Author: Debbie Kaufman
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-0-373-82998-9

To start with, I need to ask your forgiveness. The things I said about what you’d accomplished in the village, about your faith making things worse, I was wrong. Forgive me, please,” Anna is told in Debbie Kaufman’s novel, Journey of Hope.

Part of the Love Inspired Historical series, this two hundred and eighty-three page paperback targets those who enjoy clean romance in the early nineteen hundreds in the African jungle. With no profanity or overtly sexual scenes, there is some violence and references to cannibalism, making it a suitable read for mature teenagers and older.

When twenty-seven year old Annabelle Baldwin refuses her wealthy father’s agreement to marry for monetary and societal reasons, she becomes a missionary in Liberia, teaching children in the jungle village near the Pahn where tribes believe in superstitions and strange rites. Disinherited by her father and lacking the funds to continue her journey promoting Christ, she asks for God’s guidance.

Raised on the opposite financial spectrum and worried about his ailing mother, Stewart Hastings is employed by an American company that sends him to the African wild to verify gold and silver mining, giving him ample financing to secure a guide. After rejected by a fiancé because of his scars from the Great War, he thinks all women are unpredictable and unreliable. 

When Stewart rescues Anna from an attempted kidnapping, the woman is the ideal choice to lead the white man to the Pahn to explore. Securing her missionary post with the paid position, she does not understand God but trusts Him to lead the way.

Through driver ants, vine bridges, devilmen, tribal politics, and traversing the bush, the two oppose each other at every chance, especially when Stewart wants no part of Anna’s Christian beliefs. Trying to save a young boy from potential harm, the two adults put themselves in danger when the mysterious Leopard Man seeks innocent sacrifices. 

Although predictable from a romantic standpoint, the two tease, taunt, and bicker, only to apologize over and over again as they bond a relationship of friendship and love. With both scarred emotionally from the past, each must trust the other to survive not only physically but spiritually. While Anna seeks God’s answer regarding her core beliefs. Stewart must come to terms how God forgives eternally. 

Thanks to CWA Review Crew for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

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