Book Recommendation – A Handful of Hope by Elizabeth Maddrey

Book Description:

She wants to be worth loving.

Repeated heartbreak has convinced Jen Andrews she’s unlovable. When the groomsman she’s paired with at her best friend’s wedding shows interest, she wonders how long it will be before he realizes his mistake.

David Pak is ready to settle down with the right woman. After a disastrous first date with Jen, he’s determined to look elsewhere. But he’s haunted by the wounded look in her eyes.

How will David set aside his hesitations and see past Jen’s barriers to find love? And if he tries, will she let him?

A Handful of Hope is the fourth book in the Taste of Romance series of contemporary Christian romance novels set in the metro Washington, D.C. area. If you like stories of love and hope in the fast-paced modern world with realistic characters and heartwarming romance, then you’ll love Elizabeth Maddrey’s latest journey with this beloved circle of friends.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading A Handful of Hope (A Taste of Romance Book 4) and journeying with Jen and David in their friends-to-more romance set in metro Washington D.C. area. Jen and David are paired up at a friend’s wedding and the initial spark of attraction is there. They also work for the same company on different floors. Their work connection provides opportunities to see each other around their busy jobs.

Jen and David’s romance is unique and challenging for a couple of reasons. David has Korean heritage and his family expects him to marry a nice Korean girl from their church. Jen’s struggles with depression impact her ability to socialise. She does her best to hide her symptoms, but there are times when it becomes too much. We’re given an insight into what’s happening in her life when she retreats to her home with her adorable dog, Tribble, for company.

I also empathised with Jen when she had to cope with the careless words and opinions of people in her circle of family and friends who lacked insight and understanding of her mental illness. I loved how Jen didn’t take on board the unhelpful comments made by Christians who just didn’t get it. The stigma of mental illness is handled with sensitivity and the story has a strong Biblical foundation.

I loved how David didn’t give up on Jen. He took the time to understand the why’s behind Jen’s words and actions. The easy option for David would have been to let Jen push him away. Instead, he makes the heroic decision to choose the road less traveled. And he shows he cares for her by doing things like cleaning her kitchen without being asked.

I recently reread this book and remembered why I haven’t read book 5 in the series – A Tidbit of Trust. The heroine in book 5, Sara, is one of Jen’s best friends. I was so mad with Sara for what she did to Jen in this story that I couldn’t bring myself to read Sara’s romance story. While rereading A Handful of Hope, I remembered why I was cranky with Sara for saying things to Jen that were mean and insensitive, especially considering Jen’s struggle with depression.

Elizabeth Maddrey has encouraged me to give A Tidbit of Trust a chance after I mentioned my issues with Sara during our StoryChats @ Inspy Romance episode #20 on Mental Illness with Jaycee Weaver.

I highly recommend A Handful of Hope to readers looking for a contemporary Christian romance that handles the issue of depression with sensitivity and Biblical truth.

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