Author: Tammy L.Gray
Publisher: Waterfall Press
Source: RelzReviewz Author Support Services
Publication Date: 2016
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5
Every emotion is heightened thanks to these characters and their troubled pasts. There’s highs and lows as they reconcile with their mess of a past (especially for Katie) and amid it all, you’ll smile through the tears.”
REVIEW: Katie Stone is walking trouble. Or so the people who once knew her expect her to be. Now, years later, Katie has done a lot of growing up and with it, her life and outlook has shifted.
Circumstances have changed her since she walked out on her small town five years ago. But in the wake of her return, ghosts rise up again to haunt her. Her past is as close as next door with PK, Asher Powell. Though Katie and Asher weren’t friends in high school, seeing a classmate again stirs up old memories. But the difference is, Asher is no longer the same person either. Gone is his former “good kid” reputation and in its place, a jaded heart that just may be in need of renovation.
When this novel was pitched for review, I was told not to let the cute scene dripping with summer love, as depicted on the cover art, fool me. There was a whole lot more hidden underneath the beautiful “face” of My Hope Next Door. How right that assessment is. This novel, though it gives in to the sweeter side of life when needed, is a genuine and messy story. My use of “messy” being only in the best sense considering the picture it paints is heartbreaking, a needed situation to reach the heartwarming.
I was wrong to say I’ve never fallen in love. Because I’ve fallen more than once. …I’ve fallen in love with you over and over again.” – Tammy L. Gray
Stepping inside this story immediately proves first impressions wrong. We meet Katie as she returns to her small town, and though we know the return haunts her, we don’t’ know why. The dynamics of Katie’s family are page-turning good as is the “first meeting” between Asher and Katie. Theirs is a slower “burn” relationship, but it’s not without sparks (I dare you to cite a more spark-laden – though I’ll give you as good, first kiss scene) and crackling chemistry. It’s not one that gets life from a friendship so much as it’s driven by mutual “need” and understanding of what the other has gone through. Sometimes this kind of magnetic friction can be a dangerous place, but the author manages the themes with grace, class and romanticism of the highest caliber.
Cacophony aside, Katie and Asher’s story will still appeal to those anticipating a HEA, and anyone seeking a story to inspire smiles. The hostile environment seems contrary to this, but in my opinion, it only makes the story that much stronger. Every emotion is heightened thanks to these characters and their troubled pasts. There’s highs and lows as they reconcile with their mess of a past (especially for Katie) and amid it all, you’ll smile through the tears.
Those wanting a contemporary with deeper meaning and purpose but with the promise of light at the end should look no further than My Hope Next Door. It’s an unforgettable journey with two characters seeking forgiveness, redemption and a hope to last a lifetime.
Synopsis: 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. – Goodreads
Sincere thanks to the publisher, author and Rel for providing a complimentary e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes.