Book Review: Never Without Hope
Written by Michelle Sutton
Reviewed by Nike Chillemi –
There’s something about Michelle Sutton’s Never Without Hope that kept me turning pages. Maybe it was because the author hooked me and got me to desperately want things to get better for heroine Hope Williams. But the author wouldn’t allow that to happen. Throughout most of the novel consequences keep piling up due to Hope’s sexual sin. It was as if every time Hope took a step forward, somebody dropped a proverbial safe on her head.
This novel goes where many fear to read, into the arena of male erectile dysfunction and what happens in an otherwise happy marriage when this medical condition occurs.
The novel opens with Hope is in a world of hurt. James, the husband she loves and desires has had waning desire for her for almost a year and their sex life has been nonexistent the past six months. Aching for affection in her marriage bed, Hope tires to communicate with James about the issue and he angrily rebuffs her. When she tries to seductively entice him back into the marriage bed, he actually pushes her, physically hurting her and humiliating her. After that, she is easy pickings for the extra-marital affairs she feels herself slipping into. However, Biblically, one could argue her husband had already broken their marriage vows by leaving Hope so bereft of affection in the marriage bed. Be that as it may, the author doesn’t in any way excuse Hope for her mistakes.
To her credit, Hope does not dwell on the speck in her husband’s eye, but rather, she fully focuses on the issue of her own sin. The author depicts for us the metamorphosis of a church going Christian wife and mother who has slipped from saint to sinner. She has failed not just her family, but her God. In fact, Hope fears her sin has become so deeply rooted and pervasive in her life that God cannot forgive her. She has been drinking from another woman’s well. Yes, Hope is sleeping with another woman’s husband.
The author skillfully moves Hope through a series of emotionally devastating situations to the point where she discovers God’s love, grace, and redemption.
If I’m going to be a bit nit-picky, I’d have to say at times I got a bit tired of Hope’s first person narrative. I would have enjoyed having the story broken up some, perhaps with a scene here and there in James point-of-view.
Even thought it was Hope’s story, I felt horribly for James. The man, so frustrated and debased by his sexual dysfunction, refused not only to discuss this with his wife, he also would not see a doctor. James suffers a heart attack and discovers his erectile dysfunction was a symptom of heart disease. His treatment is successful and he and Hope begin working through their trust, marital, emotional, and spiritual issues.
This novel falls squarely into the category of edgy Christian fiction. There are some explicit scenes. However, this book just might ease the pain of a woman in the throes of an affair and help her to find her way out of that bad situation. It certainly offers spiritual encouragement to any woman with an affair in her past. This novel encourages the reader to deeper faith.