Friday, March 25, 2011

Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers

From Goodreads: The first in an epic two-book saga by beloved author Francine Rivers, this sweeping story explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters over several generations. Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California. Marta’s experiences convince her that only the strong survive. Hildie, Marta’s oldest daughter, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother. Amid the drama of WWII, Hildie marries and begins a family of her own. She wants her daughter never to doubt her love—but the challenges of life conspire against her vow. Each woman is forced to confront her faulty but well-meaning desire to help her daughter find her God-given place in the world.

My Thoughts: I don’t know what I was expecting when I opened up Her Mother’s Hope but I can tell you that I was surprised and hooked after just the first 2 pages. The characters and relationships were so complex, and so real. Marta was one of those characters that I had respect for, loved, hated, pitied and wanted to scream at all at once. I FELT so much in reading this book, to the point where at times I forgot that I was reading fiction – it just felt so much like I was reading a real family history.

There was an underlying theme of having faith in God no matter what the circumstance and it was interesting to see how different characters interpreted and practiced their faith. Listening to various characters talking to God and understanding how much their faith meant to them, and their day to day interactions, really made me think of them as alive.

Love was also present in nearly every page of this book. Marta’s love for her mother, her desire to be loved by her father, the relationships she formed with those she served for, her love for her childhood best friend. I was constantly troubled by the way that she showed love to her daughter Hildie. Knowing Marta’s past and knowing how she feared nothing more than Hildie following in Elise’s footsteps I suppose a part of me can understand why she felt the need to act the way she did, but I still couldn’t help but get so angry with her for it. I felt like screaming “do you not see what you are doing!?” but of course this is fiction and usually people don’t see what they are doing until the end of the book.

As someone who really likes to focus on a character or event and read all of the small details that make it feel real, I think that I would have like it if Her Mother’s Hope was separated into two volumes instead of just one. I felt the quick progression of time to be dizzying. Sometimes an entire chapter would be devoted to a few months, other times 4 or 5 years would pass within a few pages. I still enjoyed it tremendously but wished that certain parts of Marta or Hildie’s lives would have been given more attention.

I found Her Mother’s Hope to be a compelling read and once I got into it could not put it down. I am looking forward to reading the sequel Her Daughter’s Dream. There is so much more that I could stay about this book, I think it was a great choice for my first Francine River’s novel!


  1. I have almost all of Francine Rivers' books. They are great, especially Redeeming Love & The Mark of the Lion series.

  2. @Jolene

    I'm really interested to read some of her other books - looks like I know what to move on to next! Thanks for stopping by

  3. Sounds good! Thanks so much for visiting on my SITS day!!

  4. @Kristy

    It was good! I hope you had a great day!

  5. Hi Bonnie - I am putting "Her Mother's Hope" at the top of my TBR pile. This will be a great read for the Immigration Stories Challenge. Thanks for the review.

  6. @Cathy

    You're welcome Cathy, I would love to hear your thoughts when you finish it. I am going to be reading the sequel "Her Daughter's Dream" soon.


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