The discovery of one woman’s heirloom hope chest unveils precious memories and helps three people who have each lost a part of themselves find joy once again.
Ever since she was diagnosed with ALS, fiercely independent Mattie doesn’t feel like herself. She can’t navigate her beloved home, she can’t go for a boat ride, and she can barely even feed herself. Her devoted husband, Don, doesn’t want to imagine life without his wife of nearly fifty years, but Mattie isn’t likely to make it past their anniversary.
But when Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and her young daughter, Jeri, enter the couple’s life, happiness and the possibility for new memories return. Together they form a family, and Mattie is finally able to pass on her memories from the hope chest she received from her mother.
With each item—including a favorite doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges.
A beautiful story about the unconditional love and support of family, The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman will remind you that hope can be found where and when you least expect it.
Publish Date: March 21, 2017
Mattie grew up with loving parents at a cozy beach house. As she grew older, the beach house became hers and her husband’s Don’s home. Filled with memories, Mattie is saddened in her old age to leave it behind. But she is struggling with ALS, and can no longer care for herself. Her husband is a loving and tireless caretaker, but he can’t do it alone, so they hire a woman, Rose, who has a young daughter, Jeri, to help care for Mattie. As time goes on, the older woman grows to care for Rose and her daughter. One day the young girl opens the old hope chest and suddenly the memories of Mattie’s childhood come alive. Mattie has a charming story to tell for each item in the chest, and the reader is shown her world, one item at a time.
A lovely story woven between the past and present, The Hope Chest is sure to pull at your heartstrings. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a story of family, love, and hope.
(I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
VIOLA SHIPMAN is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired him to write his debut novel, which is a tribute to all of our elders. Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered. To date, The Charm Bracelet has been translated into nine languages. He is at work on his next “heirloom novel.”