“Loving” by Corin Hughs

Hannah Mattox has Pulmonary Hypertension, a heart disease that prevents her from safely bearing children. Karla Valez is a homeless prostitute who despises the “thing” growing inside her and hopes to kill it in-utero with the drugs that have ruled her life—and buried her painful past—for nearly five years.  Gabriella Greene, founder of the Sanford Crisis Pregnancy Center, finds herself the bridge between these two women.  A time when questions far outweigh answers, there is one most pressing: why would God allow this?      

 

Weaving together the lives of three very different women, Loving will take readers on an emotional journey that reveals one common thread: they each need to surrender to a God who loves.

 

Loving will grab you by the throat from the very first sentence and it won’t let you go.  After a few chapters you’ll be able to catch your breath, but you’ll be hooked on these characters and their situations long before then.   Each one has a traumatic backstory that keeps you personally involved in their lives.  With Hannah, you’ll be fascinated with her bravery and her mother’s fight to give her a normal life.  With Gabriella you’ll cheer on the underdog and want to congratulate her not only on her ability to help others today but on overcoming a difficult Karla is different, for while there is little to commend now, she’ll help you understand how drugs can draw you in, one hour at a time.

 

Loving is incredibly well written.  The words flow as the plot twists and turns, some foreseen, some not, but all fascinating in their drama and emotion.  I love the way that Hughs starts with a loose cast of characters and draws them tighter and tighter into a cohesive group of players in a major miracle.

 

I must say that I disliked the ending as much as I loved the beginning, but not because it’s not well written, because it is.  The ending is poignant and precious and will bring you to tears – but it finishes only one character’s story.  Hughs writes with such depth and detail throughout the book, especially in the way that she begins with one character and ends with a different one, that the story feels unfinished to me, but again, not in a bad way.  While I spent several days wondering what happens with those other two major characters, I’m not sure what Hughs intends.  Does she mean to leave you hanging?  Are you meant to determine what you feel would have happened?  Or is there a sequel coming that will continue the stories of these characters?

 

Personally, I think any of these possibilities would fit.  They are characters on the fringe, and maybe you’re just meant to wonder about them, and maybe even be spurred to action to help the many people in our society who live like that every day.  Maybe Hughs is the next o. henry, skilled at making you debate and question.

 

Or maybe Hughs is just beginning a series designed to make us aware of health conditions and portions of our society that we rarely think about unless we are forced into contact with them.  These problems may be largely unknown, but the people are people – valuable and in need of help.

 

Personally, I’m hoping for that third option.  I’d love to have some binoculars to see into Hannah and Grace and Karla’s future.  I’d love to continue this walk with them as they make strides along their journey into forgiveness, redemption, and love.

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