Reluctant Hope

How strong is the human will to survive? Can surrendering gracefully to an
inevitable end, be just as admirable as fighting valiantly to one’s dying


These are themes I explored in my next novel, Reluctant
In this story, I examined the very different ways that people deal
with cancer, either their own or that of a loved one. One of my protagonists,
Addison Hunt, has survived breast cancer and, though still touched by her past,
she has moved on to life after her illness. On the other hand, Brooke Donahue’s
pain is fresh, having just lost her best friend. She’s angry on many levels and
running from her overwhelming grief.

Writing this story was an emotional journey for me. At first, because I strove to put
myself close to these two women—to their moments of grief and pain, as well as
their moments of triumph and acceptance. I wanted to honor the strength and
bravery with which women like Addison and Brooke face their incredible

Two months ago, the themes of this book became even more personal for me as my
family struggled with many of the same questions. My aunt had been ill for some
time, but continued fighting to get better. But then, the doctors said they’d
done all they could, and hospice was brought in to help.

Her passing left a hole in our family where once was a strong, funny, compassionate woman. Watching my large family deal with the process of losing her, showed me the varied way that people deal with such difficult circumstances. It also raised a number of questions for me—about my own journey with my amazing partner and about how I want to prepare for the unexpected that may lie ahead.

On a larger scale, I was left examining my own views about the will to fight even
in the face of dire odds, and painful illness. What kind of reserve must
someone dig into to find that kind of strength? Can there be grace in letting
go? And will I have the courage to make that decision should I ever reach a
point in my life where it is necessary?

I did the final read-through of Reluctant Hope in the days following my aunt’s death. This time, Addison and Brooke’s story took on an even deeper, more profound meaning for me. I can’t wait to put this book into the hands of my readers. I hope that it can do as it has for me—provoke thought, heal wounds, and, at the very least, provide a heart-warming romance.


8 Responses to “Reluctant Hope”

  1. 1 djacksonleigh June 2, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Just finished reading “Reluctant Hope.” When I pick up an Erin Dutton novel, I’ve come to expect a well-written, engaging romance. This newest of her stories delivers just that, but this book is so much more. My partner and I lost a good friend to breast cancer a few years back, and know many more who have fought the battle and won. Erin’s characters are well developed and I appreciated that they were deeply reflective without boring me with pages and pages of introspection. Although I’ve liked them all, my favorite of Erin’s books is “Sequestered Hearts.” I think “Reluctant Hope” is running a very close second.


    • 2 Erin Dutton June 3, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend. This book was meant to honor those who have been lost as well as those who have survived.

      Although I don’t like to pick favorites among my own books, RH is pretty close to the top. Glad you liked it!


  2. 3 Carsen Taite June 2, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    “provoke thought, heal wounds, and, at the very least, provide a heart-warming romance” – Erin, you accomplished all of these with Reluctant Hope. I loved these complex characters and lived their ups and downs through each page. Well done.


  3. 5 bookgeek June 4, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    just downloaded your book – hesitantly … since I nearly lost my partner because of cancer.


    • 6 Erin Dutton July 21, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      Sorry, it took me a bit to respond, I think I missed this post somehow. I hope you enjoy the book. I tried to balance the pain that both of these women have gone through, both emotional and physical, with the positive message of healing and finding life after cancer. Given your history, I’m sure the story will hit close to home, but I hope it also celebrates how lucky you are that you can put that word “nearly” in that sentence.


  4. 7 anni October 3, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Erin, I’m sorry but I just can not bring myself to read this. Why? Because I love your writing and I’m always “right there” with your characters…you have such a way of bringing them to life!
    And that is exactly why I can’t read this one – I lost my sister to cancer four years ago, my Mom last year and my partner in January.
    So although I love your work, this one hits too close to home… I hope you understand and I look forward to whatever your next book will be!


    • 8 erindutton1 October 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM


      I absolutely understand why you find it hard to consider reading this story. It can be a difficult topic in general, but to add such a personal layer, would be incredibly hard.

      Thank you so much for your kind word about my work, and I hope you continue to enjoy my other books.



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