Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review for 
The Forgiving Hour by Robin Lee Hatcher
Review by Judy Vandiver
© 2009 Judy Vandiver

This week’s blog has been dedicated to reviewing some of my favorite books. I had a particular fiction book in mind for today’s review. It is a good book. It's an entertaining book. But, God put a check on my heart. I couldn’t seem to pull the right words for the review from my brain and I felt God reminding me of my theme for my blog, my business, and my life. Writing for God's Glory is more than the title for my blog, editing business, and new publishing endeavors. It has become my mission statement. The book I had chosen didn't seem to do anything for promoting God or His glory.

As I stood looking at my bookshelves, I asked myself some questions. What fiction book have I read that I came away feeling that the author knew God intimately? What book made me want to be as Christ-like as one or more of the characters? What book left me pondering the spiritual message for a long time after-wards? I knew immediately that the book that did that for me was not on my bookshelf. It was one I had downloaded and read on my Kindle. The book was The Forgiving Hour by Robin Lee Hatcher.

The Forgiving Hour is a well-written story of love, betrayal, trials, and forgiveness. The setting is contemporary, but the story is timeless. The main characters, Claire, Sara, and Dakota, could be any one of us. And, while their circumstances may seem extraordinary at first glance, they are not so different from what each of us experience in our own lives.

The novel spins it’s tale around the two women, Claire and Sara, who both love Dakota, but for different reasons. Claire is his mother and Sara is his girlfriend. When the two women meet face-to-face, there is a problem. Old hurts and wounds surface for both women, as well as for Dakota.

The story has twists and turns that held my attention. It has mysterious surprises. It’s fast paced and I quickly cared about the main characters. But it also has a lesson. Through her writing, Robin teaches that true love also holds true forgiveness.

I cried as I turned the pages. For weeks, I dwelled on the lessons from this book. I wanted to love the way this book taught. Yet, I found hidden hurts in my heart. Times I felt I had been wronged. Turning those hurts over to God has freed me to love completely.

This is a book I intend to read again. I think it’s too easy to let old memories that can hurt us creep into our hearts. A gentle reminder of how Claire, Sara, and Dakota faced their problems will always do me good.

As I prepared this review, I popped off an e-mail to Robin Lee Hatcher and asked if she would answer some interview questions to go along with the review. Within an hour, she graciously responded. Below are my questions in black and her answers in red.
Dear Robin, I know this is very late moment for an author interview for tomorrow, but I am being bold in asking if you might answer a few questions via e-mail.

Hi, Judy. Glad to help you out. . . The Forgiving Hour is no longer available in hard copy except as used copies. However, it is now available for the Amazon Kindle.

What got you started in writing?

I was an avid reader from first grade on and I was also what I call a compulsive writer. I was always scribbling something. But I never thought about doing it professionally. Then in my late 20's, a series of events caused me to decide to try writing a book. It took me nine months, working nights and weekends mostly, writing longhand and then using the office typewriter on my lunch hours to put it in manuscript form. It was published not quite three years after I wrote the first line of the book. (Since it was a general market romance and not among those I encourage readers to find, I'll skip giving the title.)

How long have you been writing and how many books do you have in print?

I've been writing for 28 1/2 years. I'm currently working on my 63rd release.

Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

I don't have a favorite. Each book was written for a reason and was the best book I could create at the time. I believe some books are better written or better told than others and some have more of a punch (The Forgiving Hour, Ribbon of Years, Beyond the Shadows, & Return to Me among the latter). But no favorites.

What sparked the idea behind The Forgiving Hour?

The Forgiving Hour began with a dream. I dreamed the prologue, and when I awoke, I knew it was the opening for a book in which God would have to be a central character. It was also a story where a great deal of it would be lifted from experiences in my own life. But I was still writing for the general market at the time and had never written a contemporary story, so I didn't think I'd ever actually get to write it. (Man plans, God laughs.) Then doors began to open and within about six months, I was contracted to write The Forgiving Hour and two other books.

Did you go through any difficulties as you wrote this book?

Actually, it is one of the few books in my career that I didn't struggle with. It is the longest of all of my novels but I wrote it in the shortest amount of time, just over three months. The words just poured out of me.

Did God speak to you through this book?

Because I've experienced the heartbreak of infidelity and because God called me to forgive the other woman, I was writing lessons that God had taught me many years before. Judging from my reader mail, God did speak through this book, but it wasn't to me so much as my readers.

Can you give us the underlining premise for The Forgiving Hour?

Forgiveness isn't a feeling. It is an act of obedience. We are told to forgive those who hurt us, and we must make the choice to obey. And God can give us the strength to walk through the difficult times.

What is the one thing you would hope readers take away from reading The Forgiving Hour?

The act of forgiving another person sets us free to live as God wants us to live.


My thanks to Robin Lee Hatcher for her quick response and her willingness to write for God’s glory.

I purchased my copy of The Forgiving Hour as a Kindle® book. It is still available in paperback as a used book. I’ve included a link below to some used copies selling on Amazon and to a link for all books written by Robin Lee Hatcher that are listed on Amazon. I hope the links help you.

Also, be sure and check out Robin's web page at  I laughed as I read her bio, where she shares her journey with her writing career. And tears came to my eyes as I read her faith story. She also has a free-book offer on her web site. I hope you enjoy her books as much as I do. 

Robin Lee Hatcher books on Amazon   OR


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