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Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Chasing Hope" (Kathryn Cushman)

TITLE: Chasing Hope
AUTHOR: Kathyrn Cushman
PUBLISHER: Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2013, (320 pages).

Two unlikely friends. Two persons traveling on different paths of lives. Two different directions to choose. This novel weaves in the lives of Sabrina Rice and Brandy Philip, both talented runners but from different backgrounds.

Selected for her University's track team, about to win a scholarship, landing an internship with the biggest PR firms in the country, and deeply in love with the love of her life, Sabrina Rice's future looks bright and promising until a devastating illness rocked her perfect life and threatened to send everything she had ever hoped for into shreds. Her problem with rheumatoid arthritis not only forced her to quit running, but led to a hospitalization and many frustrating trials with different medications. Her fungal infection was potentially life threatening too. Add to this is her anxiety over decisions that she had to make with regards to her future and her calling.

On the other hand, Brandy Philip seemed to have come from another world. Her dad died when she was a baby. Her mum imprisoned for drug offenses. With only her grandma as her closest relation, Brandy had to convince the judge why she should not be sent to a juvenile home. In fact, the first time Rice saw her was Brandy running away from some security officers!

Brandy's saving grace was her running talent, more particularly, Rice's willingness to coach and to guide her so that she can meet the strict requirements to avoid been sent to juvenile home.   As two lives come together, the coach-trainee relationship slowly turns into a warm and touching friendship that spreads to bless the lives of other people.

I love sports stories and this book is no different. Cushman has that ability to string many different lives together in such a powerful and entertaining manner. The title "Chasing Hope" had me grasping for clues on exactly what kind of a hope Cushman is talking about. Is it about the hope of Sabrina Rice achieving all of her dreams? Or is it the hope of Brandy Philip making a life out of nothing? Or is it about God's call for both of them to do something significant? Actually, these questions only scrape the surface of this very thoughtful and perceptive novel. Thoughtful in the sense that the characters all fit in well to carry the emotional ups and downs of each character. Perceptive in the way that helps readers empathize with the many common hopes in life and how when placed in the hands of God, the hopes are fulfilled in the most surprising and inexplicable way. The thing I like about this book is that the hope Cushman is talking about is not just limited to the wonderful conclusion of the whole novel. Cushman peppers the 48 chapters to remind us once again that as God speaks into the most ordinary circumstances, all it takes is an extraordinary inspiration and we learn to see hope rising amid the ashes of any despair.

I enjoyed this book very much.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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