4 out of 4 stars
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Chancing Hope by Lisa Slater is a romance novel about Kerwyn Bartel and Mable Conner who are longtime childhood best friends. Kerwyn is a talented horse trainer. When he was young, an extremely respected rancher had put him in charge of checking the small section of his pasture. A tiny piece of this land branched out right between Kerwyn's father's small parcel and a tiny yellow house just on the outskirts of town. Mable Conner was nine when she and her mama had moved into that yellow house. Since then, Kerwyn assumed the duty of checking on both her and her mama regularly.
As a boy, Kerwyn had become Mable's closest and most trusted friend. He was her role model, playmate, and protector, all in one. When he began developing into a man, she found him alluring and soon realized that she has romantic feelings for him. Kerwyn felt the same towards Mable, but believed that he should set her free once she decides to leave and pursue her dream to become a singer. Determined to not hold her back, he kept his feelings to himself.
When mysterious, loner Devin Hill began interfering, things had changed drastically. These changes they encounter might not be what either of them had expected.
I had a hard time putting this book down. This romance novel is not just a typical love story of best friends who fall in love with each other. It's so much more than that.
Let me start with the characters. I fell in love with Kerwyn and Mable. Their characters were rich and colorful, their relationship poignant. I liked Kerwyn from the very beginning. He was a responsible son and took his job very seriously even at a young age. He was an old soul and very protective of Mable. He was as beautiful as he was stubborn when it comes to confessing his feelings for his best friend.
I had fond feelings for Mable. She was adorably funny when she was still very young. She was a loving daughter. Becoming a woman, she's a feminine beauty with a powerful singing voice. I could totally relate with her affection for animals. She was as beautiful as she was annoyingly silly.
Devin Hill was one of the most memorable characters in this novel. Aside from his inexplicable character, he was the one who caused the drastic change in Kerwyn and Mable's relationship. I wish the author expounded more on his past. As miscreant as his character was, he was curiously interesting. There are other characters in the book who were also enthralling. There are interesting subplots centered on these characters. I think the author did an incredible job of making the characters real and relatable.
I also had fun reading about the different breeds of horses mentioned in this story. I enjoyed learning a thing or two about their abilities. I dreamed of having a ranch so I found the story's setting really fascinating.
There are also quotable phrases and notions that could be applied in real life, like "having fun is just as important as working". For me, a good writing contains remarkable lines that make reader stop and ponder the words, their meaning and intent. I found many great phrases and life lessons in this book.
All in all, Chancing Hope was a much deeper read than I originally expected. I was pulled in from the first page and immersed in Kerwyn and Mable's world. While the book is mainly a romance, there were unpredictable suspenseful events to keep the readers engaged until the very end. I've thought about the characters long since I finished reading. They are so real that a reader believes their lives continue long after the last page.
There are a few minor typographical errors. Nonetheless, they are very unnoticeable.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I was engrossed from the first page until the last. The plot and the characters are remarkable. The whole story is bittersweetly satisfying, but at the same time, will make you crave for more. I recommend this book to those who are looking for a coming of age, heartfelt novel with emotional twists.
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