Reviewed by Sheryl Root
Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers
"...a compelling story of a mother and daughter with very different personalities, but more in common than either of them realize."
Francine Rivers is a gifted
storyteller. Whether writing contemporary or historical fiction, a common
thread runs throughout each—strong
characters and the faith that sustains them. Her most recent book, Her
Mother’s Hope, is a compelling story of a mother and daughter with
very different personalities, but more in common than either of them realize.
Marta Schneider grew up in the beauty of Switzerland but her life was not easy. Fiercely independent and ambitious, despite her father’s authoritarian attempts to crush her spirit, Marta’s dream is to one day own her own hotel or boardinghouse. Her mother is loving, but physically weak, encouraging Marta to search out the usefulness of each situation and to trust God for the results. Her younger sister, Elise, is beautiful, but timid and fearful of anything outside of the comfort of her home. And it is the tragedy that takes place in Elise’s life that plays a pivotal role in the rest of Marta’s.
When Marta marries and has her second child, Hildamara Rose, she sees the same frailty in her daughter that was in Elise. Determined that Hildie, unlike Elise, would grow up to be strong and independent, Marta is stricter with her than with her other children. While this comes from love, Hildie sees it differently, and while she respects her mother, she feels like nothing she does can ever please her.
Pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse, Hildie works hard to accomplish it. When she falls in love, the walls she has put up to protect herself from her mother’s seeming indifference jeopardize the relationship. Even after she is married and has children, the misunderstandings between mother and daughter are carried over into Hildie’s interactions with her own children. Can these patterns ever be broken?
Her Mother’s Hope reminded me of some of my favorite inter-generational novels by Lynn Austin, such as Eve’s Daughters and All She Ever Wanted, as well as Leota’s Garden, an earlier book by Rivers. It’s fascinating to have a wide angle view of a person’s life and to realize how the actions and decisions a person makes affect not only themselves, but the generations that come after. Seeing a situation that two people experience from both of their viewpoints makes me realize how easy it is for us to misunderstand each other and how important it is to give each other grace.
As in life, there are no neat ends tied up in this novel, and I greatly anticipate reading the second part of this story in Her Daughter’s Dream, scheduled to be released in September 2010.
Sheryl Root is Partner Database Manager at OneHope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach every child with God’s Word. She’s also a writer and a reader of everything she can get her hands on … books, blogs, magazines. In other words, she’s both a data geek and a book nerd. She loves to be able to support Christian authors and spread the word on great books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a wonderful community of published and yet to be published writers. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sheryl_Root.