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Sunday, February 14, 2016

(16)Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spellman


In the eyes of New Orleans residents Hannah Farr can do no wrong.  She is the darling talk show host who is dating the city's beloved mayor and is very active in a popular local charity.  What her fans don't realize is that her life is far from perfect.  Hannah keeps a pretty tight lid on her private life.  The fans don't know that her ex-fiance cheated on her.  The fans don't know that she was bullied as a teen.  The fans don't know that she hasn't spoken to her mother in decades because of an accusation made so long ago.  The fans don't know that more than anything Hannah wants to become the Mayor's wife.  In an effort to spur moment on that front Hannah agrees to an interview for a new talk show based in Chicago.  She comes up with a show pitch built around the latest craze to sweep the nation, The Forgiveness Stone.  The sensation was started by a woman named Fiona Knowles, the woman who just so happened to be Hannah's bully.  Even though Hannah has no intention of forgiving Fiona, she knows it will make a good story.  Thanks to a competitive colleague,  her boss in New Orleans runs with the story.  And before she knows it Hannah is facing Fiona on her stage. It sends her down a path of forgiveness and redemption.   What will the price be for Hannah to revisit the past?  Will she be able to both forgive and allow herself to be forgiven?

It took me a very long time for me to "like" Hannah.   She was so rigid in her beliefs.  Unwilling to forgive or forget.  She blamed the  bullying of a thirteen year old girl for everything that went wrong with her life.  I had a hard time with that, because I just wanted to say "suck it up buttercup",   While I had a hard time liking Hannah, she had friends who loved her very much and she was a good person, just misguided.   Of course when Hannah starts revealing personal information on air her whole world starts to collapse and forces her to reevaluate the beliefs that she built her life on.  Her journey takes her to Chicago and to Michigan, where she does come face to face with her past and her mother. By the time I got to the last 1/3 of the book I did come around to liking Hannah.  She had made such a transformation that it made it much easier to like her.   And in the end Hannah got what she deserved - peace.

Bottom line - we all have had to come to grips with people or events or people from our past. No one person's journey to forgiveness is the same.  Sweet Forgiveness is one woman's journey down that path, for better or worse.

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