TITLE: Between Hope and the Highway
AUTHOR: Charissa Stastny
RELEASE DATE: September 20th 2016
GENRE(S): Romance, Western
STAR RATING: 5 ∗∗∗∗∗
“MOVIE” RATING: PG
Wow. I don’t think I’ve cried so much or laughed so much while I’ve read a book in my entire life. This book was quite a roller coaster experience and it was completely worth it! Lately I’ve been in a bit of a book rut from books that I just didn’t think were as good as I wanted them to be. But once I was 30 pages into this book, I was hooked.
The characters are so dynamic and each have such a depth to them that it blows my mind the author could fit it all into 450 pages. Although I was surprised at the length of this book, each word and chapter reached out to me and I became attached to each of her characters so easily and continually throughout the book. It was incredible how much Liz, Bentley, and Rawson grew as the story progressed. The character development was on point! I fell in love with Liz and everything she went through, her struggles with her family, the heartache from losing someone close to her, trying to stick with her beliefs but also trying to be a good person. So much happened. And Bentley, whoa. What a strong guy. Both inside and outside, he was probably my favorite person to read about and enjoy.
The story is told by three different main characters: Liz, Bentley, and Rawson. Each chapter rotates through the characters and they typically aren’t very long; there were over 80 chapters. Although this was certainly different from other books that I’ve read, it made me want to read more and faster because the chapters were short and easy to read “quickly”. The only thing that I hesitate with this book is that I was confused at times which character was telling the story. Because they were so short, I sometimes had to flip back to remind myself who had taken over for that chunk. Other than that, I read through this book faster than an avalanche of syrup down a stack of hotcakes!
I’ve read quite a few books by LDS authors and I’ve noticed that the story lines are usually the same: one of the love interests are LDS and the other isn’t, the book is then spent following the conversion story of the latter and ending with them getting married and living happily ever after. Usually an easy, simple plot. However, I was SO happy to read this one because it’s completely different from the rest. The story was told how a REAL scenario would be like. Nothing LDS that cropped up in your face that took up the whole novel and the characters were struggling through real-life problems and heartache. Not that I dislike the typical LDS novel, but this one was particularly refreshing to read and that it included some great romance and dialogue to boot! I definitely will be keeping an eye on Charissa Stastny and her future works to come. THIS WAS AMAZING!
ABOUT Charissa Stastny:
Charissa Stastny is an avid reader, happy writer, BYU graduate, and lover of irises, clouds, chocolate, sushi, and the outdoors. Though she was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, she has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She does shuffle kids, laundry, and church responsibilities rather well though. She has lived in Nevada and Idaho, but currently resides in Utah with her husband and four children where shuffling cards isn’t required. She is the author of four books and ‘imagine-eer’ of many more.