Publisher: Eloquent Books
Received: Signed copy directly from author for honest review
Peter and Tara Miller are the image of perfection. They have three beautiful children, live in a wonderful neighborhood, and are still each other's best friend. When their world completely disintegrates within a short period of time, their daughter must survive the aftermath. Creating a new persona, Samantha finally breaks free and discovers that the real world is not much kinder than her dysfunctional family. Emotionally shattered, the solace of the ocean, and a loving dog, carry her on her way. Samantha meets Timothy Bleak, who was raised in a seemingly kind, loving family, but is virtually invisible to them. His voice goes unheard, his needs are unmet, and his emotions are squashed. Timothy summons the strength to leave his family, and discovers Samantha in his journey. Restored Hope follows these two bereft young people as their lives intertwine and they face the challenges of life, love and happiness together.
Restored Hope is a roller coaster of a ride through the life of Samantha as she grows up with so many emotionally crippling situations in her life. She grew up in a dysfunctional family - things started out great, but slid downhill quickly with the deaths of her brothers and then her mothers depression. She had to grow up quickly and was relied upon for a great deal more than she should have had to.
Along the way I felt like I was right there with Samantha as she realized everyone in her life left her whether they meant to or not. Family members die, friends slowly drift away and boyfriends come and go. I completely felt the emotional devastation she was feeling throughout her life: "The final abandonment... now everyone in her family had left her, she truly was alone." (pg 83) She found a way to completely recreate a life for herself on her terms. This is what makes her such a strong character.
I am an emotional person and cry at everything and this book had me in tears many times both for happy and sad reasons. The are a lot of traumatic experiences in this book, yet they are all completely believable - they could easily happen to any one of us. There are many happy and cheerful scenes as well - finding true love, learning unconditional love, learning what family truly is.
The biggest theme in this book is HOPE. Having hope through all of the challenges that life throws your way is exactly how Samantha would tell you to live your life. She is an excellent mentor for showing someone they can pick up the pieces and start a new life: they just need to have hope and believe in themselves. Hope is the one thing that can bring people together no matter their background or situation.
"...falling in love with you restored my hope in life and love." (pg 264)