Anchor of Hope by Kiah Stephens
February 24, 2015

27 year old Ashley Harper has it all – a secure job in the city, a cozy apartment in a great neighbourhood, and a high-profile boyfriend who is on his way to becoming one of New York’s top business attorneys. She is successful and has it all. . . or so she thought. After fleeing from Sweet Home eight years ago following the devastating death of her father, Ashley vowed she would never return. But when her mother decides to get married there, Ashley is forced to return to the sleepy, little town she once called home in country Oregon. 

Having to spend an entire week in the very place she fought so hard to escape she expects to find nothing but anger, resentment, and hostility but instead finds forgiveness, love – and her ex-boyfriend, Jay. Things are not what she expected in Sweet Home. Once again, Ashley finds herself at a crossroads. Faced with an impossible decision – should she trust her head and return to her life in the city and live the life of luxury she has worked so hard to achieve, or should she trust Gods’ gentle guiding and follow her heart back home.

Kiah Stephens is a new author and this is her debut novel. Anchor of Hope is set in Oregon and it follows the story of Ashley Harper as she returns to Sweet Home for her mother’s wedding and lands smack in the middle of her past, with ex-boyfriend Jay being a key player. We watch as Ashley sorts out what truly matters to her and where her heart really lies.

The majority of the book is a nice, and at times, an engaging read. Ms. Stephens has a nice writing style that lends itself to readers well. The story generally clips along at a fairly nice pace for most of the novel, but there were times in the middle where events seemed quite slow and I was eager for the pace to pick up again.

Ashley is a conflicted character. I found her hard to understand, as her actions and words were often inconsistent. Ashley has redefined herself after the loss of her father and as a result aspects of her character changed too. For me, the change was not clearly presented or defined enough for me to get a real understanding of who this person is and what she really wants from herself. This made it hard to like her and relate to her. Jay’s interactions with Ashley helped me to understand Ashley better, but she still remained inconsistent throughout most of the book.

Jay is a more solidly written and defined character. It is clear that he knows who he is and what he wants, which made him more likeable. Watching Jay and Ashley together was fun. It is really clear they know each other well and enjoyed their time together and that their attraction is still there. Watching Jay try and bring Ashley some direction in her life through his faith was fairly well handed, though it was out of the blue.

Unfortunately there were a few typos and errors in the text and this detracted from the enjoyment of the story.

I was in the end wanting Jay and Ashley to sort out their relationship and whilst the journey was often inconsistent, it was still the happy ending the reader is looking for.

A nice, happy read. Could have been even better with more consistent and defined characters, and a bit of polishing.