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Hold the Light

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  43 reviews
To an artist, the light is everything. So what is Amber supposed to do when facing blindness?

Amber spent her life adapting first to being abandoned by her birth mother as a toddler, and then to the death of her adoptive father in her teen years. Now she's moved past all that, loving life as an independent woman: she has a job as an art instructor and the perfect apartment.
Paperback, 300 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by WhiteFire Publishing
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Average rating 4.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  63 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Susie Finkbeiner
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is redemptive power in story. This, I believe, is why Jesus told stories of imperfect people who found themselves in messes (sometimes by their own doing). His parables told of folks' need of grace, mercy, and healing.

April McGowan has taken a cue from Christ, the master storyteller, and crafted a redemptive story of pain, loss, and the raw human condition. But she has also followed Jesus' lead to bring her characters to a point of finding grace in Christ, offering mercy to each other,
Elaine Cooper
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
April McGowan has penned yet another amazing novel that I did not want to put down at night! I eagerly anticipated returning to it the next day and treasured every moment with her characters.

The main protagonist is Amber, an artist who is going blind from a genetic condition. McGowan expertly describes the many emotions and transitions that Amber endures through it all. To complicate this devastating life-change, she also wrestles with feelings of abandonment from her childhood.

The secondary
Nadine Keels
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Art is Amber’s passion and lifework, expressed through her paintings and her job teaching art to children. Hence, it’s infinitely more than an inconvenience when she learns that her vision problems are due to the fact that she’s going blind. The unresolved pain of Amber’s past comes to the fore as she wrestles with her faith and the gradual loss of her eyesight in Hold the Light, a novel by author April McGowan.

The book cover excellently captures the brilliant essence of this story: a lone
Maureen Timerman
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This poor girl ends up having to come to terms with a lot in her young life, and now she is facing blindness. Horrible under any circumstance, but she is an artist and a teacher, and very talented!
When we meet Amber she has just gotten diagnosed, and has to face reality, and we soon meet who is there for her. We also learn early on that she was adopted, and then another bombshell is quickly dropped, and more for her to come to terms with.
There is one amazing friend in Shannon, she is more than a
Jocelyn Green
This is a brave book that deals with extremely challenging life situations that aren't as often depicted in fiction. I was extremely interested in what would happen next and how the characters would adjust. I appreciate the nonconventional storyline and the redemptive qualities of this book. Thank you, April McGowan, for a worthwhile read.
Gail Welborn
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
***a compelling suspense wrapped in a contemporary novel***

Award-winning author April McGowan’s latest release, “Hold the Light” is a story of love, loss, and catastrophic change in the life of a promising young artist who receives a devastating diagnosis from what she anticipated would be a “routine eye appointment.”

When Amber made the appointment with Dr. Birkman she thought she might need glasses to correct her vision. She wasn’t prepared for him to say she had macular degeneration, a
A.M. Heath
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What I loved: Hold the Light was beautiful! Memorable! I can’t say enough good things about this one. While I did feel like there were areas where the secondary characters or Amber’s reaction came across as a tad shallow, there was so much more working for this novel.
My favorite aspect of the novel was McGowan’s ability to show real hardships and real emotions. She had crafted a story that tugged on my heart without making me feel broken inside. She also excelled at bringing the reader to face a
Sam B
This is a good book that deals with though issues in what I believe is a realistic way.

Amber is in her mid-twenties when she receives a diagnostic that will change her life forever: she is losing her sight. There is nothing anyone can do about it. It's a genetic condition, and no surgery or course of treatment can reverse the process.
Being an artist, having a job teaching art to kids, Amber feels at a loss. How is she suppose to move forward when her whole life is falling apart. Fortunately,
Hailey Rose
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Review coming soon!!!
Cathy Cermele
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was immediately caught up in the story of Amber as she received a devastating diagnosis from her eye doctor and begins her emotional journey.
I could understand her feelings and also the feelings of her mother and close friends. I have firsthand knowledge that when someone is facing a life changing situation like that, it’s hard for them to give up their independence. It was heartbreaking what Amber was going through, especially for someone so young and with such a bright and promising future.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hold the Light(2017) by April McGowan is a stand-alone novel that was just released on August 15, 2017. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 300 pages in length. With a full-time job and a rambunctious five-year old at home, this novel took me two days to read. I received a review copy of this novel from WhiteFire Publishing. In no way has this influenced my opinions of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.I give this phenomenal novel 5+ STARS. This novel is ...more
Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)
Wow. I couldn't pick up another book for a couple of days after reading this book. I just had to soak it all in and give myself a breather before starting again. There was so much emotion, and I was so invested in the characters that the story felt real to me. My heart ached for them, and there were definitely some times where tissues were a must!

I was captivated by the end of the first chapter. First of all, the writing was great. And although the author wouldn't know this, my husband's
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I offered to review Hold the Light because the premise intrigued me: an artist who discovers she's going blind. The idea brought back memories of several excellent novels I read as a child and teenager featuring blind protagonists and their daily challenges. I was intrigued with the idea of an adult going blind and being able to plan for it, wondering how she would cope.

Overall, Hold the Light didn't deliver on the promise for me.

The writing was solid but unremarkable. I would have liked to have
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I’m not sure how to say it any other way!
How would you feel if your life was suddenly going to change and go dark? I remember as a child I would pretend I was blind and try to go around with my eyes closed. I’d bump into things and laugh, then open my eyes and see what it was. But that was just child’s play.
In reality, I know I’d never just laugh. It would be frightening and there would be a sense of deep loss.
Author, April McGowan, has woven the words of this story in such a way, we
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I usually will get into a book and not put it down, forsaking food and other wonderful things including sleep. Then there are times I'm grasping for a book, desperate to know more but little people and responsibilities are pulling at me from the other side. This was one of those times. It may have taken awhile to finish but I was so glad to have those moments to fall into the story.

I immediately was drawn into Amber's journey even right from the beginning diagnosis. I was intrigued by various
Katherine Jones
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
If this book were a movie, I’d rate it: PG

My take: One of the reasons I gravitate to fiction is because I like learning about issues and exploring the what-ifs within a well-imagined story world. This is what compelled me to pick up April McGowan’s latest novel, Hold the Light. An artist losing her sight? That’s a story to spark my curiosity. How might that play out?

I liked how the author took an almost unimaginable situation and made it real. To me, the most compelling women’s fiction begins
Suzie Waltner
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh the feels in this book! Heartbreak, loss, fear, pain, acceptance, hope. April McGowan draws the reader in to experience everything right along with Amber.

When her entire life shifts in one afternoon, Amber’s dream of teaching students art, her relationships, even her apartment seems too much. The knowledge she is losing her sight shifts her perspective in every area of her life.
Flawed and prone to mistakes and missteps, Amber reminded me that God meets us where we are. In our anger, our
Christine Lindsay
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
What a delightful surprise to find a beautifully written and suspense-filled women’s fiction novel that features a heroine with a disability, and a hero battling his own severe illness. Hold the Light by April McGowan is a book for intelligent readers who want gripping fiction that focuses on a subject that affects a great majority of people. We all know (or are) persons with disabilities, and people who are marginalized in our society for those disabilities.

The heroine of Hold the Light is an
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book grabbed me on the first page and I read 71 pages in the first read. McGowan pulls us through with lovable - and not so lovable - characters. We know on the first page that Amber will lose her vision. When it will happen and how she will prepare is the story. An artist and teacher, she is uncertain of her future and struggles with why God would let this happen.

McGowan beautifully writes about Amber's experience with believable narrative and dialogue. There are enough twists to keep us
Susan Mathis
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My sleepless night was well worth it. I couldn’t put Hold the Light down, even though I usually only read historical fiction.

My sleepless night reading this book was well worth it. I couldn’t put it down, even though I usually only read historical fiction. I connected with the main character, Amber immediately and rooted for her the entire way through the book. Though she struggles with self-centered and poor-me attitudes, her counselor, Ethan, helps her adjust to losing her vision. She’s flawed
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hold the Light

I look for Christian fiction stories that are outside of the box. Stories that are not formulaic, that dare to tell hard truths; well, I found it in Holding the Light. Here is a Christian story where there are no quick fixes, where the writer allowed the characters to be real.

Amber is a character you can relate to; you understand her anger, pain, sorrow. I like that the author allowed her to grieve the loss of something that is precious to most of us. And I love the fact that
Danika Cooley
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am so excited to purchase another novel by April McGowan. Hold the Light, like her previous novels, was brilliant, exciting, and full of unexpected twists and turns.

The main character, Amber, has suffered a serious blow. She handles it like most of us would--poorly. It's a blessing to watch Amber grow through her trial.

One of the things I love about McGowan's novels is that I'm never quite certain how they're going to turn out. I'm a fan of suspense, and I'm always wondering where the
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
McGowan’s new release, Hold the Light, draws the reader into an unexpected experience. Pages turned faster as I discovered, through the author’s excellent research, the main character’s challenges and grief in her journey into blindness, amid a career she loves. Amber is a fiercely independent woman and her artwork has just gained notoriety as the darkness descends. Her heartbreaks became my own as she struggled with life’s wretched offerings and complicated relationships. Predictability has no ...more
Susan Maas
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hold the Light is a great book about overcoming obstacles through faith in God. For an artist, the diagnosis that she will lost her sight completely seems like the end of Amber's world. However, through faith and the help of friends, Amber learns how to deal with the changes--as well as an ex-boyfriend who is stalking her and her inner fear of abandonment. The characters are well-drawn and interesting people, and the story held my interest and kept me reading, wanting to see what happened next. ...more
Lynn Hare
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hold the Light stirred me to tears with its realistic friendships and raw canvas of life struggles. April McGowan paints a believable picture of personal loss. I fell in love with trustworthy Ethan. I fell in love with Amber’s sunrise and whale paintings. I fell in love with Amber, while her sight faded and her soul’s heart-light grew brighter. This is the first April McGowan book I’ve read, and I’m sure I’ll be reading more! I give Hold the Light 5 stars for touching me deeply with the heart ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read April McGowan’s Hold the Light in 2 sittings! I loved the characters and enjoyed the hope, reality, and humor in this story. I liked the story of how Amber came to terms with her disability and how God brought new meaning and direction in her life. April used specific words and phrases to vividly show the progression of Amber’s blindness. There’s something for everyone in April’s heartwarming story.
Wilani Wahl
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very powerful book book about an artist who is going blind and her process in dealing. I was drawn right and felt like I was Amber going through all the angst. The Spiritual element was also great. I could relate to the other characters surrounding Amber because my mother was going blind until the Lord took her home. This is a great book. It is one that will hopefully help others to understand what this is like for the ones going through this.
Jennifer Leo
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Going blind is bad enough. When you make your living as an artist, it's even worse. When she receives a tough diagnosis, Amber's world is rocked to the core. But along the harrowing journey lie unexpected blessings. As Amber loses her eyesight, she gains her voice, and through the gathering darkness, she's drawn to a different source of Light. Once again, April McGowan delivers a deeply moving story of courage and grace. A winner!
Peg Willis
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, much to think about and digest

April McGowan has a wonderful ability to feel the hearts of her characters and to pass along that deep emotional connection to the reader. And she seems unable to produce a stock or shallow character! In HOLD THE LIGHT she has given the reader an inside look at the threat of quickly progressing blindness and the trauma of childhood abandonment. It is a "just one more chapter" book, impossible to put down.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so so very much. The author clearly shone a "Light" on the issues people face when they are diagnosed with a serious health issue. With ease the author was able to show people's reaction when they are told of another's issue - the good and the bad. I think this is a book that everyone should be reading. It touches deep into my own faith and places in my heart that I rarely take a look.
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April McGowan loves to stories of hope, courage, and inspiration. She and her husband, two children, and her 3 mews, Saoirse,Xander, and Liam, live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Authors Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's also the publicity coordinator for Oregon Christian Writers. When she's not writing, reading ...more
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“Did God also tell you He was going to steal my sight from me? Did He tell you I was going to be disabled for the rest of my life? Did He tell you what I was going to do with my career? Because. I. Didn’t. Get. The. Memo!” 0 likes
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