We Hope for Better Things
by Erin Bartels
Paperback- $10.99

"In this powerful first novel . . . Bartels successfully weaves American history into a deeply moving story of heartbreak, long-held ...

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  "We Hope For Better Things" by Silversolara (see profile) 01/19/19

A box of photos, an elderly aunt the main character didn’t know about, and an old house.??

Was it fate that Elizabeth had lost her job as a journalist because of a story she was covering???

Was it fate that James Rich found her and wanted her to return some photos to a Nora Balsam???

Was it fate that Elizabeth fell in love with Aunt Nora and with her home the minute she met her and stepped inside the family home?

??As the chapters alternate between the three Balsam women, we meet Elizabeth present day as she is finishing up a story and gets fired because of the story and as Elizabeth meets James Rich who has a task for her she doesn’t want to do until she finds out that Nora is her great aunt.

We meet Nora in her younger days and in present time. Going through her house and seeing the beauty that was once there pulled me in.

??We also meet Mary Balsam dating back to 1861 and the first inhabitant of the house Nora now lived in.??

??I love old photos, old houses, and stories that our older relatives have to tell us about their lives and the time period which they lived in and how they lived.

Elizabeth found all of those things, with the best things being the old house with stories of its own and the stories of the three women's interesting lives.

One problem, though, was that Nora wouldn’t talk about the house or tell any stories at all about her past life.

When Elizabeth finds locked rooms, gravestone markers, and many beds lined up in the attic my interest peaked.

Those readers who enjoy historical fiction, secrets, surprises, and an unraveling of the past will thoroughly enjoy WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS.

??And, of course, the characters were simply wonderful. I didn’t want the book to end because of them.??

WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS has a warmth that will linger with you and a wonderful history lesson.

Ms Bartels' debut novel has flawless writing and a marvelous story line. 5/5??

This book was given to me by the publisher via Bookishfirst in exchange for an honest review.

  "" by ebach (see profile) 04/29/19

“We hope for better things; it will rise from the ashes.” That is Detroit’s motto. And it is so appropriate, also, to this book, three different stories about three women, all related but each a different generation.

Elizabeth Balsam is presently a reporter for the DETROIT FREE PRESS. She is contacted by a black man about photographs of the 1967 race riots in Detroit. They are in his possession, he says, but rightfully belong to Nora Balsam Rich, a white woman who had been married to his uncle, William Rich, the photographer of the photos. Elizabeth learns that Nora is her great aunt and goes to Nora’s home, a big white house in Lapeer County, Michigan, to discuss the photos. Over time, Elizabeth learns Nora’s story and, through Nora, the history of this house and her great great great grandmother who also lived there.

Nora’s story begins during the 1960s when she is young, but an adult, living a life financed by her father. They are from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. But Nora is disowned by her parents when she marries a black man from Detroit, William Rich. Nora and William end up living in the big white house in Lapeer County.

Mary, Nora’s great great grandmother, lives in the big white house in Lapeer County during Civil War times. While her husband is away in the army, she takes care of their farm, and her home is part of the Underground Railroad. One escaped slave becomes so invaluable she couldn’t run the farm without him.

Although I picked up this book because it is about the part of Michigan where I live, I found much else to like about it. The book not only tells about two different points in history and the racism that existed then in Michigan; it also adds the mystery of William: What happened to him? Did he abandon Nora? When did he die? Or is he alive?

My only problem with this book is that a couple coincidences seem to be a bit too much of a coincidence, so unlikely.

There, I haven’t given away any of the plot. But see if you don’t agree.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 02/15/20

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