments lurk around each corner, but new insights are gained from the most unimaginable places. As Laila begins to understand her part in their breakup and accept her never ending love for her ex-husband, new danger in the form of an old enemy threaten to destroy all hope of happy endings.

This story is truly unexpected. It is an exploration of relationship-not just that of the main characters, but also of their friends, parents and God. The subtle thread of the divine winds through the story in an unassuming yet undeniable way pulling each person closer to his or her moment of decision. The myriad of emotions are real and expertly written. They ring true. The vortex wrought from tragedy and choice tumbles the victims inexorably closer to their clifftop moment. How they respond is what makes this novel great.

I listened to the novel on Audible. The expert narration of James Patrick Cronin and Amy Landon only adds to the story. It never distracts. 

I recommend this novel to anyone who is seeking to find hope from difficult or impossible circumstances, for anyone who needs reassurance that second chances are often given and change is possible, and for those seeking deliverance from addiction or broken relationships. Hope comes from surrender. The Lord is always willing to accept our brokenness even as he longs to fill our hearts with joy and peace.