Thursday, June 28, 2012

HAVING HOPE, by Terri Ferran

I found this novel interesting from the very first page. Who can’t relate to a person getting the stomach flu when they’re supposed to meet their returned missionary at the airport? Nerves do weird things to people.

HAVING HOPE has more heart, or substance, than the average Mo/Ro (Mormon romance). Kit has waited two long years for her missionary boyfriend, Adam, but shortly after he gets home, his father loses his job. The family pitches in to help, meaning that Adam will get a job and then donate 30% to the family until his father can support the family again. This means that he can’t afford to get married just yet.

Adam gets a job, enrolls in college, and helps out at home.

Kit gets the opportunity to go to Romania for a service experience with her friend Tara and two other girls. Since Adam just got home, Kit doesn’t want to leave him. But she feels like she should go. After reluctantly praying about it, and getting the answer that she should go, Kit talks to Adam.

He thinks it’s a good opportunity. Her parents are harder to convince, but they finally agree to finance half of the trip.

Once in Romania, Kit experiences many trials, including disagreements with self-righteous roomies, cultural issues and prejudice, feelings of worthlessness, jealously regarding a girl named Ruth and her relationship with Adam, her parents announcing their formal separation, falling in love with the orphans and wanting to adopt them, and having a charismatic Romanian propose.

Marcel doesn’t have much time to convince Kit that she should stay in Romania and help him improve healthcare and the orphanage. On Kit’s Pro-and-Con list, Marcel’s pros are pretty long.

Marcel is good looking, family oriented, and studying to be a doctor. And he and Kit have their love of the orphans and a desire to help them in common. Kit cannot deny their special connection. Is it love? Is it enough?

Kit is a convert to the Mormon Church, and she has her first missionary experience in Romania with Marcel and his sister Ileana. They both agree to be baptized, but Kit worries that Marcel is only being baptized in order to marry her. If she were out of the picture, would he get baptized anyway?

To say more would be to give away the ending and I don’t want to do that.

I will say that I connected with the characters on a personal level. They felt real, and now that I’m done reading the book, I miss them.  Although there were a few loose ends regarding a couple of characters, I give this book an A+. I am interested in reading other books by Terri Ferran, and, suffice it to say, HAVING HOPE is now on my books-to-re-read list.

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