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March 1, 2019

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

We Hope for Better Things;  It will raise us from the ashes (Detroit City Motto)

"Aunt Nora had been wrong when she said the history was written by the victors, for the victors in one generation may turn to be the villains of the next.  And the only way to get closer to the truth was to refuse to quit looking for it."

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

We Hope for Better Things
January 2019; Revell; 978-0800734916
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); women's fiction
This fantastic new novel follows three generations of women in Michigan as they fight social issues of their day.  Even though it's told in three different voices, the story melds together perfectly.  The book is so well written and the characters so realistic that it's hard to believe that this is a debut novel.  I can't wait to see what this author writes next.

The three main characters:

Mary in Lapeer County, MI, starting in 1861.  Mary's husband has left to join the Union Army and only Mary and her servant are left to run the large farm.  Mary's husband starts sending escaping slaves to the farm and many of them stay to work.  Eventually, much to the townspeople dismay, the house is filled with ex-slaves trying to better themselves.

Nora in Detroit, starting in 1963.  Nora lives a life of privilege in Bloomfield Hills.  The inner city of Detroit doesn't affect her at all until she meets a black photographer at an art gallery and they fall in love and much to both families dismay and disapproval, get married.  Nora and her husband move to the family farm in Lapeer built by Mary and her husband.

Elizabeth is a news reporter for the Detroit Free Press in present-day Detroit.  She is asked to take a camera to Nora who is her unknown great aunt. Since she just got fired from her job at the newspaper, she agrees to go hoping that she'll find a new story to report.   While she is there, she uncovers much about the family's history and about herself.

It was very interesting to read a book with three women's voices during crucial times of war and racism.  Mary fights against racism when she opens her farm to escaping slaves during the Civil War.  Nora's struggles are set against racism in Detroit and the Detroit riots.  Even though the times are turbulent, the three women are strong.  The main feelings that I got from this book were of strength, love, and resilience in the face of adversity.

Buy We Hope for Better Things at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter


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