I don’t typically read Christian or inspirational fiction, so I doubt I would have read Hope at Dawn had I realized it qualified as an inspirational romance. I’m a Christian, but I still don’t want to read Jesus Jesus Jesus in my fiction.
Hope at Dawn is pretty subtle in its inspirational message, which is why I kept reading (plus I hate to leave a NetGalley book unfinished). There’s actually no mention of Jesus, just God (let’s save the Trinity discussion for later), which works well as far as the flow of a story and not alienating non-Christians.
OK, now on to the story.
I really liked Livy and Friedrich. They’re super down to earth, hard-working, and willing to admit mistakes and change their thinking. But I didn’t get a sense of chemistry between them. They often refer to their relationship (until the very end of the story) as a “friendship.” Talk about killing the mood. And it did feel like just a friendship. Even the kissing lacked passion (even as much as is allowed in an inspirational romance). The romance (or lack thereof) is not what kept me reading.
The other aspects of the story, that of the extreme prejudice and discrimination against people of German descent, as well as anyone showing any support or friendship, is eerily similar to many other periods of American history in the past hundred years: Japanese people on the West Coast during the second World War, anti-Communist fervor in the middle part of the century, and the Civil Rights Movement, to name just three. Henrie does not shy away from showing how terrible and nasty people can be when they’re afraid.
If you’re looking for a great love story, Hope at Dawn isn’t it. If you’re looking for a good story…
P.S. Hope at Dawn is the first in a series, but based on the excerpt of the second installment included in my copy, I will not be reading the rest of the series.