Customer Reviews for

The Coffins of Little Hope

Average Rating 3.5
( 20 )
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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Full of character and decency

    An interesting cast of likable characters with sensible and believable relationships. A reflection on the ways of a small town and the issues it faces to remain relevant and viable. A commentary on our inability to distinguish between the small things that matter and those that do not. For all of that, this book is not heavy-handed or heavy-hearted. It is written in a highly readable, light way from the perspective of a woman who embodies the memory of the town and its people. As other reviewers have noted, the ending does not provide "closure". It leaves us with scandals receding and life moving on, which, in my small town at least, is how we all hope it will be.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    A Fresh Read!

    The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert was a very enjoyable read - one that I wanted to pick up every chance I had a little time for reading. The story is narrated by Essie Myles, an 83-year-old obituary writer for a small town Nebraska newspaper. The newspaper was started by her father and is now run by Essie's grandson, Doc. The newspaper's printing press also happens to be the location secretly chosen to print the last book in a wildly popular young adult series.

    Essie begins the story with a trip to The Crippled Eighty, a local farm, to write the obituary of Lenore, a young girl who was reported missing months before. Essie sits with Lenore's mother, Daisy, to discuss Daisy's wish for Essie to write her daughter's obituary. Daisy does not believe Lenore to be deceased, but she misses the attention that she received when Lenore was front page news. She seeks to regain that attention. Essie then backtracks her story to the point at which Lenore first went missing so that the reader can better understand Daisy's motives for her obituary request.

    Daisy's story about Lenore missing is problematic. At first the small town rallies together to search for Lenore, but slowly the town begins to doubt Daisy's story and many wonder whether Lenore ever even existed. Then there is the issue of Daisy working at the printing press where the final installment of that young adult series is being printed. Daisy begins reading excerpts of what may or may not be the official final book via CB radio. The town is captivated by these readings until Daisy stops broadcasting. Then the town begins to forget about Daisy and Lenore.

    The novel includes additional subplots that depict the dynamic of Essie's family and the reclusive nature of the young adult series author. Schaffert has written an engaging story that brings all of the subplots together in one fresh story. At the end of the story, the reader has to decide whether or not Lenore was a real child or a figment of Daisy's overactive imagination.

    The Coffins of Little Hope is out in paperback today. Thanks to Unbridled Books for providing me with a free e-galley to review via NetGalley.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Coffins of Little Hope

    Esther Myles has written obituaries for her family owned town paper called the County Paragraph since dropping out of school in the eighth grade, her byline has always been S Myles. At the age of 83 she is years past retirement but is busier than she has ever been. She doesn't let her age bother her, she actually considers herself a part of a group in town she calls the death merchants, the people who are a necessary part of dealing with death, such as the undertaker, who by the way is 78, and the town florist who is 81, and the youngest of the group is the cemetery caretaker who is only 56.
    A couple of things propelled the tiny little town into the spotlight. The first was when the County Paragraph's printing press was chosen to print a portion of the wildly popular but also banned series called Miranda and Desiree. Because the books were banned the publisher used tiny obscure printing companies to covertly print the novels., The second big bit of news was when a girl named Lenore went missing. Her mother Daisy worked for the printing press, and had taken up with a drifter she called "Elvis" a man who took ariel pictures of peoples farms. On the day that he up and leaves Lenore comes up missing as well. Because Daisy was such an unreliable person, people began to wonder if Daisy ever really had a daughter. When Daisy finally asks Essie to write Lenore's obituary, the obituary instead becomes a story of a missing girl, who may or may not have existed.

    I always enjoy reading books that grasp the real flavor of the small town, and this one does just that. Just like most small towns there are always a few quirky characters who always add a bit of humor to any story.

    I loved that the story is told thru the voice of Essie an 83 year old woman, whose first obituary was actually an essay about her mother who died while giving birth to her. There are several secondary story lines going on in the story such as the relationship between Tiffany and her mother Ivy, as well as the relationship between Tiffany and Doc, who stepped in to take care of his niece when her mother left. I found the preacher quite interesting , while he preached against the banned books, his wife secretly read them.

    An intricate story, with no real closure at the end allowing the reader to reach their own conclusions.While not a compelling book that had to be read in one sitting, I still found it an enjoyable read.

    I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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    Posted July 17, 2011

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