Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what's next. She couldn't have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.
In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.
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Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it's a congenital condition, one she's quite fond of.
After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).
It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.
Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother's Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.
When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.
A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner's bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie's socks off). Pearl's story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).
What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She's a junkie. She couldn't quit if she wanted to.
A read of the times, topics such as mental heath, racism, and death. Family that is not perfect. I found it a refreshing read. I loved Aunt Betty so much her kind heart. She was Hugo's hero as much as he was her hero.
I was worried that the story was not going to turn out well with Aunt Betty's sister. But I will tell you it's all good.
I recommend this 4 star book . Grab your copy and kick back to relax it's a good read. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.