Dr Crenshaw is a forensic genealogist, a DNA detective who uses science to try and identify bodies and track down killers. Dakota has experienced her own trauma early on in her life that has left her scarred physically, mentally and emotionally. When she begins searching for the identify of a two-year-old baby girl stuffed down a well in Tennessee, her science points her in the direction of one particular family, Nick Weston's who works for Identity Bank and the Cold Case Group. Nick has his own personal trauma going on after returning from active military service. Nick has been jilted by his long-time childhood sweetheart and fiancee and is feeling the pain of loneliness and rejection, himself. Despite Nick being a potential suspect in the murder of the little girl, the electricity between Dakota and him is obvious from the start. Can these two lonely individuals find each other amidst the suspicion and doubts created by the science Dr Crenshaw uncovers.
Like all of Crawford's works, Finding Hope is a powerful expression of how love can overcome all manner of obstacles we may face. The beautifully written words of love, friendship, camaraderie, tolerance, and understanding just pour from every page of Crawford's work. I am always a sucker for a sweet romance but Crawford takes that to the next level with her wonderfully drawn, full, somewhat damaged characters that ooze self-doubt, angst and suffering yet are powerful and triumphant in their own areas of expertise.
This is certainly not my first genre, as a reader, but it is one I come back to whenever I feel overwhelmed by the negativity of the books I've read. Crawford's gentle, loving, family of characters is just what a reader needs to remind him or herself that it is not necessarily as grim and as heartless out there as we are led to believe. Yes, we can all make stupid choices in life and we may have faced high hurdles in our journey but there is always love and the redemptive power of that love shines through all of Mary Crawford's wonderful books. In this genre she has no peer and I can make no higher recommendation than that. Another superb read from a master of flawed characterisation.