A year after her divorce is finalized Laila Richardson is finally ready to move on from her ex and her past. She is dating a new man, is looking to quit her long term bartending job and move away from her home town. But when her childhood sweetheart hears of her plans, he returns to town, determined to salvage their marriage.
Chad Richardson has loved Laila his whole life. He only left because he realized his drug addicted lifestyle was putting her in danger. But now, he’s been clean for several months and he’s willing to do anything to prove to Laila that he still loves her.
But their shared past is just as much a hindrance to their future as Laila’s broken trust in Chad. Has he really changed? Can her heart be mended enough to give him a second chance?
My Unexpected Hope is just that. A story which explores the dark, shameful corners of the human heart, but resolves those issues with unexpected hope. Author Tammy L. Gray has never been scared to tackle addictions, dysfunction and brokenness in any of her novels. And her latest release is no exception.
This is a gritty romance in every sense of the word. It delves deeply not only into addiction and dysfunction, but also the emotional and psychological factors behind it. Gray doesn’t shy away from portraying the real impact on both the addict and the ones who love them. This portrayal is magnified by it’s small town setting where everyone seems to have an opinion and no one can keep a secret. In some ways, it is a difficult story to read because the reader gets as emotionally entangled with the characters as they are with each other.
You feel the struggle Laila has loving a man she cannot trust. You empathize with Chad who wants desperately to prove his love to his wife, but who still wrestles with sobriety. Their soul mate connection adds another level to all the feelings this story arouses. Because this story goes to some pretty intense and dark places which make you wonder if restoration is even possible.
But, that is the beauty of Chad and Laila’s journey and also the beauty of Tammy Gray’s writing. No matter how impossible things appear, there is a thread of hope which eventually appears to rescue both the readers and the characters. And I love that it comes after such hopelessness and despair. It is a needed reminder that no one is ever past the reach of mercy and forgiveness.
From Tammy Gray’s first release I have been impressed with her courage to give a voice to those who are captives of darkness. From eating disorders, to bullying, to domestic violence, she shines light on subjects that most people are hesitant to address. In doing so, she also enlightens those who have been fortunate enough to have never experienced such things. And with each new release, Gray’s truth and storytelling skills increase.
If you have never read one of her books, I urge you to give them a try. You will definitely get your money’s worth and you may even find yourself developing compassion for the brokenhearted and downtrodden.