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 discovered—including a beloved doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the 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.
Once more Viola Shipman has stunned me with her characters. The plot is like a vine. It keeps growing until it has me wrapped itself around me…taking me deep into it’s story. The heart of it, is sad yet beautifully told. Life, love, family and most of all hope. A family passes on the words of hope to their daughter. Later on in her life, she passes it onto her helper and her husband passes it on the the helper’s daughter. The Hope Chest is more than just a title or suggestion. It has meaning. A purpose that draws more life into the lives of others. Viola has sucked me into her main character, Mattie’s life. She’s suffering from ALS. Her hope has vanished. Until the Hope Chest is found and once more the forefront of the tale. Mattie’s suffering brings tears to reader’s eyes. Her husband has to watch as his once strong wife grows weaker each day. So much hope and joy has vanished that it’s intense when Mattie looks at her old home. Remembering her life as it was. But then enter’s a new woman. Rose. She is a helper for those needing extra care. Mattie and her husband need Rose’s help. Don, Mattie’s husband is trying not to cry and trying to breathe. It’s hard for a man to keep strong around his wife. Her life isn’t the same anymore. With Rose, life becomes more joyful. Don once more has hope…even as Mattie is deteriorating. The ending made my heart break and mend with love and hope. Overall, I loved reading this book. Viola Shipman creates a world where readers lose the,selves completely. Getting caught up within the emotions brought on by the scenes on every page. Stunning, well-developed, and the most engaging novel, I have read. Truly, a masterpiece all should read. I highly recommend it to all.