Room for Hope

Written by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Review by Elizabeth Knowles

In 1936 Kansas, Neva Shilling helps her husband run their mercantile and cares for their twins while Warren goes out of town selling merchandise from a wagon. She is devastated when deputy Jesse Caudel brings her three young children, telling her that Warren and his “wife” have died, and that Warren’s last wish was that “Aunt Neva” care for these children. Neva grieves for her husband while absorbing the fact that he had had a secret family. With difficulty, she runs the family mercantile alone while coping with three new children. All five – Bud, Belle, Charley, Cassie, and Adeline – are traumatized. Neighboring business owner Arthur Randall wants to buy the store, and Neva must discourage him as she ponders plans for the children. She can keep them, but she may not be able to love them.

This Christian story explores the characters against a backdrop of small-town life during the Depression. The plot seems a little obvious in the beginning, but the author provides surprises as the story twists through a good deal of unhappiness. By the satisfying resolution, more than one character has grown in strength.