Tuesday, February 5, 2019

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

About the Book:

The past is never as past as we'd like to thinkWhen journalist Elizabeth Balsam is asked to deliver a box of old photos to a relative she didn't know she had, the strange request seems like it isn't worth her time. But as she explores her great-aunt's farmhouse with its locked doors and hidden graves, she soon discovers just how dramatically some of the most newsworthy events of the previous two centuries shaped her own family. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding.

Take an emotional journey through time--from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to Michigan's Underground Railroad during the Civil War--to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

My Thoughts:
"I'd always had mixed feelings about maples.  While others pointed them out as happy harbingers of the cozy season to come, they had always seemed to me to be reckless- the first small flames of fall, each dropping leaf a burning ember that spread the fire until every tree was bare and dead and the November snows came like ash."  (p. 163-164)

This book!!  What a phenomenal way for me to re-enter the blogosphere!  This is a first novel, folks, and every bit of it is rich with beautiful language, multi-layered characters that linger in your heart, and a social taboo that covers generations!  WOW!!  I am blown away!

Bouncing back and forth between three different eras with varying scenarios in each generation of relationships - specifically relationships with romantic intent - between white women and black men. I'm hesitant to know if I can even use colors. Perhaps Caucasian and African American is more accurate.  Either way, this is a complex scenario, that, sadly, remains unimproved after all this time.

Bartels candidly addresses each scenario with historic accuracy - painfully so - and the way she ties all of it together will BLOW YOUR MIND!  This is brilliant!  Considering the climate around race relations these days, this book opens the door to some very rich conversations that need to be held among people of all racial groups.  Clearly, loving one another as Christ loved us is still a concept that escapes many.

I cannot wait to read everything this author produces!  She is a very talented writer indeed!  BRAVO!

About the Author:

Erin Bartels has been a publishing professional for more than 15 years. Her short story "This Elegant Ruin" was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. A freelance writer and editor, she is a member of Capital City Writers and the Women's Fiction Writers Association and is former features editor of WFWA's Write On! magazine. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son, Calvin, and can be found online at www.erinbartels.com. We Hope for Better Things is her first novel.

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