Book Review: Embracing Hope~5 Stars


I want to thank R&R Book Tours and Janell Butler Wojtowicz for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

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Take a poignant look into the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future.

Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

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I give this book 5 out of 5 Hope Driven Stars! Okay I am going to start out saying, this book was just sweet and amazing! I personally have faith and I am an open minded Christian but I was still a little skeptical at first with this book. I thought I hope it’s not a book where it has those judgemental kind of Christians or that it would be your generic boy meets girl. I am telling you I couldn’t have been more wrong. This book was intense at moments and had so much depth to it. This book was also so realistic.

Drew and Allison were both broken people and they felt hopeless and at times they even blamed God for it all.

Seeing how the story ended up and how intense things got, I personally felt more hope with my circumstances. I have been asking God “Why???? Haven’t I suffered enough?”. Well reading this story it truly helped me see that I shouldn’t give up hope. This book also showed that people shouldn’t judge and we are good enough.

This story was well written and I loved the romance. There wasn’t instant love. It took Drew time and it showed his grief. I’m glad the author decided to show that someone just couldn’t instantly fall in love after losing their spouse because grief just takes time.

All around, I couldn’t recommend this book enough. The passion and depth that is woven through these pages created a masterpiece and will surely give you hope. This was one of those books that will stick with you long after reading it.

I hope everyone has a blessed holiday weekend!📚💖🎁🎄❄🎀

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. She wrote stories for her own enjoyment, including a short story about a teenage drug addict—something of which she knew nothing about. Her cousin illustrated the cover using Halloween orange paper featuring a hypodermic needle.

Janell attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning a bachelor’s degree in, naturally, Written Communication, adding a Journalism Emphasis. She returned to Iowa where she worked as a reporter/editor at three small town newspapers for 10 years.

Janell left the small town Iowa life when she married, Frank Wojtowicz, a family friend who lived in Minneapolis. (By the way, her Polish last name is pronounced “Why-tow-vitch.) She worked in public relations at her alma mater, the University of Northwestern; Leadership Foundations, a nonprofit organization supporting inner-city Christian ministries; and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Today, Janell owns a freelance service, A Portrait in Words, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Much of Janell’s writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel, “Embracing Hope.” The idea for the novel came after watching a BBC version of “Jane Eyre” in 2007. That night she dreamed the beginning, pivotal scene in the middle and the ending of “Embracing Hope”, and began writing it the next day. Unlike her first story, she was very familiar with the setting of “Embracing Hope”: a Christian college campus.

She and Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota, a pleasant suburb of the Twin Cities. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law, and three step-granddaughters.

36 thoughts on “Book Review: Embracing Hope~5 Stars

  1. No matter how sad or somber things might get, there is one thing that one must never lose and that is hope. I think we all have those days at one point where we throw up our hands and shout out to heaven out loud :” Why?”. At times it even seems that there is never going to be any light at all. But…I have always found that eventually there will always happen things that make life worth living. I certainly have my faith in God, and though at times it might falter, I have never lost it completely.
    And as for the things that make life worth it: meeting people such as yourself is definitely high on my list of those things! 😊😍😘 I hope your upcoming holiday weekend will bring you much love and all around goodness, because if there is anyone that deserves that: it is you😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for those kind word Michel. This book really did help with my loss of hope. Like things got intense and deep. I wouldn’t even really put it in the romance category all the way but it was awesome. I am a Christian and I don’t belive in all the same things as some but I still believe in the same God and we all fall short. I am thankful to read this book because it’s been awhile since I read a inspirational book. I use to read the love inspired romances often but this one had more to it and really made me think about things. Thanks for being such an amazing, supportive and awesome friend!😘💖 I hope you had a great night! Xoxo

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m glad that this book managed to give you some more inspiration and hope. It’s always really incredible when someone’s writing is able to achieve that.
        I have lost hope quite a number of times as well, especially this year as some really crappy things have happened, but in some ways I always rediscover it in the end.
        I really want to thank you as well Dani. Your kindness and support really mean the world to me. I really enjoy our friendship and I’m just very glad we met 😘
        I hope you are feeling a little bit better and that the upcoming days will be filled with joy and will manage to at least not give you any more pain. Please take care 😘

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Christian romance? Not my thing at all. That said, I am very pleased if it gave you hope and inspiration, as you truly deserve all the good things that you can get into your life.
    My very best seasonal wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did that surprise you Pete? Lol. Yes, I am a Christian but far from a conventional one. I was actually very goth and into Wicca when I was younger and when I was 15 I had an experience that changed my beliefs. I tried to kill myself and took a lot of pills. My grandmother found me completely out of it and took me to the E.R. Well I ended up dying for a minute on the table. All I know is that suddenly I felt all this horrible darkness that completely was suffocating me and I was at the ceiling looking down at myself and my grandma fought the nurses rushed in and started praying over me. I felt this tug like I could physically feel. Things went a bit crazy but pretty much I cried out to God that if he saved me I would believe in him. Then suddenly I woke up or came back alive technically and with all the tubes and darn paddles I just knew what happened to me was real.
      A lot of people that meet me are surprised of my faith but I am more spiritual than religious. I also am all about free love and support everyone’s beliefs or lack or beliefs. It’s not my place to judge anyone and I think diversity is beautiful. Sorry about the rambling on but lol about the book I would think it was more of a drama in a lot of ways. It focuses on pulling yourself together and having hope after tragedy and loss. I recently had some lost and trauma in my life and the character’s had very similar situations. Anywho, thank you so much for your feedback and support my friend!😘🤗 You are a great man Pete! You even inspire me as well. When I read some of your posts they just really give me hope and your style of writing is just amazing! Thanks again for always being there Pete even if it’s not your thing. Different strokes for different folks!😉 Hope your you, your family and Ollie🐶 enjoy the holiday season.💖🎄🎁🎀❄😘☃🤗

      Liked by 3 people

      • Dani, YOU have a story!! Talk about real life drama! Have you thought about telling it? (I’m not volunteering for the job! 🙂 ) You’re not the only reviewer in recent weeks to shy away from the “romance” label. Good! I consider that a compliment. I see it as Christian fiction with romantic elements; there are many authors who write in this “sub-genre.” I still cringe a bit admitting I wrote a Christian romance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I definitely agree with you Janell that there is romance elements to it and would be like a sub genre. I never thought about telling my story and don’t tell most that because usually embarrassed by my suicidal attempts but I knew Pete is someone I could trust!😊 I was considering writing a psychological thriller that would be based on a true story and is a unique idea. I would say its crazier real life drama then this but I guess its about perspective. I have some rare conditions and went through some very crazy circumstances when I was younger but other authors and reviewers said it wod be a great idea but the whole writing thing…. Lol. I’m not the best at writing it out but my brain has all the information and ideas. It is a pretty wild story so I think it would intrigue people. The only problem is opening up to so many about what you went through and a rare diagnosis you face just is scary. I’m still trying to find my way. I am stuck on bed rest and think a book would be great but maybe I should get a ghost writer or something.🤔 Sorry I tend to ramble on about things but thanks for sharing your story with us! Your book was amazing and very well written! Congrats!💖

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was not surprised that you have your faith, Dani. I just didn’t know they wrote books about Christian Romance. 🙂
        Even though I am not religious, I am always inspired by how peoples’ faiths give them comfort, fulfillment, and inner peace. So, if it works for them, that’s fine with me.
        Thanks as always for your kind words.
        Best wishes, Pete. x

        Liked by 3 people

      • Sorry I rambled on last night with this post!😰 I didn’t realize I shared this but I agree Pete even though I have faith and not religious more of have a personal relationship I think whatever someone believes and whatever gives them inspiration and hope then it’s fantastic! Even if someone just believes in themselves that can be the most powerful thing of all!😊 You would be surprised how many different genres they have Pete! Sometimes I am really surprised!😉 They have ones such as; Bizarro fiction, Dying Earth fiction, femslash fiction, Jiangshi fiction, Post Cyber Punk fiction and much more. I don’t know what most of these mean to be honest but saw them either in stores or online. Also you’re welcome and thanks for your kind words as well. I love your open mindness and kindness! Both amazing traits!😍

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for your comments everyone. I’m so glad this topic about hope has touched your heart in some way, even without reading the book. My publisher helped me flesh out the “action” aspect of hope, so he gets some of the credit, too. We agreed that while the book was a “good read” it also had a message people needed to hear: Hope is out there but sometimes you have to go after it! During the nine-year quest to write and publish EH, the loss of hope and asking God “Why?” hit close to home: my dad died after a brief battle with brain cancer and my nephew was killed in a plane crash at age 26. My family doubted, asked questions that didn’t have answers, and got angry at God. But we had to trust that the Lord was in control and we have the hope that someday we’ll be reunited with our loved ones!

    Liked by 1 person

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