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The Hope of Times to Come


Loved it! 😍

A heartfelt family drama about grief, loss, forgiveness, and finding the strength to survive and thrive

This was a heartfelt family drama about grief, loss, forgiveness, and finding the strength to survive and thrive.

It is a story of second chance romance, but so much more -- there are mystery/thriller elements, as well as heart-wrenching abuse in the childhood trauma of each of the two main characters. Both characters are fully developed, and we get to see each of their lives' journeys after they separated as children: the slow crumble of Dorothy's marriage as the wayward children eventually built a wedge between her and her husband, and Raymond's former relationship that ended in tragedy, as well as his allegiance to his disabled sister until her death.

I loved how they took their time to find each other again, each carrying their own baggage, and I appreciated the friendships they each had -- particularly Raymond, who began helping his neighbour Joanne as he felt inexplicably drawn into her fraught relationship with her partner. All the relationships were beautifully described and you can feel the emotion in each separate story, as well as the elation when Raymond and Dorothy do finally reconnect and find that there are still deep feelings there -- and maybe there is still even a spark.

Though I enjoyed the novel, this is a very slow-burn of a story -- it's worth it to get all the way there, but it is not for readers without patience! Also, it did take me some time to get used to the storytelling style that mixes Raymond in first person and then Dorothy in third person (it may have worked better for me with both first person, or both third person) but this may be my own pet peeve! Nevertheless the writing was excellent, and I'm glad I kept on reading to finally understand all the connections between the characters. However, there are two main threads that weave Raymond's and Dorothy's stories together, and I wished that one of the main points in the last chapter was revealed in the "present" timeline rather than referred to in the past tense -- this was a disappointment as I'd been waiting to see it happen!

Nevertheless, overall this was an enjoyable story that will lift your spirits, and I would recommend for readers who appreciate authors similar to Nicholas Sparks. It takes you on an emotional journey as you get to know these characters, all of whom feel very real -- their pain, their anguish, their failures in life, and yet their indomitable spirit to build a family with each other out of the ashes of dysfunction. The lasting message here is that it is never too late to find happiness -- and that happiness lies in the people you love, above all else. I look forward to more by this author.

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About the author

François Houle’s first novel "It Happened to Us" spent multiple weeks in 2019 as an Amazon top 100 best seller in two categories. Reviews often refer to his books as “beautifully written,” “heartbreaking and heartwarming,” and “intense and emotional.” François is the author of five novels. view profile

Published on April 12, 2022

70000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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