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Hope Travels Through is the debut novel by Loni Kemper Moore. It begins in October 1976 and culminates with the events of and immediately following December 13, 1977, when the plane carrying the University of Evansville’s men’s basketball team crashes.
Ms. Moore has written a nice book that has a great message about figuring out your place in the world after its been turned upside down, trusting in God even when tragedy and grief strike, and the importance of relationships in our lives, whether they are romantic, platonic, or familial.
Our main characters are TeJae, who is a flight attendant, and Mikel, an Army Reserve chaplain. TeJae and Mikel are both characters I related to, for different reasons, and I enjoyed the development of their relationship.
The book is descriptive, with all the cities, hotels, and places coming alive on the page. Secondary characters have motivations and lives of their own, though one of them is nearly an over the top “villain” with a pretty weak justification for it.
The short snippets that take place in each chapter with shifting POVs often made it difficult to track the events happening in the story. The chapters are often days, weeks, or months apart and so the story feels simultaneously slow and quick because of the time jumps.
The back-cover copy is a little misleading and it sounds like the book is going to be about the tragedy that takes places on December 13, 1977 and the aftermath, but most of the book is before that.
The themes and message in Hope Travels Through means I can recommend it, though I give this book 3/5 for the disjointedness of the small snippets and how the pacing of the story felt excruciatingly slow and lightning fast at the same time.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
When she’s not writing, she’s an entertainer, technical support analyst; mom of a teenager named Adam; traveler with Robert, her dear “Hugsband,” stepmom to University of Evansville alumna Becca and her husband, Anthony; and spender of way too much time on Facebook. With her experiences of learning to trust God through tragedy, being employed by travel agencies and Delta Air Lines, and attending University of Evansville graduate school, she’s the best person to tell this story.
Guest Post from Loni Moore
What Made Me Write Hope Travels Through?
The weathered orthopedic surgeon shook his head and stared at the x-rays. Without making eye-contact, he said, “I usually work on Olympians and professional athletes. This doesn’t look good. She’s going to have arthritis and limp for the rest of her life.”
I hadn’t had anything stronger than Tylenol since the entire weight of my 128 (at the time) pounds crunched my left ankle, 24 hours earlier.
Robert, aka Dear Hugsband, had told me, so very graciously, when we arrived at Skate City, “Once you’re over 50, you shouldn’t roller skate.” But our son, Adam was 10 and I wondered how many more years he’d want me to hang out with him, so I’d strapped on the skates and joined the crowd of skaters. I avoided landing on the body of the five-year old who cut me off. Didn’t that count for something?
However, none of that mattered at that moment. I needed drugs, and Robert agreed to whatever that surgeon said to get my prescriptions.
One afternoon, my stomach growled on a gurney as I waited in the surgery center with IVs in my hands until a perky nurse announced, “The doctor will need to reschedule because something came up.”
REALLY? After waiting 10 days, he no-shows?
I’ve never loved Robert’s New York attitude more than the next day when by 7 pm that evening I was at Red Robin, post-surgery, eating a celebratory French Onion soup. Thanks to a nerve blocker the new, cute surgeon had provided after rebreaking bones and inserting pins.
Adam was able to complete his homeschool work with little interference from my drug infested brain and I occupied my time by flipping through decades of accumulated diaries. The story of a woman surviving tough times percolated in my brain and I remembered my mother saying, “Everyone has a Great American Novel in her. You just need to take time to write it.”
As my leg healed leaving no arthritis nor limp, I returned to the million things life demands, including a visit to our Becca at the University of Evansville, where I’d done my graduate work. As she showed us the Weeping Basketball, my protagonist informed me the story began in 1976, not 2011. The story climaxed when the university’s men’s basketball team plane crashed, but I was too busy to spend much time on it.
Three days before Christmas that year, my younger sister passed away from Lyme complications, I could barely breathe. I’ve seen it a dozen times someone’s busy life prevents her from taking care of herself until something stops them in their tracks and they cannot move on. That happened to me.
At the time, Dear Hugsband programmed Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine (you’re welcome), so Adam and I joined him in Atlanta for several months. During that time without the cooking-cleaning-requirements and Adam insisting he preferred independence of his homeschool curriculum with minimal input from me, I processed my grief by putting the story that became Hope Travels Through on my computer.
“In a weak moment, I have written a book.” Margaret Mitchell – Gone With The Wind
Dear Hugsband loved his project with Coca-Cola and enjoyed everything about working in Atlanta except the humidity, the traffic and the commute. Typically, he worked in Georgia every other week, and was home every weekend.
But occasionally, he’d be forced to stay in Atlanta over the weekend and tried to find something to entertain himself. One weekend, after seeing every movie running, he decided to go to the Margaret Mitchell House Museum where one of my favorite books, Gone With The Wind, was written.
He bought me a mug with the above quote on it which he said was to encourage me in my writing, along with several commonalities between myself and the famous author.
She was short—I am 5 feet tall, if I stretch;
Her husband was over 6 feet tall—mine is 6’3 1/2”;
She started writing her novel, after an ankle injury– I started writing after I a similar injury;
She used a typewriter—I use a computer;
Her mother gave her the quotes she used about how to survive in an upside-down world – my mom had a Bible verse for every occasion. I think her favorite was Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind, Loni to whomever…”;
It took Margaret ten years to complete her novel – I’m not far behind, at nearly eight years.
Obviously, I don’t have one commonality with Margaret, in that she died at the age of 48 in a traffic accident, but his conclusions are precious.
I’m well aware the odds of my little novel being successful, without the industry connections Margaret had, are low, but it’s been a fun journey even if no one buys a copy!
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Karen Sue Hadley, December 16
Jami’s Words, December 17
Quiet Quilter, December 18
Reading Is My SuperPower, December 18
Inspiration clothesline, December 19
Texas Book-aholic, December 19
Radiant Light, December 20
Carpe Diem, December 21
Avid Reader Book Reviews, December 21
A Reader’s Brain, December 22
A Greater Yes, December 23
Blogging With Carol, December 23
Books, Books, and More Books, December 24
SusanLovesBooks, December 25
Remembrancy, December 26
Mary Hake, December 26
Janices book review, December 27
The Power of Words, December 28
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29
Just Jo’Anne, December 29
To celebrate her tour, Loni is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon Card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.