Summary from Book Sneeze: In a small Southern community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.
Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there’s not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.
Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened. And when Janelle proposes a Bible study a the local diner--and invites both African American and Caucasian women she has met--the group quickly forms a spiritual bond . . . and inadvertently adds to underlying tension in the community.
Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small town living affect her big ministry dreams?
And Stephanie London has the ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis with absolutely nothing she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.
As these women come together, facing disappointments both public and private, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.
It's Christmas in Hope Springs, NC, and the Sanders clan is getting together, but just before Christmas, Pastor Jim Dillon, dies. The Sanders family and Pastor Dillon's family are next door neighboors, and all the children grew up next to each other. So while both families are dealing with the funeral plans and very supportive of each other, there is one uniqueness. The Dillons are white, and the Sanders are black. There are two churches in Hope Springs, the church that Pastor Dillon pastored, and the church that the Sanders go to, and they are the white church and the black church. While they are not segregated, it is what it always has been and traditions die hard.
The book focuses specifically on 3 women, Janelle, Becca, and Stephanie. For Janelle, this is her first visit back to Hope Springs after her husbands death a couple years earlier. Becca, is so focused on her own ministry, but her husband feels called back to Hope Springs, permanently. Stephanie finds herself at a crossroads, wondering what is coming next. Her husband is about leave for a mission trip, leaving her home alone for a month. But when Janelle volunteers to stay and help care for their grandmother, Stephanie agrees to help while her husband is away, a decision that will change the course of her life. As these women share their lives and struggles, they begin to find hope and healing with God and each other. After this season in their lives, Hope Springs will never be the same again!
I really enjoyed this book. The characters all were very real to me, and I could see much of the story playing out in real life. I received this book free from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review.