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Dana Wayne
Author
Chasing Hope
Dana Wayne, author
Max Logan longs for the joys of home and family he missed growing up in foster care. He fills that emotional void by becoming a kick-ass Marine, and for eighteen years, led his band of brothers from one hell-hole to another. Until the one that nearly destroyed him. Sixteen months of therapy and rehab put his body back together, but some wounds can’t be seen. Some can’t be healed. Skylar Ward dreams of a life that includes someone beside her. Someone to share her life and be a father to her young daughter. But if she learned anything from her failed marriage it was that you don’t rush into a relationship. Only Max Logan sparks her interest. But the handsome, brooding war hero remains aloof. Seven-year-old Maddie Ward overhears a neighbor tell her mom she needs a male companion and immediately decides Max will do just fine. He needs a family. They need him. She just has to figure out how to make that happen. Can a precocious child be the catalyst that heals and brings them all together or will ashes of the past bury hope forever?
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: The well-paced plot moves smoothly through the various characters' emotional struggles, with small-town conflicts ultimately taking center stage. These larger stories are enhanced by plot points that realistically characterize the main couple’s emotional growth, both individually and as a unit.

Prose/Style: The prose is clear and effective, and flows well. The dialogue is realistic, particularly those lines spoken by Maddie. The intimate scenes are passionate and warm, yet at times exhibit an overabundance of purple prose.

Originality: Distinct voices and genuine chemistry enhance Max and Skylar and their individual and joint struggles. The secondary characters, particularly young Maddie, are realistic and multi-dimensional without being caricatures.

Character Development: Chasing Hope employs the tropes of a heartwarming, small-town romance to enjoyable effect. Strong characters, a sweet romance, and a hopeful examination of real-world issues help it to elevate the genre.

Date Submitted: May 22, 2020

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