Talking about A House Full of Hope

This past weekend, I read Missy Tippens’ newest Love Inspired release, A House Full of Hope. I became a fan of Missy’s after reading her 2011 release, so I snatched this latest book up the day it hit the shelves. Best of all, it has lots of great questions for discussion. But first let me give you a description of the story: 

From black sheep to father of four…

Before becoming a Christian, Mark Ryker ran with a bad crowd and broke hearts. Including his father’s. Now a successful businessman, Mark has come home to Corinthia, Georgia, to make amends. But no one will forgive him. So when the widowed mother of four renting his dad’s run-down house needs help fixing up the place, Mark gets to work. Pretty Hannah Hughes and her sweet kids have him longing to be part of the clan, but Hannah isn’t ready to let go of the past. Still, they are working together on a house full of hope—and that’s all Mark needs.

First off, I want to let readers know that writers don’t usually get to write their own back cover blurbs. Moreover, the person who writes them has usually only read an early synopsis of the story and perhaps the first two or three chapters. I mention this, because although I’ve included the blurb above, I think it failed to nail the vast scope of the conflict, not to mention the first line gives away the ending! Of course, we always know the hero will get his HEA, but the hurdles in Mark’s path seem utterly insurmountable.

First of all, he’s returned to seek forgiveness for causing his brother’s death and then walking out on the family, cutting off contact so that they couldn’t even find him when his mother died. His father is not about to forgive him.

Mark starts fixing up the house, because he wants to stick around long enough to make sure his financially-struggling dad is okay, and because he wants his dad back in their family home, not renting it out to the heroine and her four kids while his dad lives above the garage.

If that weren’t enough to worry the widowed heroine, as a youth, Mark destroyed her sister’s life and as a consequence their family’s, and while the heroine may come to realize he isn’t a monster, her mother will never forgive him. As a single mom, the heroine relies on her mother to help with childcare and can’t afford to alienate her. Moreover, Mark’s home and business is three thousand miles away–not exactly condusive to an ongoing relationship. 

I love getting half way through a book and wondering how the hero and heroine could possibly ever end up together. But…onto today’s question…

Your Turn: Mark wanted to achieve success before coming home so he’d earn respect. What pitfalls do you see in striving for material success, or in striving for affirmation in other ways? Have you ever fallen into that trap?

Giveaway: I’ll mail a copy of Missy’s book to a randomly selected commenter from today and Wednesday’s blog. You DO NOT have to leave your email address. I will announce the winner Friday along with a real-life romance story that you won’t want to miss!


  • Success doesn’t always earn respect. It seems if we are busy trying to earn our way into people’s lives by impressing them with our material things, we lose respect for ourselves.

    I hope that makes sense. It’s late and it sounded better in my mind…lol.

  • Oooohhhhh — can’t wait to read this one!!!! Haven’t done my Harlequin order yet but it’s on my list. Love Missy’s writing and thanks for answering my long-not-asked question about who writes these backcover blurbs. Some of them are way off the mark and I’ve noticed that some do tend to give a bit more away then they should. They could have fixed that in Missy’s blurb by putting a question mark at the end. From black sheep to father of four? No one thinks it’s possible, including Mark…

    You know I can totally understand people who feel the need to prove themselves before feeling worthy of love – and that sounds what Mark is dealing with. It’s going about a relationship the wrong way, but the emotional roots of that thinking are powerful.

    Sounds like in Mark’s case he messed up badly and compounded that by running away so there’s lots of hurt and hard feelings. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’d wager a guess that Mark is likely his own worst enemy and the one who needs to forgive himself the most. But, of course having no one willing to extend a hand of forgiveness wouldn’t help matters either. Hence that need to prove himself first so they can see how changed he is. Only, of course, they only see what they want to see, right? And isn’t that always the way?

    • And that need to prove oneself or prove oneself worthy of forgiveness/acceptance can take so many forms other than the material–devoting yourself to helping others (as my heroine in Deep Cover does) or being the best cop you can be (as my hero in Shades of Truth does) or being the best mom and nurse she can be (as my heroine in Critical Condition does). I guess it’s kind of a theme I’ve got going! 🙂

  • Oh wow, Sandra, thanks for offering Missy’s book! I would love to win it. I had hoped to get to her book signing yesterday and purchase it (at her church….about an hour from me), but my allergies were in high gear. I love her books!

  • A great take on it, Kav! You know, here’s the moral premise I worked with while writing the book. Your comment made me think of it:

    Trying to “buy” love and security leads to failure, but offering a caring hand leads to trust and acceptance.

  • Sandra, sounds like you have a theme that you often write about just like I do (mine is the theme of wanting to be accepted for who you are). I love how we all seem to do that. 🙂

  • I love redemption type stories!

    Striving for material success doesn’t seem like there’s an absolute cap or finish line. And even though we have much, we’re never satisfied and still end up wanting more, which can leave us frustrated and not happy.

  • Oooohhhh, I love that moral premise, Missy, paired with the seekerville blog today I think I’m actually getting the hang of it!!! A moral premise is almost like a saying in a fortune cookie! LOL. yin and yang and all that. Or is it ying and yang?

  • There’s too much importance put on material gains in out present world!!! Wealth seems more valuable than people. How sad! Nancy M.

  • LOL, Kav. It’s a bit hard to wrap the mind around sometimes. 🙂

    And you know, I had to look it up. It’s yin and yang. 🙂

    Nancy, yes. Valuing possessions over people is such a temptation, yet a terrible mistake.

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.