Today’s recommendation is a little different than usual. Not only did I post a review, but I have a guest post by the author herself.
Massive thanks to Brigham for having me and allowing me to talk a little about Redeeming Hope. As my first work of original fiction, Redeeming Hope is so very special to me. No matter what happens with sales or reviews, I know I’ll look back at this month and smile. Rather than writing specifically about the book (because you can follow my blog tour and see lots of questions/answers about that), I thought I’d share a little about the inspiration behind it. When I chose Adam’s profession (founder of an LGBT youth center), I felt that for him, his job—which is also his passion—would be a huge defining factor in who he is as a person. So I started researching LGBT centers. What I found was both heartening and heartbreaking.
First of all, there aren’t nearly enough places for LGBT youth to find refuge. My prayer is that one day that changes because there will be far fewer LGBT youth needing them, but where I currently live, someone would have to travel at least an hour to find one, and that’s not that bad compared to a lot of places. I happen to be an hour from a major city. Secondly, some of the stories of the youth that I read are nothing short of miraculous. The strength these kids have is amazing, and there aren’t enough people speaking out for them. Redeeming Hope is clearly a work of fiction, but I can promise you that the youth in the story are real. And for every Kollin, who finds hope in other people who care about him immediately, there’s a Brian, who didn’t make it and the world may never know exactly why.
For those of you fortunate enough to be near an LGBT center, have the time, the compassion, the energy, and the willingness to be a visible ally, I encourage you to do so. There aren’t enough out there and you never know the difference you might make in someone’s life.
I’m so proud of this book because several people have told me how connected they felt to the characters, how realistic the youth at the center came across, and how invested they became in their lives. I feel very blessed that with my first venture into publishing, I was able to tell a story about something close to my heart.
Fifteen years ago Elijah Langley’s world came to an abrupt halt with the death of his high school boyfriend. He keeps his past—and his sexual orientation—hidden until he attends a fundraiser for The Center for HOPE, an LGBT youth center, where he meets Adam Lancaster, HOPE’s infuriatingly stubborn and sexy founder.
A survivor of a turbulent childhood, Adam understands better than most the challenges his youth face. He’s drawn to Elijah’s baby blues and devilish smile but refuses to compromise his values and climb back into the closet for anyone—not even the man showering time and money on HOPE. Months of constant flirting wear down Adam’s resolve until he surrenders to his desires, but Elijah can’t shake his demons.
When a youth from the center is brutally assaulted, Elijah must find a way to confront the fears and memories that are starting to ruin his life, so he can stand strong for those he loves.
Shell Taylor’s debut novel, “Redeeming Hope,” certainly wasn’t a quick boy-meets-boy, fall in love, and live happily ever after type of story. It wasn’t an easy road for Adam and Eli to travel. It was, however, a wonderful story and well-worth reading.
Eli is a successful, closeted bisexual businessman with a past that haunts him and Adam is a hard-working man who runs a non-profit center for LGBT youth called HOPE. There’s a strong attraction from the beginning, but a series of misunderstandings and some serious issues stand in the way of them pursuing it.
The issue of LGBT youth homelessness was handled perfectly. It brought attention to a serious problem without ever seeming preachy or overblown and the kids’ stories tugged at my heartstrings in a natural, sincere way.
One of the kids from the center, Kollin, plays a huge role in the story. He has a great sense of humor and his banter with Eli was one of my favorite parts. Along with a cast of other fantastic characters, Kollin helps Eli see what his life has been missing. The journey all of the characters make is wonderful and I enjoyed the realistic growth they experienced along the way.
My favorite part of the story was the way all of their lives changed when Eli and Adam met. The ripples from that meeting spread outward to include the kids at the center, their friends, family, and a large part of that community.
I am so excited to read the next book in the series and I really enjoyed the teaser at the end. Of course, I’ll be biting my nails and anxiously awaiting its release because it sounds VERY intriguing.