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Book Review: Hope’s Design by Dawn Kinzer

Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin


Hope’s Design is Book Two of Dawn Kinzer’s The Daughters of Riverton series. You’ll find the review of the first book, Sarah’s Smile, here.

It’s 1904 and Hope Andrews wants nothing more than to be a fashion designer creating patterns for the Butterick company and their premier fashion magazine “The Delineator.” So far, she’s faced only rejection, which sometimes affects her faith.

Hope fingered the sketch pad in her lap. Discouraged by the rejections she’d received after submitting several dress designs, her parents had tried to convince her that God had given her creative abilities for a purpose beyond what she could even imagine. Hope desperately wanted to believe that possibility, but sometimes her faith waned. Her parents’ enthusiasm came from experience. God always used them in big ways, no matter where they ventured. Somehow they knew the right things to say and do—as though the Almighty whispered instructions whenever they needed a little help. As much as she wanted to be like them, Hope didn’t even come close.

An abusive suitor and absent parents send Hope to Riverton to stay with her cousin. There, she meets Ben Greene, an incredible artist who, due to a past circumstance, doesn’t believe he deserves to use his art to make a living. Hope, in her desire to help others, sometimes plunges ahead without checking first to be sure that person wants her help. Ben is one of those people.

I took a great deal of pleasure from reading this book with its endearing (though imperfect) characters. Hope is kind and sympathetic, yet ambitious. She wants to do what is right for others, while at the same time, dealing with a bit of envy over their success. Aren’t we all a little like her? No matter how good our intentions and how much we cheer for others, we can be hit with an unwanted twinge of envy over someone’s success while we flounder in our own attempts. As a writer, I will confess that I know it too well.

I think of the writing as “soft”—a gentle watercolor as opposed to the often bold and bright images of modern art. In fact, the writing very much matches the tone of the cover. And, without spoiling the ending, I’ll say I was pleased by the way Ms. Kinzer didn’t quite take the expected way out.

For a read that gives you a satisfied “Ahh…” feeling, I recommend Hope’s Design.

What was the last “watercolor” book you read?


As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

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