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By Karen Kingsbury
Warner FaithCopyright © 2005 Karen Kingsbury
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Chapter OneMotherhood never slowed Carol Roberts. Not when she'd first had Hannah fifteen years ago, and not now.
Back when Hannah was born, her father took care of her. He was smitten by the dark-haired, blue-eyed baby from the moment she came home. Hannah was a good girl. When she was old enough for kindergarten she was easily top of the class, and she held that distinction up until her current year as freshman at Thomas Jefferson College Preparatory. Carol was proud of her. But Hannah was still a child, and ambitious career plans didn't mix with children. Even the nicest children.
That's why Carol didn't mind living half a world away from Hannah. The two kept in touch through E-mail and phone calls, and twice a year-summer and Christmas-Carol and her husband found their way back to the States for a visit. Hannah wouldn't have had any normal sort of life living overseas, and it wasn't as if they had any choice.
Carol's husband was ambassador to Sweden. The role of ambassador came with a host of responsibilities- some political, some practical, and some purely social in the name of goodwill. That November numerous dignitaries had passed through the office, and plans had been made for a round of holiday parties that would involve key international politicians-all of whom deserved the attention of Jack Nelson Roberts Jr.
Carol loved being in the middle of it all. Whether the day's work included a luncheon with visiting influentials or a party at a nearby ballroom, she thrived in her husband's arena, being a part of what he did-not only to help him look good, but because she had political aspirations of her own.
Maybe when Jack was finished with his work at the Swedish embassy, they could return to Maryland and she could try her hand at an office-something small to start with-and eventually work her way to being a representative, or a senator, even. She would be closer to Hannah that way. By then her daughter would be older-old enough that Carol could hire her as an intern and the two could get to know each other better.
For now, though, that type of day-in, day-out relationship would have to wait. Life at the embassy was simply too busy, too important, to take a chance on missing a key party or business dinner. Never had there been so many people to connect with, so valuable a host of politicians to get acquainted with. They were doing the United States a favor by giving the job their complete attention as winter approached. That was the reason they'd made their decision about the holidays.
This Christmas-for the first time-there would be no trip home. The holiday social demands on the embassy were too great to leave behind. Late the night before, Carol had alerted Hannah about the conflict. There would be a change of plans, she told her daughter. "Your father and I won't be coming home for Christmas after all," she wrote. "Not this year."
She'd hoped Hannah would understand. Christmas was just another day, after all. Another day in a round of parties and celebrating and merriment that went from September to January, and January to June, one year into the next for the Roberts family. Certainly Hannah could get through one Christmas without being dragged to a round of adult parties in Washington, D.C. In fact, Carol had expected Hannah might be relieved. The revised plan meant Hannah could spend the holidays relaxing with her grandmother or visiting her school friends.
But Hannah's response had been short, almost jaded. "Fine, Mother," she'd shot back in an E-mail that morning. "How completely understandable that my parents would choose parties in Sweden over Christmas with me. Love you, too."
Love you, too? Carol had stared at those words, puzzled. What sort of response was that? The letter made Carol wonder if she'd made a gargantuan mistake with Hannah all these years, if she'd grossly underestimated Hannah's acceptance of her lifestyle.
Ever since returning to the D.C. area, Carol had assumed her daughter understood her position. The Roberts family wasn't like regular families. There was a price to pay for Jack's title, both when he was a senator, and now as an ambassador. It wasn't so unusual, really. Nearly all of Hannah's school friends had parents whose lives involved political obligations. Senators stationed in Washington, D.C., spent half their time with their constituents in offices across the country. And those involved with international politics spent most of the year overseas.
It was a way of life. So why the attitude from Hannah? As if Christmas wouldn't be the same if she and Jack didn't come? Carol fixed herself a salad for lunch and mulled over the situation. Hannah was beyond the sentimentality of the working class, wasn't she? The girl understood their lifestyle, how power and position came with a certain type of independence, one that didn't have room for hurt feelings or needy pairings between parents and children.
She loved Hannah, of course-loved her the way mothers in her social strata best loved their children. Not with gushy hugs or kisses or flowery words, but with actions. The proper way. Carol and Jack paid for the house in The Colony and tuition at TJ Prep, the best education a child could ask for. Beyond that they provided Hannah private instruction in dance, voice, and piano, and finishing school. In a few short years, Carol had plans for her daughter to work with her.
That was love, wasn't it? But as Carol finished her salad, as she made her way to the back door and studied the meticulous gardens around the cobblestone patio, she thought of something she hadn't before: maybe Hannah was lonely. She was still young, after all. Maybe her schoolwork and lessons and practices had worn her out, and left her wanting adult company more than a quiet grandmother could give.
The clock ticked out a steady rhythm in the background and a pleasant lemony smell wafted through the kitchen, the result of something the housekeeper was working on in the next room. Carol squinted at the sunsprayed shrubs in the back of the yard. Yes, that had to be the problem. Hannah simply wanted a little life in the old house.
So who could spend Christmas with Hannah? She and Jack were out of the question, at least for now. But there had to be someone in their circle, someone besides Grandmother Paul, who could spend a few days with Hannah over the Christmas break.
Then, for the first time in years, a thought came to Carol.
Maybe it was time to tell her about Mike Conner. Mike, who had been Carol's first love, the man she lived with for nearly four years after Hannah was born. The man Hannah knew nothing about.
Her biological father. Carol had hoped to wait until Hannah was eighteen to tell her, but she was fifteen now. That was old enough, wasn't it? She held her breath as she made her way through the kitchen and into her office. The box was still tucked away under the desk, in the corner of the room. The box held everything that reminded Carol of her old life, the one she'd lived before she married Jack.
She remembered to exhale. Then, with quiet steps, she crossed the room, pulled the box into the middle of the floor, and removed the lid. The first thing inside was a manila envelope with a single name written in black permanent ink across the top: Mike.
A rush of feelings came over her and she could see the vast stretch of Pacific Ocean, hear the steady rush of waves against the shore, feel the warm sand between her toes as she sat on the beach watching him surf. She'd met him there, and from the beginning he'd had a surfboard tucked under one arm.
Carol closed her eyes and allowed the memory to have its way with her. She had been a dreamer back then, and Mike her blond, blue-eyed dream boy. Her parents had taught her about prestige and propriety and marrying well, but Carol ignored their advice. She'd been a hopeless romantic who had her own ideas about love, and all of them centered around Mike Conner.
"He's a drifter," her mother had told her. "With him you'll never amount to anything."
"He loves me, Mother," Carol insisted. "We'll find our own way."
"He's not the marrying type." Despair rang in her mother's voice. "You'll find nothing but heartbreak."
In the end, she'd been right-after four years of scrimping and barely getting by, Carol and Mike began fighting. The magic was long worn off by then, and Carol had to admit the truth in her mother's prediction. Mike wasn't the marrying type. He'd never even asked her, not until she first brought up leaving. But by then it was over. Mike had enlisted in the Army and gone to Fort Seal in Oklahoma for training. Three weeks later, alone and anxious for her old life, Carol and Hannah left one rainy April morning and never looked back.
Knowing she couldn't marry him, Carol hadn't put Mike's name on Hannah's birth certificate, and he hadn't argued about the fact. Not at first, anyway. Probably because he'd figured Carol would come around eventually, and the two of them would marry. Then he could easily add his name to Hannah's birth records.
In the months before he enlisted, he'd been anxious for it all-marriage, a proper place on Hannah's birth certificate, a family life together. But by then, Carol was ready to go home, ready for the life her parents had wanted for her. When she and Hannah said good-bye to the small beach house, Carol left behind no information or letters or forwarding address. She returned to Maryland and picked up with Jack Roberts-high-society politician and former playboy. The two were married within a year, and Carol's mother moved into Jack's guesthouse while she and Jack and Hannah took the main house-a veritable mansion.
Life improved overnight for everyone except Hannah. For two years Hannah had talked about her daddy, asking where he was and crying for him. Sometimes Jack would hold her and rock her, telling her that he was her father now. Always, though, they had known Hannah would be fine-and she was. In time she forgot about the daddy they'd left behind, believing that Jack was, indeed, her father.
But she deserved to know about Mike, and now was as good a time as any.
Carol held the envelope to her face and breathed in. It smelled old and musty and faintly like the sea, the scent of forgotten days and bygones. She opened the flap and pulled out the first picture. It was a photo of Mike and Hannah, just around the time when Hannah was starting to walk. The two were cuddled in a wornout recliner, and Mike was reading to her. He'd always been reading to her. Hannah had one pudgy arm draped along the back of his neck, her grin reached from one ear to the other.
Carol set the picture aside and sorted through the rest of the envelope. After a few minutes she chose two photographs-the first one, and one of Mike with his surfboard, his blond hair cut short per the instructions of his Army enlisting officer. She sifted through the bag again and found a metal lapel pin-a pair of wings Mike bought in the days before he left for training.
"Daddy's gonna be a pilot one day, Hannah. An Army pilot. Then I'll have a real pair of wings." She could hear him still, full of confidence and hope that he'd make good on his dreams and give Carol the life he thought she wanted.
By the time Mike had plans to leave for training, he was worried Carol would bolt, that she'd pick up her things one day, leave with Hannah, and never look back. Before he left he'd pulled her aside and given her the wings, the ones he'd bought. Sincerity rang in his words. "I want Hannah to have these. Make sure, okay?"
A gust of guilt blew over Carol. She'd forgotten his request until now. Forgotten it as if he'd never even asked. She blinked and set the wings in the pile with the two photographs. At least she was taking care of it now. It wasn't too late. Besides, if Hannah were any younger she wouldn't have appreciated this-not the pictures nor the wings nor the information about Mike.
Carol sorted through the envelope and pulled out a list of details scribbled on an old, yellowed piece of notebook paper. The list represented all the information she'd had on Mike Conner back then.
She studied the sheet: his name, an old address and phone number in Pismo Beach, California. His age back then-twenty-three-and his birth date. And the fact that he'd joined the Army in early spring 1994.
That was it-all she had to remember him by. For nearly a minute Carol studied the sheet and wondered. Was this the right thing for Hannah? The right timing? Would she be angry that she hadn't been told sooner? She hesitated and stared at the photo. It had been her decision to keep the information from Hannah. If Hannah was upset, they'd work through it, the same way they'd work through spending a Christmas apart.
Parenting wasn't much different from a business arrangement where most of the time the details ran smoothly, but some days brought disturbing news and hard work.
Carol made a copy of the detailed information and slipped it with the photos into a new envelope. Then she typed a quick letter of explanation. She was sorry about the past, but there was nothing she could do about it. Hannah needed to know. Maybe if the girl spent the holidays looking up Mike Conner, the distraction would keep her from being lonely.
Carol sealed the envelope, addressed it, and set it in the outgoing mail tray. She glanced at her watch. It was time to put together the invite list for the black-tie Christmas party.
Excerpted from Hannah's Hope by Karen Kingsbury Copyright © 2005 by Karen Kingsbury.
Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Hannah's Hope. I'm only 11 yearss old and I LOVE it. Its probably one of my favorite books Ive ever read. Im trying to get my 9 year old sister to read it also.
Title: Hannah's Hope Author: Karen Kingsbury Published: 10-18-05 Publisher: FaithWords/Center Street Pages: 162 Genre: Christian Fiction Sub Genre: Contemporary Fiction; Inspirational ISBN: 9780446537365 ASIN: B00XU7R8G Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . It's the Christmas season and Hannah is counting the days until her parents come home for the holidays. A fifteen year old girl who appears to have it all family connections, wealth and friends. That is until you look closer and you see a girl who feels there is something so wrong with her no can love her. With her cold and distant Grandmother, and parents who have followed their ambitions at the cost of their relationship with their daughter. When her parents let her know they are both too busy to come home for Christmas. Then her other tells her something that shakes the foundation of her very life. She finds out the man the man who she has always believed to be her father was not her biological father. Hannah begins searching her father Air Force Pilot Mike Conner, whom she thought was only part of her early childhood imagination. When word gets out soon the entire state is helping her search for him in hopes that she gets her wish to find him in time for Christmas. Mike hears Hannah's televised plea and must decide to open himself to more pain if Hannah rejects him or ignore her plea. Will Hannah finally find someone to love her? Will she get her Christmas wish? Every story in the Red Gloves Series is beautifully written and inspirational as it covers some very painful situations and emotions. Mrs. Kingsbury uses her talents to give us a book that is well thought out and sure to touch the hearts of its readers. The characters are well developed and their actions are very believable. You want them to receive their Christmas wishes. Always there is the sub-story of God's love for us all and His strength to carry us when life becomes too much for us to walk without Him. As Always I have enjoyed the memories of earlier readings and hope that the others who read Hannah's Hope are left with the feelings of peace and enjoyment that I receive each time I read the Red Glove series.
Raising a child with Autism it was so easily to relate to this book! And to fall in love with this story and characters!
I thought Hannah's Hope is a great and sweet short Christmas story. It definitely can be ready anytime of the year. The story is the fourth installment of the Red Glove series and my favorite. Recommended. 5 stars.
I can't imagine a more challenging Christmas than the one 15-year-old Hannah Robertson is finding herself facing. Managing a full schedule as a freshman in high school would be difficult enough, but her parents are beyond busy serving as the ambassadors in Sweden. The one thing Hannah has been able to count on is that her parents have always managed to be home for Christmas. Even though most of the time, they are busy with political meetings and dinner plans, it was still nice to be able to spend time with them. But this is not what is going to happen this year. The email response from her mother was simply that they could not find the time to make it home this year. They hope she understands. Hannah's response? "Fine, Mother. How completely understandable that my parents would choose parties in Sweden over Christmas with me. Love you, too." When her mother received Hannah's email response she found herself feeling a bit guilty believing that Hannah had come to accept the busyness of how involved they were in Sweden and had hoped she might be relived not to have to attend all those parties and gathering if her parents had come home. Guess not after all. The one thing her mother believed might just help was if she finally came clean with the truth about Hannah's real father. That her biological father was not the man she married, but the man she left when Hannah was four. She had hoped to tell her when she turned eighteen, but now might be the perfect time to tell her. So she packaged up a few photos of Mike Connor, Hannah's real father, a pair of pilot wings and shipped off a letter she had hoped would explain her decision to walk away from him 11 years ago. To Hannah, realizing that Jack was not her real father explained how he acted around her and filled in all the missing holes in Hannah's heart. She dreamed of the man who had read to her, played with her and one she fondly loved and now she had to find a way to find him against all odds based on what little information she had. The man she was looking for was serving in Iraq and had been searching for her all his life. Now all they needed was the perfect Christmas miracle. I received Hannah's Hope by Karen Kingsbury as a free copy for my honest review compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. I've been a huge fan of Karen Kingsbury's novels since my very first one. She gets right to the heart of the reader's emotions and inspires such a feeling of hope and love, you find yourself smiling as you finish each book. It makes you want to be a better person and inside changes your heart. Included in this book at the conclusion are a list of projects you can involve yourself with to help our service men and women serving our country this Christmas which evokes the meaning behind this series of books. This is the fourth book in the Red Glove Series and can be read in any order or as a stand alone. What a perfect gift to give someone this year for Christmas and one I rate a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.
Hannah attends a school named TJ Prep, she lives in Washington D.C., and Hannah is involved in many things at this school like cheerleading. Her best friends are always teasing her about how she is way too busy. Carol and Jack, Hannah's parents are in Sweden for a party they have to throw. Her parents are in the political party so Hannah is used to them throwing parties; but Hannah is sad they won't be here for Christmas. They leave Hannah at home alone over break with her grandmother. Carol thought it was time to tell Hannah about Mike since it would give Hannah something to do over break. So Carol sends Hannah a package one day explaining that Mike is her biological dad. Hannah learns Mike is in the army. Will Hannah be able to meet Mike or will he die on the mission? Karen Kingsbury did an excellent job writing this book and i thoroughly enjoyed this book and the red glove series.
This books is about a girl named Hannah. Hannah attends a school named TJ Prep. Hannah is involved in many things at this school like cheerleading. Her best friends are always teasing her about how she is way to busy. Carol and Jack, Hannah's parents are in Sweeden for a party they have to throw. They leave Hannah at home alone over break with her grandmother. Carol sends Hannah a package one day explaining that Mike is her biological dad. Hannah learns Mike is in the army. Will Hannah be able to meet Mike or will he die on the mission?
While her parents reside in Sweden as her father is the ambassador there, fifteen years old Hannah Roberts lives with a cold grandmother in the DC area while wondering why no one loves her. She looks forward to her parents coming home for the holidays, but that dream is shattered when she receives an email from them informing her that they are too busy to see her. A depressed Hannah sadly prays for a 'Christmas Miracle'. --- Her mother realizes that Hannah is unhappy so she decides to tell her daughter the truth about her biological father, Mike Connor. Hannah now knows her dreams of having fun when she was a child with a loving nurturing adult male were more than just a wish. She searches for her dad, but comes up empty until he hears her plea on TV. Mike tries to make contact before undergoing a dangerous mission in Iraq. When she learns her dad¿s mission turned deadly and dangerous, she focuses on the hope that her 'Christmas Miracle' will come true. --- The fourth Red Gloves tale is an intriguing inspirational in which the young heroine cannot understand why she is neglected by her parents who are busy playing diplomat. Though she handles the shock that her mom¿s husband Jack is not her biological father rather easily, fans will feel Hannah¿s angst and needs and have some of their own as they wonder in spite of expecting the obvious that we know deep down will happen, whether a miracle will occur as the heroine hopes. That is the ability of Karen Kingsbury as she keeps her fans enthralled with the idea of will or will not a miracle occur while lifting the spirits of her readers. --- Harriet Klausner
i think this is a good book that she lost her father and he was in the miitary ithink thats a good topic to write about and i think people should buy this book
this is the best book ever!! karen kingsbury is my favorite author...i also love her novel A Thousand Tomorrows!! she is a great author and i cant wait to read all her books!!