Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Hope of Home by Samuel Cronin

Hope of Home


My Take:
Marcus Straw has been estranged from his family, living as far across the United States as he can get from his strict and distant grandfather Douglas Straw, and his eccentric family. But shortly before Christmas Eve he receives an unexpected present from Grandpa Straw, a book, and an invitation to please return one final time to his home to face his past and the unreconciled pain residing there.

As Marcus takes a long train ride across the country, he reads the story his grandpa Douglas Straw has written about a family Christmas gone terribly wrong. Dealing with an aggressive form of cancer and a short and certain lifespan, Grandpa Douglas alienates his entire family and they leave him to go out and look at Christmas lights, just as an EF3 tornado rips through the valley, destroying everything, and taking away Douglas' entire family in a moment.

As Douglas deals with the unbelievable grief and confusion, his friends help him unwrap the Christmas gifts left by his missing family, and rediscover the burdens and triumphs of the past. But as he tries to make peace with his loss and his estranged family, can Douglas make peace with the Maker that took them away?

Drug Content:

PG-13 - Alcoholism and alcohol-induced violence play a pivotal role in this poignant novel.

PG-13 - The aftermath of the tornado, and the carnage it leaves behind, is rather graphic. Many people plead for help and die while waiting for assistance.

G - None.

Adult Content:
G - Squeaky clean.

Christian content:
The importance of family, the despair of catastrophic loss, reconciliation, redemption, and salvation are broad brush themes that permeate this dramatic tale of loss. Scripture is used in several places by the characters to encourage or admonish.

Final analysis:
The main character in this story within a story begins as a completely unlikable, unredeemable crotchety old rich man who never had time for his doting family or his patient and caring wife. As the story progresses, he grows less and less likable, until his despair and impotent rage reaches a critical mass. But his story is three dimensional and gripping, and his raw emotion and struggle is very real. The characters in this tale are real and the drama gripping, the character arc encouraging, and the conclusion satisfying. Five Stars!

About the Author:
Samuel Cronin

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