Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Water Brook Press
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Guest Reviewer: Jen Roman
Neva Shilling experiences the worst betrayal she could imagine: her traveling salesman husband, Warren, has created a separate life complete with wife and children in another town where he does business. Neva finds out about it while waiting for his return one night, but instead of Warren, the sheriff appears with a wagonful of furniture and Warren’s three small children. He and his other wife died of botulism, but he before doing so, Warren asked that Neva care for the children.
Now Neva has to explain to her own children not only that their father has died, but that she is caring for three orphans that he wanted to take in; she spares them the details of her husband’s deception at first so that her twins, Bud and Belle, don’t think less of their father. Word gets out that Warren has passed, and Arthur Randall, the owner of the local emporium, has his sights set on obtaining Neva’s mercantile. With all of her troubles, he thinks she will be an easy target as long as he acts nicely to her. As he keeps up the pretense of being Neva’s friend, he actually becomes one. Meanwhile, Jesse Caudell,the sheriff who delivered Warren’s illegitimate children to Neva, has been offered a sheriff position in Neva’s town. While there, he befriends Neva and helps her children through this difficult time. He also has to face several feelings toward his own family and make things right with the parents who adopted and raised him.
The topic of this book is interesting and provides a unique perspective into the mess and destruction that unfaithfulness brings into people’s lives. While Neva is understandably upset about her husband’s second family, she has to hide those feelings for the benefit of her children. On top of that, she somehow has to care for three small children that remind her every day of what her husband did to her. She also feels guilt; she cannot have any more children, and she, in a way, blames herself for his running to another woman to have more children. Finally, when all of the children find out the truth, she has to explain to them in a manner that makes them not necessarily like what happened, but accept it. She relies on her faith and on the compassion of a few close friends to create a new life for herself that includes five children but no husband in a manner that shows dignity and inner strength.
Room for Hope does not contain anything that would be objectionable; it does not contain profanity, sexual situations, or violence other than a couple of schoolyard fights. I highly recommend this book to people who like to read about the early 1900s in America or to those who want to read and learn about a person overcoming betrayal to live a life of grace and charity. At just over 300 pages, the book looks a bit daunting, but it is a quick read due to its charm and vibrant storyline.