This week I just finished reading Having Hope by Terri Ferran. Having Hope is Ferran’s second novel and is the sequel to her first novel Finding Faith. It was published in 2009 by Bonneville Books and is available at Amazon.com. Just click on the title links above.
Kit Matthews, baptized just a little over a year before, has waited two years for her missionary to come home. Now that Adam Bridgers is back, something happens to turn Kit’s world upside down. She receives a strong undeniable prompting that she is to travel to Romania for the fall semester and volunteer as a worker in an orphanage there. A handsome Romanian medical student she works with and an aggressive female back home who wants Adam, add to the challenges Kit faces as she sees the world in a whole new way.
Ferran’s book caught my attention because it deals with volunteers working in a Romanian orphanage. Like many of you, I have had my heart strings tugged by the plight of babies and young children around the world being raised in orphanages that are too often short on both money and staff. And I’ve wished there was something I could do to help. Because of this, I began this book with the anticipation of experiencing second hand the adventure I’d often imagined.
Having Hope didn’t let me down.
Sometimes books set in foreign locals or different time periods fall short in the authenticity department. This was not the case with Having Hope. Ferran‘s descriptions and knowledge of her material were so spot on, I was certain she’d actually been to Romania herself. As it turns out, her daughter Brianna spent time as a volunteer in a Romanian Orphanage. Ferran drew on her daughter's journals and first hand experiences to craft this story and it shows. She captures the bitter sweet experience of working in such a hopeless environment and, as the title suggests, learning to find hope even there.
Reading Ferran’s novel felt like sitting down on the couch with my best friend and listening to her recount a major, life changing experience. There was that sort of intimacy in the novel. I liked the fact that she moved through the story in a very linear manner so that I felt as if I was experiencing the culture shock of Romania right along with Kit.
On the other hand, this style did lend itself to running a bit long, particularly in the portion of the story between Kit’s inspiration to volunteer and her arrival in Romania. Once Kit arrived at the hospital and orphanage in Romania, the story picked up and moved along at a much quicker pace.
Characterization was excellent not only with her main characters, but also with her minor characters. Kit had both strengths and weaknesses which made her easy to relate to. And her hero’s reaction to life in a totally different environment was right on the ball.
I would have liked to see a little more descriptive prose to set the scene a little clearer. And the plot was good but could have moved a little faster.
All in all I would give this book 4 stars out of 5 and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those who like stories set in unusual locations.
Posted by Annie Speaks Her Mind at Friday, January 22, 2010 11:07 AM