Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.
Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.
Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.
If that blurb from the back of the book doesn’t convince you to delve in and read this incredible book, then let me see what I can do to help.
What you’ll find in My Hope Next Door:
Flawed characters dealing with real life kinds of situations.
Ms. Gray is not afraid to address the tough situations that we really face, including our own flaws. She doesn’t deal in fairy tales, but in the grit of real life and the powerful redemption God offers. Not a single character in this book is perfect or without sin or their own struggles. This is not some fluff piece where changes are instantly made in a character’s life and struggles are quickly and easily overcome—and I appreciate that because I know from my own experience that, in real life, sometimes we struggle for a while before we finally begin to see victory on the horizon. If you’re looking for a book that doesn’t ignore the pain we face or the sin we deal with, but offers hope to the frustrating and sometimes even desolate situations we find ourselves in, then you’ve found it in My Hope Next Door.
What it’s like dealing with others expectations of you, both the good and the bad.
The people in Katie’s life expected her to rebel, to live a rough and selfish life while some of the people in Asher’s life expected him to be perfect and not mess up. How often do we put these kind of expectations on others? I’m a PK (Preacher’s/Pastor’s Kid) like Asher and I grew up in church. I know the battle in being a PK and being watched and expected to be perfect, but I’ve also experienced some of the things Katie has—having people expect you to mess up. It’s tough knowing you’ve changed inside, that you’re different, but having the people you love still think of you as the old, untrustworthy, rebellious person you used to be. Sometimes it might just feel like it’s easier to live up to their expectations that you’re going to mess up. There’s a definite struggle for both Katie and Asher in dealing with other’s expectations, but don’t despair! Ms. Gray also shows us that second chances really can happen and that we can overcome those things, especially as we choose to just be real with each other.
A journey in forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an essential part of life, whether it’s accepting God’s forgiveness towards us, or us extending forgiveness towards those who’ve hurt us so that we don’t become bitter, or forgiving ourselves. You’ll find a little of all of these in this book and you’ll find that it’s not always an easy journey to accept forgiveness or to give it, especially to ourselves. While I may not have lived the life Katie lived, I have made my own share of mistakes and struggled with forgiving myself for them and struggled with fully accepting God’s unconditional love as well as His forgiveness and the freedom He offers so I get the battle. Learning to stop punishing ourselves and to forgive ourselves and others and let go so we can move forward is a vital part of this book. Ms. Gray reminds us that there is hope, and though the journey may take a while sometimes or be a bit of a struggle, we can get there.
The power of someone believing in you and fighting for you.
Asher sees beyond Katie’s past, beyond her shame, beyond her mistakes to the Christ living in her. He sees the hope in her, the potential, the second chance just waiting to be taken and the confidence she can have in God’s forgiveness, in His healing, and in His wiping the slate clean. He sees how she doesn’t have to live in shame over her past because of what Christ has done for her. And Asher doesn’t stop fighting for her to see all those things for herself. He doesn’t give up on working to get her to see past the lies of the enemy to the liberating truth of God’s grace, forgiveness, and healing. This speaks to my heart because this is what my husband has done so many times for me. It reminded me of how, when I’ve been entrenched in the lies of the enemy, he has patiently spoken truth to me and over me and prayed for my eyes to be opened to God’s truth of who I am in Christ. Asher’s not the only character in the book who does this. I can think of at least three other characters that pray for Katie, that encourage her with the truth of who she is in Christ, and treat her like she is a daughter of the King rather than the castaway slave that the enemy wants her to be seen as. We all need people like this in our lives sometimes AND sometimes we need to be that for someone else—someone believing in us when we can’t believe in ourselves, someone believing in the power of God in our lives when we can’t quite bring ourselves to believe it can be true or real for us, too.
That freedom from believing the lies the enemy wants us to believe about ourselves can be found.
Katie has a past and reputation that wants to cling to her. She wants to ignore it all and leave it in the past, to not have to face all that she’s done. God wants to take away the guilt and the shame she struggles with, but that means actually coming face to face with her actions in the past instead of trying to stuff it all down and pretend like it’s not there. Ms. Gray demonstrates the freedom that comes when we stop trying to hide from our pasts, our mistakes, our sins (trying to act like they don’t exist) and face them, admit them, get them out in the open. They lose their power then and we can begin to replace lies with truth and find hope. Then we can walk forward in true freedom.
Y’all, these are just a few of the things you’ll find in My Hope Next Door! There’s so much to this story and there’s just no way I could convey to you what I got from reading this book in one blog so I’m going to have to leave the rest of the discovering up to you. I sincerely hope that you’ll take a chance on this book. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I would venture to say that the struggles and the truths in this book will resonate with you, that you will find pieces of yourself in the characters. And hopefully, you will walk away from this book encouraged and blessed as I was.
Who doesn’t need reminding of the truths of God’s Word, how much He loves us, how much He wants us to heal, and how ready He is to offer us second chances? And what a great way to be reminded of those things—through such a powerful story that speaks to the heart (with some sweet, swoon worthy romance thrown in 😉 )! Ms. Gray has a way of writing the truths we need to hear and weaving them into the fabric of her story in a natural, non-preachy, realistic way. My Hope Next Door is a story rich with real situations and wonderful truths and I hope you check it out and enjoy it as much as I did!
Interested in finding out more about Tammy L. Gray and her other books? Just click on any of the links below to connect with her!
Ms. Gray’s website
**I received this book free of charge from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions in this review are my own.