Sutton's reputation is well earned.
If I rated books by how high they made my eyebrows raise, I'd award Never Without Hope top Vulcan Honors. But along with the edgy content- and I do mean edgy, is an equally powerful message about forgiveness and God's grace.
Hope's life is such a train wreck, I wanted to reach right into the book and pull her off the tracks. She's cheating on her husband, lying to her family, and sleeping around in cars (okay, technically just that once- but still). She's headed for disaster.
Sutton built a sense of urgency in the first half of the book which made it hard to put down. I just knew this situation would blow up in Hope's face, and couldn't stop reading until it did.
I would consider this a nontraditional romance because the heroine spends the first half of the story with a man who is not the hero. This leaves the reader with a sense of unease that I can't help but think was intentional on the author's part. We feel the despair and the weight of her sin right along with Hope.
That connection to the characters is where Sutton really shines. Their emotions were authentic and heartbreaking and sometimes scary. She showed just how easy it is to fall into temptation when we don't keep our guards up. But best of all, she showed that with repentance, forgiveness exists for everyone- adulterers included. When you let Him, the Lord can repair even the most broken of marriages. With that knowledge, we're never without hope.
(And bonus points to Sutton for a rockin' book cover!)
Want more information? Here's the back cover blurb:
Hope believes she is above sexual temptation; that she would never break that commandment like her husband's previous wives had done. After all, she is a good Christian and a loving mother. She has no reason to stray . . . until her husband starts neglecting her needs and things begin to look hopeless. Though she clearly communicates her pain to her husband, he refuses to get help. She starts to wonder…Will she never have sex with her husband again? She soon learns that she, too, is capable of such betrayal when she succumbs to the unthinkable.
But things that first seemed sweet and reasonable given her painful situation soon produce a bitter taste when combined with the overwhelming guilt. No substitute will ever replace her love and desire for her husband. If only he would touch her like he used to. If only they could make love again. She misses him so much and wants to tell him the truth hoping it will propel him to do something to fix their problem, but she fears his rejection. Yet, she can't continue living such a hypocritical life. She knows it's wrong even though she continues to crave physical intimacy. Steeped in the quagmire of adultery, Hope must find her way back to solid ground to save her marriage. But will she lose everyone she loves in the process?
I'll have the pleasure of talking to Michelle Sutton about her book Wednesday when she pops in for an interview. And later in the week, look for my first Thursday Thirteen.