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A comforting tale emerges from a scene of horror

This novel is gently respectful and real, not overly blunt, and soft enough so that you'll land unhurt at the end. It's a little predictable, too, but comfortably so.

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"A Reason for Hope" by Kristin von Kreisler.
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Bad things happen to good people.

This is something you know, but why you? When the worst can happen, why does it? Were you were born under unlucky stars or with terrible karma? Maybe you're just some poor, forgotten schlub in the universal scheme of things. Or maybe, as in the new book "A Reason for Hope" by Kristin von Kreisler, there's something better in store for you.

It had been far too long.

That's what Tessa Jordan's best friend, Emma, said about Tessa's love life. It had been years since Tessa'd broken up with her last boyfriend and she wasn't meeting men at her bookmobile job, so Emma pushed her to do something. That was when Tessa went on the local dating site near her San Juan Island, Washington, home.

That was when Tessa met Nick Payne.

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"A Reason for Hope" author Kristin von Kreisler and friend.jpg
"A Reason for Hope" author Kristin von Kreisler and friend.
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She'd seen his face before. Everybody had; Nick was running for City Council and his campaign signs were everywhere. That he would reach out to her on the dating site was flattering, and their first date was fun.

The second was a nightmare.

Nick had invited Tessa to his house for a cookout with his brother but when she got there, the brother had "canceled." She stayed, but halfway through her second glass of wine, Tessa began to feel weird. The next thing she knew, it was morning, she was woozy and naked, and Nick was leering at her from the other side of the bed.

She didn't ask for this. Did he rape her?

Tessa wasn't sure but two days later, after Emma talked her into going to the police, they confirmed it.

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There are two things you should know about "A Reason for Hope," and the first one is very important, so heed this now: if you're a victim of assault or date rape, tread carefully around this book. Author Kristin von Kreisler has included many pages of highly authentic details into her story, and they may send you reeling. Don't take this lightly.

The other thing to know is that this book is gently respectful  about all the above. It's real, but not bluntly so. It's soft, but only so you land unhurt at the end. It's very predictable — you'll probably have that ending figured out by page 26 — but the predictability feels comfortable. Even the dog seems quite cliched, but readers won't likely want it any other way.

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Despite its uniformity with other books in this genre, "A Reason for Hope" is tightly-crafted, not sloppy, and not too unnecessarily contrived. It's enjoyable but again, beware. With caveats in place, "A Reason to Hope" ain't too bad.

Book notes

"A Reason for Hope" by Kristin von Kreisler is available at Barnes & Noble at Apache Mall and through online booksellers.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on the prairie in Wisconsin with one man, two dogs and 16,000 books. Look for her at bookwormsez.com or bookwormsez on Twitter.

Bookworm — Terri Schlichenmeyer column sig

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