ABOUT THE BOOK:
For two single parents with bruised hearts, it’ll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.
Kimberly Welch lost her husband to a heart attack in the blink of an eye. But she’s losing her daughter slowly, in the day-to-day tension. In three difficult years, Kimberly has gone from Seattle socialite to Kings Meadow charity case, and her daughter is not responding well to the changes. She’s becoming a sullen, cantankerous teen.
Chet Leonard lost his teenage son in a car accident. Then his wife abandoned him and their two remaining boys. He tries to keep his mind on the family ranch, but if the last two years have taught him anything, it’s that sometimes you just have to let the memories hurt. Let the memories hurt, and leave well enough alone.
But when Chet volunteers to help tame Kimberly’s daughter’s horse, everyone gets more than they bargained for . . . especially when eighty-four-year-old Anna McKenna shows up.
Nana Anna has reappeared in Kings Meadow after decades away, bringing with her the magnetism and transformative joy that come from a life well lived . . . just the kind of magic that a couple of unlucky-in-love single parents need to conjure up a little courage and raise a new family from the ashes of tragedy.
Two months ago I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in St. Louis, MO. Amongst the plethora of amazing published Christian writers was Robin Lee Hatcher, who had the privilege of being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the organization. Author of Love Without End, Hatcher is a prolific writer known in publishing industry for her stories of love and faith. While at the time of the conference I had not yet read any of Hatcher’s books—and she has many—I immediately added this author to my “to-read” list.
Love Without End is a Western-style romance set in the fictional town of Kings Meadow, ID. Surrounding two families hurting and healing from death and lies, Hatcher’s story centers around the themes of forgiveness, love, and familial relationships as Chet Leonard, Anna McKenna, and Kimberly Welch find their callings as individuals and within a community. Not long after beginning Love Without End it was obvious why readers love Hatcher’s books—she writes with heart and passion for her stories. The details in the second novel of her Kings Meadow series infuse this book with authenticity; readers who say they want to move to Hatcher’s fictional town are justified in believing Kings Meadow could truly exist. Love Without End’s characters add to the novel’s relatability. Anna, Chet, Kimberly, and the children of this novel could easily be found walking the streets or attending classes in any all-American town.
Despite the aspects of the novel that I enjoyed, I was still disappointed by Love Without End. I had high expectations for this book because of the accolades Hatcher has received over her many years as a writer. In winning Christy Award, RITA Awards, RT Career Achievement Award, and RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, in addition to her recent win of ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award, I expected Hatcher’s novel to be filled with spiritual depth and deep prose. Instead, Love Without End reminded me of a basic inspirational story that skims spiritual ideas and moving themes but never searches for character motivations or sub-textual context. The first half of Love Without End moved at a decent pace, with the introduction of the characters and setting acting as catalysts for motivation. The latter half of the novel, however, fell apart—the pacing of the plot felt rushed, but the story read slowly and the denouement did not stir my emotions.
The saving grace of Love Without End, in my opinion, are the chapters that unfold Anna McKenna’s history from the 1940s to the 1960s. I enjoyed reading about her life on the ranch during World War II because her position within the Leonard family allowed for a variation on the familial unit. While this novel is not my highest rated, I still recommend Love Without End as a sweet light read of inspirational themes for those who like stories set in the West about cowboys and ranching. I will keep an eye on Hatcher’s novels when I am in the mood for a lighter novel that gives characters a happy-ever-after without question.
RATING: 2/5 stars
*I was provided a copy of Love Without End by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for hosting my review for the blog tour of this novel. I received no compensation for writing this review; this review is in compliance with FTC’s guidelines.