Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review of Waiting on Hope by T.M. Souders

Waiting on Hope by T.M. Souders

Waiting on Hope is a story about Lexie. A young woman who was raped. The story starts with Lexie about to commit suicide. Lexie is having a hard time dealing with the rape and this is logical. Things go from bad to worse when she discovers she is also pregnant by her attacker. If that doesn’t make matters even worse, the attacker is someone she knows. And for reasons I won’t give away, she has to hide the secret from her best friend.

The characters in Waiting on hope were very realistic. Lexie was like any normal girl in her thirties. One that had a life that most would love to have. But she grew tired with that life and so she moved away from home. Not knowing that where she is happiest would soon turn into her worst nightmare when she is viciously attacked by someone she knows.

Lexie tries her best to maintain the life that she has but finds it’s not so easy because everything about her life reminds her of the rape.

So Lexie decides to go back home to her family. A place that she hopes will give her a relief and maybe some security again. And we meet her family. The one character that stood out for me was her mother, a very strong willed woman. And in the story her strength is described as not only physical but on the inside as well. And I think these words rang true about her mother. She was Lexie’s rock all the way through the book. Even if I felt like Lexie was too stubborn to admit it most of the time.

I can’t imagine having to come back home to a family you haven’t seen in a long time under the circumstances Lexie arrived under. But she does her best to put on a happy face and not trouble them with her predicament right off the bat. The moment she hugs her mother tore at my heart. You could feel the pain. You could feel all that Lexie wanted to spill, but she was trying to be strong for her family.

But everyone is not so welcoming. Lexie’s younger brother is still angry with her for leaving without as much as a goodbye. He wants an explanation. So it makes sense that he holds a lot of pent up anger for his sister. The two were close at one time and now Phillip, her brother, feels she just abandoned them because she was selfish. And now that she is back he wants to let her have it. I understood the anger, but, I also felt he was a little too unforgiving. This made for quite a few good points in the book. Lexie could have spilled her secret with her brother, but instead, she endures his anger for some time. She doesn’t lash out, she understands, and that shows a lot about her character.

Coming back to Ohio also brought Lexie back to the life she left behind. Elliot. Elliot is her old boyfriend who she was going to marry. The man she ran away from because she felt she was in his shadow. Elliot is perfect to many—more like everybody. And he loved Lexie with everything he had in him and then some. But for some reason this was too much for Lexie. She felt like her whole life was figured out. She felt like she was being suffocated by her life, and relationship. She feels Elliot was so perfect. But to Elliot he wasn’t, he never saw himself the way others saw him. In the story we see Elliot’s own regrets. He was so busy building this life with Lexie that he never asked her what she wanted. And he fears he is the reason their relationship didn’t turn into the happy life he envisioned with Lexie. But one thing is a constant throughout this book, its Elliot’s love for Lexie. This man loves her more than anything. And is willing to stick by her through it all, no matter how awful or ugly her life has become. He would do anything for her. And it’s so wonderfully obvious through the book.

Lexie comes clean with her family about the rape and they help her through. Even the moments when she falls apart, when she is sleeping by their bedroom door because she is so petrified. The girl has been through a lot.

When Lexie and Elliot finally come together again, you know the magic is still there between them. They both still love each other. But they are both still troubled about the past. Elliot because she left, and Lexie because she is just so confused and worried she has destroyed everything they once had. Plus, she is dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and rape that she doesn’t know how to get past. One that she doesn’t feel she will ever recover from.

Elliot missed Lexie. He missed everything about her. And you know this the moment he lays eyes on her again. The feelings are real and they are still there. And as the story carries on you see the connection grow stronger and the feelings flourish like a delicate flower. I loved how gentle Elliot was with Lexie. He was truly there for her. He never pushed to far or too much. He waited patiently and only wanted to hear her tell him that she loved him and that she would never leave again. It was a remarkable thing to see this man want the baby growing inside of her even when she saw it as nothing more than a “monster”. He promised her he would be there for her and treat her baby as her own if she chose to keep her. And this is another part of the story that we see her struggle with, giving away the baby she never wanted.

It takes Lexie a lot of time to come to terms with what happened to her. I think finding her place back home was the push she needed to survive such a horrific event. There were moments in the story that were gut wrenching. Like the moment she recalls the rape. The fear and the sadness this girl goes through is something you can’t fathom. But it’s there and moves you. We even see into her mother’s dealing with her daughter’s rape. And her feelings about never being able to be a part of her granddaughters life.

Parts of me wanted to scream at Lexie, to tell her not to be so cold to this baby she was carrying. But then other parts told me there is no way you could say that to someone going through something so horrendous. No one knows how they would handle such a thing.

By the end of the story Lexie only wants to be herself again. She wants the normal things back that we all take for granted. She wants to laugh again. To imagine forgetting what it felt like to do something so uncomplicated is sad. The idea someone can take that away in one night is horrifying. And then add losing your life and your best friends support for reasons that are out of your control but have been thrust upon you, it’s so sad.

The end of the book we see Lexie realize that maybe this baby isn’t so bad. And that the love for Elliot has never left. She is still scarred, but she is also a new person who is learning how to breathe again.

I do not want to spoil the book for readers. So I will say that I was happy with the ending. I think Lexie came full circle and found a way to carry on. She grew on me throughout the book. I liked her as a person. She didn’t pity herself, she wasn’t out of control or unreasonable. I think she actually was a tough person and deserved everything she got in the end of the book.

I thought the narrative was crisp and fast paced. I never grew fed up or tired with the writing. There was just enough detail to paint a vivid picture and not so much that it made my eyes glaze over.

I felt an emotional connection with the characters very easily with this book. I think the author did a great job with the story.

As a reader I think this story was well told. I would for sure recommend it to anyone who enjoys a story about courageous characters that make it out alive. It was romantic too, the love was cute and charming and very well put together.

If you’re looking for a steamier, gritty or explicit story this is not the book. I think the author did what was needed without shoving parts down our throat that might have been really harsh to some people’s taste on such a subject matter.

As for any negatives. My only issue was how quickly the reveal with the cell phone happened. And the how the rapist was confronted and taken care of. I feel like I might have expected a little more during the confrontation, but it still served its purpose. And I felt the birth might have been a little rushed and a few times I was blown away by the doctors. I wasn’t sure if I felt that was real enough for me during the birth. But I felt the connection and the moment.

Favorite quotes from Waiting on Hope:

“She knew all-too-well you couldn’t lock the devil out. He seldom arrived undisguised.”

“Loving Elliot was easy and always had been. Not loving him, even after all these years, was the hard part.”

“I’ll believe enough for the both of us, until you’re ready and can believe in yourself.”

Waiting on Hope by T.M. Souders

Available on:
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Twitter: TMSouders


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