Decide to Hope by June A. Converse ** Review**
I am pleased to be featuring June A. Converse's debut novel, Decide to Love on the blog today.
An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?
For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.
After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother's intent, he discovers Kathleen.
Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart. When the only person Kathleen blames more than herself reappears, can Matt be the strength Kathleen needs to create a new life, or will he be forced to walk away if she decides the climb is too great?
I found Decide to Hope to be far from an easy read. It deals with the despair which can follow a deeply traumatic experience and there are some quite harrowing episodes which you are fully engaged with as the story progresses. For the early stages of the book, you are in the dark as to what 'The Event' might be and can only witness the extreme mental pain which Kathleen is in. It is never a given as to whether love and acceptance will help her to heal.
Matt is an interesting character as he has spent his life doing what he thinks others want him to do. He has allowed others to control his destiny and to an extent, this continues with his mother's quest for him. The story is in some ways about his finding his own voice and taking charge of his life. I would say that you must take a leap of faith in buying into the visceral effect that Kathleen has on Matt from the start. There is an hint of Kismet about it, and also his Mother's letters which echo actual events. As the title of the book hints, this is all about taking back control and actively facing up to the past.
In short: Hope and despair co-exist in equal measure in this emotional read.
About the Author
June happily resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Sodapop. They have two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic exerciser and an accomplished cook. She and her husband enjoy hiking with Sodapop, traveling, scuba diving, trying new restaurants, concerts, and whatever other adventures they can find. Reading and a constant desire to learn keeps her busy too.
A trauma survivor who struggles with mental illness, June is continuously reaching for hope like the characters in her books. She openly discusses her personal struggles on her blog, JuneConverse.com
Decide to Hope is her first novel and relies a great deal on her own experience with trauma, choices, recovery and hope. If you’d like to discuss trauma, coping and recovery, contact her at JuneConverse.com or DecideToHope.com
Thanks to June Converse and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.
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