Kim Cash Tate’s latest work, THE COLOR OF HOPE, offers readers a glimpse into the world of several women who are at the crossroads of their lives, and the intersection of such makes for an interesting collision. Stephanie London and her medical doctor husband, Lindell, move from the city life of St. Louis to the small town of Hope Springs where her husband’s family still lives. Not so sure of their joint decision, Stephanie has cold feet and wonders if they heard God correctly when they believed He was moving them to this tiny town where she knows barely a soul. Still, the couple go; when they do, suddenly Stephanie is launched into substitute teaching, where she takes a shine to a young introverted teen, Samara, whose life will be altered by Stephanie’s kindnesses.
"Kim Cash Tate does an admirable job presenting realistic and likable characters, and her take on present-day racial differences feels all too real."
Charlotte (Charley) Willoughby has had enough of Hope Springs after her heart is broken by her former fiancée, and she gives notice at the high school, planning to get on with her life anywhere but this town where she grew up. Enter new high school principal Marcus, who offers her the high school volleyball coaching position, and suddenly she is torn. Not only is Charley eyeing the job she has wanted, she also finds herself attracted to Marcus and vice versa. One problem, though: he is black and she is white.
Enter Libby, who is the force running the Sanders’ huge yearly family reunion in Hope Springs and the tie that brings so many family members and friends together. Libby, who has been running from God for more years than she cares to remember, meets up with old flame Travis, now the pastor of one of the two churches trying their best to fuel long-term reconciliation with one another. Libby also finds herself at a crossroads and has to decide whether or not she’ll continue to guard her once-broken heart against further pain or open that wound enough to allow God to heal it and allow her to move on.
The three women’s lives are interwoven through family ties, mutual friends and their faith, each taking on a life of its own. As the town fights for peace amongst its always-battling church members, Stephanie and Charley continue to invest themselves in Sam’s (Samara’s) life. Both women take active part in trying to make a difference by loving beyond the color of their skin, yet their best efforts can’t stop the storm that arrives and forces the town to address its long-held prejudices and fears. When a tragedy strikes close to home, it triggers responses that surprise everyone, and lots of soul searching and confession have to take place before this town and its people can begin to recover.
Kim Cash Tate does an admirable job presenting realistic and likable characters, and her take on present-day racial differences feels all too real. Readers will appreciate her ability to bring to the forefront this still-smoldering social issue in such a palatable way.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on April 12, 2013