Book Review: Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Embracing Hope Janell Butler Wojtowicz book review

The synopsis on the back of the book: 

Take a poignant look at the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future. 

Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

  • Genre: Christian Romance
  • Published: 11/2016
  • Pages: 360
  • Goodreads raiting: 4.39 Stars
Embracing Hope Janell Butler Wojtowicz book review
Consider today the first mile of your journey. Many more miles lie ahead, some with curves, speed bumps, and detours, but I guarantee the destination will be worth it when you follow his road map.
— Embracing Hope

Why I Choose This Book

Janell and I met through Twitter. She is such a sweet lady. She was so kind to offer me to review her book for free. I also loved the synopsis and thought it would be a wonderful read! 

First Initial Thoughts

Drew is a recent widow. At the beginning, he is haunted by the memories of his wife who passed a year prior. He hires Allison to help him in the student office. Even though he is young, attractive, and very successful in his life, his grief is slowly tearing him apart. I wanted to jump right through the pages and give him a big hug. He needed one! 

Allison is a hard-working student. She has multiple scholarships and works part-time to help cover the cost of her college degree. On top of that, she excels in her school work and makes the honor roll a few times. What I liked about Allison is that she overcame a lot of obstacles in life, yet had the determination to pursue her dreams and goals in life. I really admired that. 

Chris, another character in the story. Even though he is not the main character, he plays an important role in the story. Especially with Allison. In the beginning of the novel, he is quite angry with God. He often doubts himself and gets into some trouble later on in the book. 


Janell did a great job in creating the world in this story. She has a unique literary voice and I liked that. What I appreciated about her writing is that she developed the characters well over time, and also made you feel attached to them. That is a sign of a good book! 

The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
— Zephaniah 3:17

Final Thoughts

Prepare for tissues, everyone! You will need them!!

What I really liked about this book, is that it didn't sugar coat things. It didn't shy away from topics such as grief and trauma. When Drew talked about his wife's death with Allison I could absolutely feel his pain. I have lost loved ones in the past but losing a spouse has to be one of the hardest a person has to go through. Grief is often a hard topic to cover and Janell did it well. 

Allison and Drew are slowly drawn together and I liked that it wasn't all about their romance. They had to face some difficult things throughout the novel, and I appreciated that. What I liked is that Janell emphasized is that life isn't always pretty and I like when stories aren't all sugar plums and fairies. This story covers difficult topics like alcoholism, grief, depression, assault, and suicide. I admire when authors can write about such topics because we need them more in literature. We need to encourage people that there is hope. Hope that things will turn around the for the better. 

I also could feel like I could personally relate to the characters in the story. At one point in my life, I felt like God wasn't there when I needed him the most. That he wasn't listening to my prayers for help. I was angry at him for a long time. Not until recently have I let God back into my life and forgive him. I learned that he was there all along, even though I didn't realize it at the time. 

This story reminds us that even though our darkest times, God is there. Have hope that things will get better, despite the circumstances presented. It also emphasizes on that God will forgive you for your sins, and will always love you. 

Would I Recommend?

Yes, I definitely recommend this book! However, there are certain scenes in the book that might cause some triggers for some people who have experienced emotional trauma or sexual assault. If you are sensitive to these topics, proceed with caution. 


Thank you, Janell for gifting me this amazing book! I hope you decide to read it. I think even though it is a hard book to read emotionally, there are important lessons to be learned in the story. Have you read this book? If so, share your thoughts in the comments! 

You can purchase the book---> HERE

I hope you had a wonderful New Years Eve! Happy 2018!!

the  caffeinated bibliophile