The Hope Chest is a deeply emotional novel about three people who have seemingly lost all hope until one woman’s heirloom hope chest is rediscovered in the attic, along with its contents and secrets.
Mattie is a fiercely independent woman battling ALS; Don, her deeply devoted husband is facing a future without his one true love; and Rose, their struggling caregiver, is a young, single mother who feels trapped in her life. With each item that is discoveredincluding a beloved doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornamentthe hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and not only helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges but also brings new meaning to family.
About the Author
VIOLA SHIPMAN is a penname for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered.
Read an Excerpt
The Hope Chest
By Viola Shipman
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Viola Shipman
All rights reserved.
Rose Hoffs leaned in to her bathroom mirror and pushed at the bags beneath her eyes.
She sighed and reached for some moisturizer and then for the foundation.
More water, more sleep, more exercise, more ... everything, Rose thought. I'm 27 going on 107.
Rose took a deep breath and an even bigger swig of coffee and continued to "put on her face" as her mom used to say. Her nose twitched instinctively, just like a rabbit, and she sniffed the air.
Spring, Rose thought. The town is alive again!
It was a beautiful spring day in Saugatuck, Michigan, and the windows were open in Rose's tiny five-room cottage, letting in the warm air that Michiganders wait so long for after interminable winters. Carried along on the wind was the sweet scent of blueberry streusel muffins, cinnamon scones, and roasting beans from Lake Effect Coffee located a few blocks away.
Rose's mouth watered.
Rose's cottage on Butler Street sat perched behind a row of larger resort homes, almost like a carriage house. But it wasn't. The home was one of the town's original fishing cottages — which came with a tiny square lot big enough for some rhododendrons and a couple of bikes. The Hoffs never dreamed resorters would come in droves to the little artists' colony on the dunes of Lake Michigan, buying every available plot of land and building houses that reached up, up, up for seasonal peeks of the river and lake.
In fact, the Hoffs' house had become known in town as the "Up" house (the level of sarcasm or affection for the nickname depended on whom you talked to and their net worth) because their adorable little cottage sat in the midst of gentrification just like the elderly widower's home in the Disney movie.
The film Up came out just before Rose's mother died, and she had loved the movie and moniker.
"Up," she would say, laughing every time the cartoon movie house took flight thanks to the hundreds of helium balloons attached. "Our house is like that one: filled with hope and adventure."
The wind again wafted the scent of freshly baked treats into Rose's house — Those are definitely blueberry muffins, she thought — making her mouth water again. Rose wondered how many blueberries her parents, Dora and Dave, had sold over the course of their lifetimes from their tiny farmers' market on Blue Star Highway.
We couldn't afford to buy this house today, Rose thought. I couldn't even afford to keep their stand going. I can barely pay the taxes.
Rose's mind drifted to all the resorters who owned land around the Hoffs' house and their offers to buy the house and property.
How much longer can I hold out? Rose wondered. My mother would never forgive me if I lost it. I need this job.
Rose shook her head and reached for her lipstick.
"How about this one, Mommy?"
Rose looked over at her daughter, Jeri, seated on a cushioned chair at the vanity, happily holding up a tube of lipstick. In the few minutes Rose had not been paying attention, her seven-year-old daughter had painted her whole face pink, her favorite color. She resembled one of the Doodlebops, from the cartoon she loved to watch.
"Very Deedee Doodle," said Rose, smiling, despite Jeri's misbehavior, referencing one of the colorfully painted children's band members who teach kids social lessons.
"Yeah!" giggled Jeri. "Better than one of the boys."
Jeri stopped and looked at her mom with a serious expression. "How come I'm named after a boy? All the kids in Mrs. Hooper's class made fun of my name this year. I'm glad it's summer vacation!"
"Well ...," started Rose, who always had trouble explaining this fact to her seven-year-old.
Do I tell her that her father had wanted a boy? And that he had been disappointed with a girl? And with me? And with pretty much everything in his life? And that her name was a compromise to keep him happy?
"We wanted a name as unique as you," Rose said, reaching over to muss her daughter's curly red locks. "Don't worry. You'll grow into it. It wasn't easy being named after a thorny flower, either."
Rose dampened a washcloth and leaned down to clean her daughter's face.
That won't cut it, Rose thought, before grabbing some makeup remover as well as some makeup remover towelettes. As she was scrubbing Jeri's pink, round cheeks, her daughter said, "A rose is beautiful, Mommy. Just like you."
Rose's lip quivered, and her eyes filled with tears.
"You're so sweet. Thank you. You're going to make me cry."
"Don't cry, Mommy," Jeri said. "It's a very big day."
Rose nodded, as she finished scrubbing her daughter's face. "Yes, it is," she agreed.
She was putting on her lipstick when Jeri asked another question.
"Are you nervous?"
Rose stopped with her lipstick in midair, as if she were conducting an invisible orchestra. Her lip quivered again.
"I am," she said. "It's a very big interview for me ... for us."
"Wait here," Jeri said, hopping off the little seat at the vanity. Rose could hear Jeri's padded footsteps run into her bedroom. A few seconds later, her daughter was back, her tiny hands hiding something behind her back.
Jeri's face broke into a wide smile.
"Here!" she said with conviction, handing her mom her favorite doll — a beat-up, hand-me-down Raggedy Ann cloth doll. "She was sleeping, but I woke her up. I think you need her more than I do today."
Rose smiled and, without thinking, hugged Jeri and the cloth doll tightly.
"Thank you, sweetie," she said.
"I want you to take Ann with you on your ... what's it called again?" Jeri asked.
"Interview," Rose said.
"Yeah, inner-blue," Jeri said. "She'll keep you company."
Rose smiled at her daughter, feeling calm for a split second, before she felt her nerves kick in again.
I have no friends or family to watch Jeri today, Rose thought, and no extra money for a sitter. I'm a bad mother.
"Remember, you're going to have to babysit Ann in the car while I talk to the nice people for a few minutes today, okay?" Rose said to her daughter. "You're going to have to be a very big girl today."
"I will! I promise!" Jeri said. "And you're gonna have to be a big girl today, too!"
Rose smiled and again hugged the doll, which smelled of her daughter.
I can't recall a time Ann hasn't been part of my life, Rose thought.
"I promise to be a big girl, too," Rose said. "But now I have to find some big girl clothes to wear. We've got to hurry."
Rose and Jeri scurried over to the closet, and Rose began to scour through her clothes, tossing slacks, suit jackets, and blouses onto her bed.
Jeri's words — You're gonna have to be a big girl today — ran through Rose's head as she tried to pick out something to wear.
Why do I still feel like such a little girl? Rose thought, still clutching the red-haired doll that looked so much like her and her daughter.CHAPTER 2
Rose watched her baby daughter sleep, nuzzling her beloved doll, which was nestled into the curve of her chubby body.
As Jeri slept, she unconsciously gummed the cloth doll's hand, something Rose had done to the same doll as an infant, her mother had told her.
Rose reached out to caress the downy reddish curls that swept like little waves over her daughter's head, but stopped at the last moment, lowered her head, and wept.
I have everything, Rose thought. I have nothing.
In two short years, Rose's life had turned upside down. She had quit school, married her boyfriend, gotten pregnant, gotten a divorce, had a baby, and lost her mother.
In the distance, bells of the neighborhood church chimed. Rose thought of the day she married Ray Rhodes.
"I don't hear joyous church bells ringing today," her mother had said. "I only hear alarm bells."
She had been right, of course, Rose thought. About everything.
The church bells echoed throughout Rose's tiny home, making the old, wavy glass reverberate in the windowpanes of the house in which she had grown up. She looked around the nursery — once her bedroom — and watched tiny yellow ducks happily marching in rain boots around the border that lined the walls of the room.
"Happy," Rose thought, staring at their smiling beaks. What's that?
She swung forward in her rocker and gently eased the Raggedy Ann doll from the crook of her daughter's body.
I must look like the Grinch when he stole all of the Whoville children's Christmas gifts, Rose thought, slinking the doll out of the crib without waking Jeri.
Rose wrapped her arms around the tiny doll and hugged it. Raggedy Ann had faded from years of play and washes, her red triangle nose, string hair, gingham top, and striped legs now more pink in color.
"Life sure puts us through the wringer, doesn't it?" Rose whispered to the doll. With Rose's coaxing, Raggedy Ann nodded her head in agreement.
Rose looked into the doll's eyes. Ann had two mismatched button eyes, one the original large black circle, the other a small blue button from ... A sob emerged from the depths of Rose, and she covered her mouth to stop herself from waking Jeri.
Oh, Mom, she thought. I miss you.
I hate cancer, Rose said to the doll, who had lost its original eye when Rose — overcome with grief — had nervously twisted it off and then lost it during her mother's illness. She had plucked the new button off the back of her mother's blue Easter dress when she picked it for the funeral and added it to the doll as a way to keep a part of her mother with her forever.
Cancer has taken both my parents and both of Jeri's grandparents. I'm too young to have no family.
"I love blue!" her mother had chirped every Easter as she walked to the stone church on the hill in Saugatuck, rain or shine or snow. "Blue spring skies, bluebirds, blooming blue bells, and blue moon ice cream. Blue is hope, Rose. Sunny skies ahead!"
Rose would always laugh at her mother's optimism because Easter weather in Michigan was iffy, at best. But, no matter the weather, Rose's mother made her feel safe, happy, hopeful.
"I have no future without you, Mom," Rose told Dora in her final days, when all her mom wanted to do was hold her newborn granddaughter and sleep.
"No," Dora responded one morning, before she fell into a coma from which she wouldn't wake, "you just won't have any backup plan anymore."
That morning, Dora patted the edge of the hospital bed for her daughter to come and sit. "You're such a wonderful mother and daughter. And you take such great care of me. You are neither helpless nor hopeless. You're just scared."
She continued with a sense of purpose: "Take some of my strength moving forward, and some of your daughter's strength. You should be a nurse. It's your calling. Go back to school."
Dora had stopped and kissed the top of Jeri's head. "And never forget," she said, her voice shaking, "that the world is always full of hope and possibility simply because this precious angel is now in it."
The February wind rattled the window frames and Rose from her thoughts. She looked outside. It was ten in the morning, but it might as well have been midnight: The Saugatuck skies were black, and lake-effect snow was coming down in heavy bursts every half hour. Right now, Rose couldn't even make out the silhouette of a tree in her neighbor's yard. The little house moaned in the storm.
Rose shivered. It was a day just like this when she had moved out of this house.
"You're not taking that thing, too, are you?" Ray Rhodes had asked his new wife, as Rose clutched the doll against her pregnant stomach and looked over at her mother. "We got a tiny apartment."
"Yes! She's taking the doll," said Dora. "It was mine as a little girl, Rose's as a little girl, and one day it will belong to your little girl."
"Dolls." Ray had snorted. "Girls."
"Mom," Rose said sweetly. "Please. Don't."
"I'm paying for that place," Dora said, her words as icy as the winter weather roaring outside. "I think there's room for the doll and three girls — don't you? — considering I'll be there all the time."
Ray roared out of the Hoffs' house and into the swirling snow outside.
Why didn't I listen? Rose thought. Why did I believe he would change? Ray and Rose Rhodes. I thought we fit perfectly. Why was I such an idiot?
Rose shivered and realized she was still sitting in her daughter's nursery. She stood and checked the thermostat in the hallway.
Sixty degrees. And the heat was running nonstop.
Rose briefly considered cranking it up a notch but stopped, thinking of all the bills that were due.
Ray wouldn't help, she thought, even if I knew where he was and he had two nickels to rub together.
Rose was happy to have her mom's house — and to have retaken her family name after her divorce. Now, she needed a job to pay the remaining mortgage, the utilities, and the taxes. Her parents' tiny inheritance was already dwindling.
I have a baby, Rose thought. I can't just go back to school. I need an income.
Jeri began to squirm, and Rose walked back into the nursery, grabbing a throw and pulling it over her shoulders, still holding the doll.
Out the window, a sliver of blue sky — an oddity of the lake-effect snow machine — appeared. It can be a virtual whiteout and still sunny.
Mom? Rose thought. Are you trying to tell me something?
She walked over to an old chest of drawers. The paint was peeling and the dresser top was crammed with a mix of Rose's past and present: high school trophies and ribbons scattered amongst bottles and bibs.
Rose's ribbons were all "honorable mention" or team manager ribbons. One trophy from the basketball team read, "Best Sixth Man," while another from FHA read, "Always Gives It Her All."
Rose opened a creaky drawer in the old chest. She rifled through a pile of baby clothes, searching for a book. She gasped when she pulled out her senior yearbook. Rose opened it and began to read what her friends had written: "To the nicest girl ever"; "You were always there for me"; "To the sweetest girl in school."
Rose flipped through the yearbook, stopping at "Senior Superlatives." There was a color picture of Rose outside, smiling while embracing the trunk of a pine tree, the sun beaming through her red hair, making it look as if it were on fire.
"Most Likely to Give a Hug When You Need It — Rose Hoffs," hers read.
Rose gave her shoulders a hopeless shrug.
What did being nice ever get me? Rose thought.
Rose dug her hand back into the drawer and pulled out another book.
Ah, here it is, she thought. The Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle.
Rose opened the book and smiled. Her mother used to read it to her when she was little. Rose turned to the preface. The yellowed page was still bent at the corner, and she hugged her doll even more tightly.
"What lessons of kindness and fortitude you might teach could you but talk ... No wonder Rag Dolls are the best beloved! ... The more you become torn, tattered and loose-jointed, Rag Dolls, the more you are loved by children."
Rose smiled as her daughter began to coo.
I'm a walking Raggedy Ann, she thought, looking at the little doll and then at her little girl.
Rose walked over and pulled her waking baby into her arms, and Jeri clutched at the little doll's arms, before falling asleep again almost instantaneously.
Rose took a seat in her rocker and watched Jeri sleep. A ray of light pierced the darkness and illuminated the pink cheeks of her daughter and of the doll.
Blue skies ahead, Rose thought, thinking of her mom, her Easter dress, Raggedy Ann, and how the simplest of moments are often the most beautiful.
She tenderly kissed the top of her daughter's head. Maybe things look up when you least expect it.CHAPTER 3
Rose stopped at the entrance to River Bend Estates. An enormous metal gate — designed with endless curlicues to make it seem friendly rather than imposing — stopped visitors.
"It looks scary," Jeri said.
Rose looked over at her daughter. She was clutching her doll nervously.
"It's not scary, sweetie," Rose said, entering the code that had been given to her by the owner of There's No Place Like Home, the senior care group she had been working for part-time the last few years. "It's just like a big version of our front door."
"Oh," Jeri said, smiling suddenly, talking to her doll. "It's not scary, Ann. It's like our front door."
As the gates opened, Rose immediately felt as scared and unsure as her daughter.
I need this, Rose thought, checking her appearance in the mirror. Don't blow it.
River Bend Estates was located about five miles inland from Lake Michigan and the little resort towns of Saugatuck-Douglas. The development sat on a bluff overlooking the river and the marsh that fed the lake. It was divided into two parts: The right half was filled with large homes, while the left side was made up of smaller attached and detached homes and townhomes, some sprawling one-stories, and some towering two-stories.
Rose looked at the directional app on her phone and turned right.
There it is! 331 River Bend.
Excerpted from The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman. Copyright © 2017 Viola Shipman. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
prologue: The Scent of Cedar,
part one: The Cloth Doll,
part two: The Beach Glass Pendant,
part three: The Desert Rose Dishes,
part four: The McCoy Vase,
part five: The Apron,
part six: The Scrapbook,
part seven: The Embroidered Pillowcase,
part eight: The Family Picture Frame,
part nine: The Antique Christmas Ornament,
part ten: The Wedding-Cake Cutter,
part eleven: The Snow Globe,
part twelve: The Ticket Stub,
part thirteen: The Family Bible,
epilogue: The Hope Chest,
Also by Viola Shipman,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book, could relate to this, felt all the things she did. I have an old summer cottage on the coast of Maine, that has gone thru many generations, dearly loved, full of memories. Life continues under my stewardship. Happy reading to all.
I bought this novel for my mother and now its my turn to read it. I’d heard a lot about this novel and after reading it, I’m glad that I bought it. I liked how everything tied together in this novel. Although the topic of the novel could be depressing, the tone was spirited and encouraging. I liked the hope chest and how the author used it throughout the novel. I enjoyed the characters and the relationships that they had with each other. This was a sweet story that I enjoyed. There are a few stories being told within this novel but the amount of characters to remember are few. Mattie and her husband Don, are moving out of the cottage that Mattie has lived in the majority of her life. Moving into something smaller, Mattie will miss this cottage, the garden, and the view but this should make life easier for them. Mattie has been living with ALS for the past 5 years and her husband has been her caretaker. In their new house, Don finally realizes and accepts help for Mattie. Desperately needing a job, Rose applies and is accepted as Mattie in-home caretaker. This was a fantastic section of the novel as Rose and Mattie meet. There seemed to be a bond forming immediately as they talked. Mattie soon meets Rose’s young daughter, Jeri and if this book could burst, it would be then. You just knew something special was happening. Lots of different emotions flowed throughout the reading as the characters filled their parts. Mattie’s illness started to take its toil as Mattie thought about her previous life. Once a successful, landscape architect, she was now living her life in a wheelchair. Her body just couldn’t move as her mind wanted it to anymore. This constant struggle clung to her day and night. Don struggled to keep himself together as the love of his life began slipping away from him. Rose was beginning to build a deep connection to these new individuals that were in her life and Jeri was loved by all. Jeri kept up the energy of the household and her innocence was so sweet. This was a warm, compassionate novel that moved rather quickly. I noticed though, that I didn’t feel a deep emotional response to some of the events that occurred in this novel and I’m not sure why I felt that way. I enjoyed the characters, the story line was great, and emotionally I was connected to this novel (just not as deeply as I thought I should be). A great novel that will touch your heart.
With tears streaming down my face, I've read the last page and closed the cover of the book. The story in this book will stay with me for a long time. What an amazing story of strength, love, family, caring, sharing, giving...the list goes on. ALS is a horrible disease, but Mattie deals with it like everything else in her life...with grace and strength. The relationship with her husband, Don, is beautiful and full of unconditional love. I love how the book weaves a story between Mattie and Rose...from past and present. The author does a wonderful job of making you a part of their lives and how deep the connection with the characters grows. You feel every joy and sadness deep in your soul. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to read such an amazing book and am looking forward to reading more books by this author. (I just need to make sure I have a box of tissues handy!)
Don and Mattie are close and have a good marriage. Mattie's been diagnosed with ALS and moving around is becoming difficult for her. That is why Don feels they need to leave their beloved home. He's exhausted and finally hires someone to help him care for his wife. This person needs to fit into their little world, as Mattie might no longer be able to do everything she loves to do, but they still have time to spend together and he wants to make her as happy as he possibly can. When Rose and her daughter Jeri meet Rose's new employer they immediately feel a connection. They've only just met Don and Mattie, but it's like they've known each other for a long time. Mattie might not be able to go out and be active any longer, but she still has many stories to tell. She has a hope chest that's filled with memories she'd love to share with Rose and Jeri. Through the items in the hope chest Mattie, Don, Rose and Jeri become closer. This gives them the courage to deal with everything that lies ahead. The Hope Chest is one of the most moving stories I've ever read. It's a gorgeous story filled with love, hope, memories and traditions. I loved how each item in Mattie's hope chest has a heartwarming history. Viola Shipman's fantastic detailed descriptions are making it come to life incredibly well. The Hope Chest is a story about the past, the present and the future and I loved how everything's connected. The main characters each have special character traits that made me love them straight away. Jeri is endearing. She's wise for her age, she's a little girl with great instincts and she's a real sweetheart. Rose is kind and caring and she has so much love to give. Don feels deeply and he's willing to do anything for the woman he loves. Mattie is a sympathetic woman with a talent for story telling. Viola Shipman has chosen the exact right characters for a beautiful emotional story and The Hope Chest is very special. Viola Shipman has a warm and welcoming writing style. I was immediately spellbound by the hope chest and its limitless possibilities. I like the topic, it's fascinating and it's filled with family history. Viola Shipman combines this with a difficult matter, being gravely ill. ALS is a terrible disease and the emphatic and precise way this is being written about makes the story very impressive. Mattie is being cared for with so much love and dedication and this regularly put tears in my eyes. Her stories mesmerized me and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out what she'd talk about next. Viola Shipman's execution of her stories is flawless. The Hope Chest is a brilliant charming and endearing book.
“The Hope Chest” is a lovely, heartwarming story about Mattie and her hope chest. Mattie has been diagnosed with ALS and is in need of a caretaker. She has always been fiercely independent and struggles with her now childlike physical abilities despite retaining her keen mind. Her husband of nearly 50 years is also struggling with the possibility of losing her. It has been the two of them for so long, as they were unable to have a child together. Knowing that he cannot care for her alone, they hire Rose as her caretaker. Rose is a single mother, struggling to make her own way with her young daughter, Jeri. Beginning at the interview for the job, Jeri becomes a large part of the story, reaching out through normal childhood fallacies/invasion of privacy to Mattie and Don. The story centers around the Hope Chest, which Mattie’s mother had given her when she was little. Hope is just one word away from Home, and Mattie slowly shares the memories of each object in the Hope Chest as Rose and Jeri discover them. Each section of the book centers around an object, and it’s a beautiful exploration of time, family, and the objects that represent our memories. I found it to be an emotional and heartwarming read, feeling the sadness and frustration of Mattie and Don, and enjoying the thread of connections across time as we explore their lives which reflect so many others and connect to younger generations (e.g. the parallels between Mattie’s life as a child and young adult and that of Rose and Jeri). It’s a really fascinating read and I enjoyed it (although it was a bit of a tear-jerker!). Please note that I received an ARC through a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.
The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman is a story of hope and love. Madeline “Mattie” Tice has ALS and can no longer stay in Hope Dunnes—her beloved lake house. Don, her husband, is moving them into a newly built home that can accommodate her wheelchair. The movers are bringing down one more item as Mattie takes one last look around the house. It turns out to be the hope chest given to her by her mother and father one Easter when she was a little girl. Each item in the chest holds a special meaning to Mattie. Don is wore out from caring for his wife full-time and is hiring a caregiver. Rose Hoffs is applying for the position. She desperately needs a full-time job. She has been working part-time for There’s No Place Like Home. Her boss feels that Rose is the perfect fit for the job with the Tice’s. Rose has been raising her daughter, Jeri on her own since her husband left her. Rose is forced to bring Jeri with her to the interview. Mattie notices that Rose has a little girl in the car and insists she bring her in. Rose and Jeri entering Mattie and Don’s life is just what they needed. They were both feeling hopeless and lost (and so was Rose). We get to find out about Mattie’s life through the items in her hope chest. The items hold precious memories. These items help bring Mattie, Don, Rose and Jeri together as a family and provide hope for the future. Mattie may not be with them much longer, but she is leaving behind a legacy of memories and a future for three important people in her life. Join them in Saugatuck, Michigan for a story of love, faith, courage, hopefulness along with a touch of sadness in The Hope Chest. The Hope Chest is a heartwarming novel. It is nicely written and easy to read. I was drawn into the story and my attention was held throughout the book. There were a couple of slow sections, but they were few. I like how as each item is revealed in the hope chest, we are taken into the past. We slowly see how Mattie’s life unfolded and how each item impacts the present. I especially liked the Raggedy Ann doll that was in the chest. It is an emotional novel that will make you smile, laugh, and cry. I give The Hope Chest 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). The book shows you how important it is to enjoy and savor each moment of your life. We are also provided with a new type of family dynamic. I like the relationship drawn between hope and home in the story. There is a little repetition of information, but the book has a pleasing ending. The Christian element is just right and the author did a superb job at portraying a person with ALS. ALS is a debilitating disease that affects the body horribly, but leaves the person with their mind intact. The Hope Chest is my favorite book by Viola Shipman.
I absolutely love Viola Shipman's books. After reading "The Charm Bracelet", I was hooked on this author. I was going on Net Galley like every other day plugging in "The Hope Chest" seeing if it was available after I found out that it was coming out. Every day, I was disappointed. Then one day, I got an e-mail telling me that since I had read the first book, would I like to read the second book. Hallelujah! Heck yeah! I hit that button so fast, my head was spinning. And just like the first, this one did not disappoint. Like the first book, the charms on the bracelet brought out a story from the mother's past that she told her daughter. This one the items in Mattie's hope chest told a story that she relayed to her caregiver and her daughter. *TISSUES NEEDED* Mattie, once a world renown landscaper who had done so many world famous gardens for aristocrats, public gardens, presidents, movie stars, etc., has ALS. She has suffered from it for over 4 years. Don, her husband, can't really handle doing everything for anymore and has hired a caregiver, Rose. Rose has a young daughter, Jeri, who is seven years old and she is very mature and like an old soul for her age. The story of how these come to meet, how the stories from the hope chest help them bond and how they become a family are so endearing. I just loved, loved, loved this book. And now, I wait to see what truly enchanting book the author has coming up next. I can't wait! Thanks to St. Martin's Press for approving my request for this long awaited book and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
This was a beautiful book of hope and love. Mattie has ALS. Her husband Don has been taking care of her but he needs help. Rose and her daughter Jeri, start helping Don take care of Mattie. When Mattie was a little girl, her Mom started a hope chest for her. Each chapter of the book is about an item in the hope chest. The items in the hope chest are a story in themselves for Mattie, Don, Rose, and Jeri. It is a beautiful story of hope, love, and family. Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books for ARC of this book for an honest review.
This is a fantastic emotionally charged story that both broke my heart and gave me hope. Mattie and Don are an older couple dealing with Mattie's battle against ALS. She's reached a point where her care is too much for Don to handle alone so they hire a young woman raising a daughter on her own. Rose and Jeri bring much needed life back into the home and the four of them form a comfortable little family unit. They really bond as they go through the items Mattie has stored in the Hope Chest. Each item has memories attached and reminds Mattie and Don of the wonderful life they've shared and shows Rose and Jeri how extraordinary love and family can be. This is a wonderfully done story and one I highly recommend.
A beautifully written tale of love, loss and discovering happiness in the little things in life. “There is always hope where there is love.” Mattie and Don Tice have been married for 50 years and Don still loves Mattie more than anything. But as Mattie’s ALS progresses, he is forced to seek help taking care of her. When Don hires Rose, a struggling single mother, as Mattie’s caretaker, he had no idea how involved Rose and her daughter would become in their lives. They became the family they never had. The story is told in phases after Don and Mattie list their beloved lake house for sale and move someplace easier for Mattie to navigate in her wheelchair. During the move, Mattie’s hope chest is rediscovered. Throughout the book, Mattie finds comfort in the heirlooms in her hope chest as she asks for them or they are discovered. The story flashes back in time to when each item was placed in the box and tells of the importance of each item in Mattie’s life. When I first started reading this book, I really didn’t know much about ALS. Now I have a good idea what the patients and their loved ones go through. I got totally lost in this book. It is a very emotional story full of love, hope and the value of family. I thought this bible verse was a perfect addition to the story. “‘So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.’” Corinthians 4:16–18
Review Last updated on 19 Feb 2017 I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, and Thomas Dunne Books for the ARC of "The Hope Chest" by Viola Shipman for an honest review. The genre listed for this novel is women's fiction, but I fell there is a "feel" of historical fiction as well. Mattie and Don are an older couple who will be married fifty years on New Years Eve/Day. The author describes them as a loving co-dependent couple, who are hardworking and creative in artistic and gardening pursuits. Unfortunately Mattie has been fighting ALS for the past five years and as strong and independent as she would like to be, Don realizes that they need some help. They hire Rose, a single mother with a delightful daughter, who is struggling to financially hold on to her family home and support herself and daughter. Mattie and Don are leaving their beloved house by the water, and as the movers are packing up, they discover Mattie's beautiful Hope Chest that her father gave to her when she was a girl. As Mattie, Don, Rose and Rose's daughter go through each item, there is a story. The Hope Chest and the items are symbolic of life, past, present and future. I find that the author's descriptions of elegant objects, and the historical and personal stories are told in an intriguing and nostalgic manner. The author writes about life, death, friends, family, love and hope, as well as final endings and new beginnings. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes women's literature.