How many times have I sat across from one parent or another and tried to explain what I’d done and why. Here’s a hint. I never knew. That’s why I couldn’t explain.
When you know something is wrong, you don’t want to do it, and yet you do it anyway—well, Paul isn’t the first to do that. I won’t be the last.
My parents never understood. They often insisted that I was “deceiving myself.” That if I didn’t really want to do something, I wouldn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that they wouldn’t. It’s who they are. Alas, I’m a different person, and especially as a young girl trying to figure out how to navigate a difficult world, sometimes I found myself doing things that I knew weren’t right.
Hours later, I’d be sitting at home, confessing some stupidity or another—how I’d lied to a friend’s parents to get that friend out of trouble. How I’d ignored my schoolwork for a book I wanted to read.
It all culminated in the day that I called home and confessed to doing something I hadn’t done to cover what someone else had—all in a desire to protect myself and my family.
Trust me, I understand how people can do and say stupid things out of self-preservation. Even when they know better.
Even when they don’t want to.
What does that have to do with anything?
Well, a couple of months ago, I requested a review copy of a book, A Living Hope by E.C. Jackson. The synopsis hinted at a story I might love… and even maybe one I might understand.
I was right. I did love and understand parts of A Living Hope. Not all of it, unfortunately, but maybe enough to give you an idea if you’ll enjoy it.
3 Reasons You’ll Love and Hate This Book
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested a review copy of this book and chose to share what I thought of it.
The plot of A Living Hope has layers and depth that keep characters from being utterly predictable and the story following every single step that you expect them to. Conversely, the reverse is true as well. Some of the characters have layers to them that also enhance the plot.
The way the characters live out authentic faith that isn’t too perfect or too… scripted either to the negative or positive—this creates a relatable way to learn from how other Christians behave. Excellently done.
I think one of the things that Ms. Jackson does best is how she shows relationships as they really are. We see the best, the worst, and how the best and worst moments define other moments. She’s so good at showing how different people can bring out sides of us that we may not even know we have.
Okay, first. Hate is a strong word. I didn’t actually “hate” anything and I doubt you will, too. I came up with the title of this review before I read the book, and I’m too lazy to change it. So, for the purpose of this review, let’s define hate as “the stuff I didn’t love and you might not, either.”
There’s a bunch in A Living Hope . I kept finding myself skimming through the story. It took me a long time to realize that, even, because unlike other books where I’d have to backtrack every chapter or two and figure out what I’d skimmed so I could understand what was going on… yeah. I didn’t. I think that’s because there is so much info-dumping. I don’t think we needed even half of what we got.
This is both true and not. I actually liked many of the characters, but even the ones I did like could be a little one-dimensional—flat. Predictable. Only when those relationships I mentioned kicked in and caused people to act on a deeper level did I see what I think is there… hidden.
Then again, to be fair, the main character is young. She’s twenty-two. Even young women who have a lot of depth to them don’t always show it at twenty-two.
I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but I think this book might have been best as a novella or even an “on the longer side” short story. The plot felt bloated and awfully predictable. While there were those awesome layers, the plot itself was just a little lackluster. Others, however, may love it. I can totally see that.
I need to say something, though.
I give Ms. Jackson HUGE thanks for tackling a difficult and important subject. She did it well, with grace, and without hiding the ugliness or dredging you through it. In that respect, this is an important book.
Recommended for readers who love a book that takes them on a journey. If you enjoy authentic faith and don’t mind lots of backstories dropped into almost every other chapter, you will love this book.
It was a match made in heaven. Or so everyone thought. Sadie Mae Cummings is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Kyle, when she is assigned to tutor Lincoln, the new college football running back. This sophomore phenomenon has all the girls on campus knocking on his door. But Sadie isn’t interested in his advances.
Lincoln’s overblown ego doesn’t take well to being shunned, and he resolves to make Sadie his own. He pursues her relentlessly, until finally Kyle finds himself shut out of Sadie’s life, with their shared future crumbling around him.
After two years, Sadie’s relationship with Lincoln ends, and she is left having to put the pieces of her life back together. She desires nothing more than to recapture her relationship with Kyle. He has stayed true to the dreams they had planned together, living the vision even without Sadie by his side.
When she moves back to her hometown, she labors to rekindle their love. But things have changed, and Kyle has moved on. Sadie quickly discovers how hard it is to rebuild burned bridges.
Follow Sadie’s story as she fights for a chance to restore broken dreams. Will love endure?
About the Author:
E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party.
For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals.
Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.