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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Decide to Hope by June A. Converse is a compelling work of women's fiction that you will savor and remember for a long time to come. It's also the first in a trilogy called The Hope Trilogy. We begin with a traumatized woman, Kathleen Conners, who is trying to hold herself together in the only way she knows how--behind sunglasses and scarf--because of The Event, which consumes her. She would be content to let the world pass by her and forget life with anyone else, but destiny may have other plans. His name is Matt Nelson. He finds himself on a hideaway beach in North Carolina, thanks to a box of letters from his mother, who has passed away. As he tries to sort out issues concerning his mother, his path crosses with Kathleen. Matt is enchanted by her, but is he someone she can lean on and begin a future with, or will she give up, reject him, and let him slip through her fingers?
Converse gives us an emotionally involving drama that you may want to read more than once. She carefully and skillfully constructs her characters in ways that show them as real people with real problems. They seem realistic and relatable. I also like the suspense she builds by ending a lot of the chapters on mini cliffhangers that are emotional and keep the pages turning. Even the letters play into the suspense. This is a longer work compared to some, but worth every hour of reading. You'll get caught up in the drama quickly, and will get to know and like these characters and this story. It turns out that Matt is my favorite. You may not, however, be able to predict what will happen, and that's what I like the most. The situations will have you yearning for a good resolution, but you will have to read till the end to find out how it's all resolved. This writer handles trauma with sensitivity and grace, but with surprising blunt force as well. For a character-driven, plot-driven drama about relationships and recovery that's hard to put down, indulge in Decide to Hope by June A. Converse.