Book Reviews,  Historical Fiction,  Realist Fiction,  Womens Literature

Book Review: We Hope for Better Things

We Hope for Better ThingsWe Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having previously read three books by this author, I trusted her storytelling skills to thread together three stories set in different times – the American civil war, 1967 Detroit riots, and present day. We move between these three time periods to explore the history of one family – specifically the women of this family, who share similar-yet-different experiences.

The glue that binds this story together is an ancient farmhouse in the countryside a ways north of Detroit. I accepted the farmhouse as the fourth main character. It has its own distinctive quirks and personality, as well as quietly holding many untold secrets.

I appreciated that the author did not lift up our female protagonists by dismissing the men in their lives. Everyone in this story is flawed and talented and interesting and of intrinsic value.

Overall? Beautiful, heartbreaking, hopeful. I read well past my bedtime every time I picked the book up. I felt a wistful sadness at the last page, as these were people I didn’t want to say goodbye to.

Erin Bartels has once again confirmed to me her talent as a superb storyteller. There’s still a few of her books I haven’t yet read, and over time, I’ll be picking those up, too.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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