Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: A Fragile Hope

A Fragile Hope
By Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon Press, 2017


Hope grows when seeds are planted-even in the muddy middle of life.

Josiah Chamberlain's life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife's unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she's unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.

Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

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My thoughts

A Fragile Hope … compelling, relevant, gripping, provocative, challenging, heartwrenching … but above all, filled with hope. This story spoke to me on many levels.

Josiah isn’t all that likeable in the beginning, and I wasn’t sure that he would ever be. He’s a self-absorbed man who expects his wife to be there when he needs her – until she isn’t. He’s the marriage counselor who doesn’t know where to turn when his own marriage is slipping away. A frustrating misunderstanding drives the story, and a hospital is the main setting. Much of the story is told from Josiah’s point of view because of Karin’s condition, yet I was surprised at how well I got to know Karin through the clever revealing of her thoughts.

I loved how, in the midst of all the drama, a thread of humor is ever present. And I particularly cared about two supporting characters – Josiah’s father-in-law and a fellow waiting room mom who became his mentor.

On one level, this is a highly entertaining story that grabbed me from the very first page and never let go – but that would just be the surface. When it comes to storytelling and writing style, Cynthia Ruchti is in a class all her own. Without a doubt, her writing ministers; it’s a balm to the soul. A Fragile Hope touches the heart and is capable of bringing comfort and healing. Spiritual elements aren’t overpowering, but you will see Jesus within its pages. Through Josiah’s journey, we see a reflection of what love looks like – a human love that ever-so-slowly comes to reflect the agape love modeled for us by Jesus.

A Fragile Hope is the type of book to read with a highlighter in hand. With its focus on sacrifice, forgiveness and unconditional love in the midst of circumstances where they make no sense and should be humanly impossible, this story challenged me. I give A Fragile Hope the highest of recommendations and place it on my “best of the best” list.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, nonfiction books, articles and devotionals, drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry. Ruchti has written more than 20 award-winning novels, novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals. Her books have received numerous awards and nominations, including the RT Reviewers' Choice, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year nominations, two Selah Awards, Christian Retailing's BEST, was an ACFW Carol Award finalist and a Christy finalist, among other honors. Her latest release is the novel A Fragile Hope.

One of Ruchti's greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she has served as worship and devotions staff and faculty for the Write-to-Publish conference and teaches at other writers' conferences across the country and internationally as opportunities arise. She also serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.

Ruchti speaks frequently for women's groups and serves on her church's worship team. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.


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