HER MOTHER’S HOPE by Francine Rivers [Review]
I love a good love story. I also love family drama and strong women characters, and this book seemed to have all of it wrapped up in one. What could go wrong?
HER MOTHER’S HOPE is a two part book about two generations of women—Marta and her daughter Hildemara—and deals with the missteps of each generation and the tumultuous relationship between a mother and her daughter.
The book begins by narrating the story of Marta Schneider. At the turn of the century, Marta leaves her family and home in Switzerland and sets off across the world to reach her dream of owning her own hotel. On the journey, she meets and marries Niclas Waltert and they finally settle in California on a twenty acre farm. This is where Marta’s story ends and her daughter Hildemara’s story begins. Hildemara misinterprets her mother’s tough love as condescension and she tries her hardest to make her mother proud. As she grows up, she sets off to accomplish her dream of becoming a nurse, and ends up marrying a military man who is sent to battle during the second World War.
The problem I find with this book is the length. At a hefty 450 or so pages, it seems to be a drawn out narrative, but because Rivers has to tell two entire stories in one, she flies through the lives of both women, only detailing that which is essential to their motives, leaving little to talk about except their trials and tribulations. She concentrates on Marta’s abusive father, the tragic fate of her sister, the terrible events spent working in France, and the hardships she and her husband faced in sharecropping in Canada. We’re told she has a hard life, but we’re not given any evidence that she actually had positive experiences. It’s as if the positive isn’t as important, nor crucial, to Marta’s story. And the same can be said with Hildemara.
Everything is written in a matter-of-fact manner; straight and to the point. The love stories of each woman aren’t as powerful as what they’re alluded to be by the characters themselves and the years jump so fast I had a hard time keeping track of the age of each woman.
It was disheartening to find such an interesting and captivating story with strong female characters with unique family bonds told in such a blasé manner. I wish Rivers had spent more time developing the characters rather than be in such a hurry to get the story written.
In any case, I couldn’t help but finish the book. The innate potential of the story won out over any technical problems the story might have.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars | Publisher: Tyndale House | Pages: 483 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon