Her Mother's Hope

Her Mother's Hope
Francine Rivers

     Near the turn of the twentieth century, fiery Marta Schneider leaves Switzerland for a better life, determined to fulfill her mother’s hope. Her formative journey takes her through Europe and eventually to Canada, where she meets handsome Niclas Waltert. But nothing has prepared her for the sacrifices she must make for marriage and motherhood as she travels to the Canadian wilderness and then to the dusty Central Valley of California to raise her family.
    Marta’s hope is to give her children a better life, but experience has taught her that only the strong survive. Her tough love is often misunderstood, especially by her oldest daughter, Hildemara Rose, who craves her mother’s acceptance. Amid the drama of World War II, Hildie falls in love and begins a family of her own. But unexpected and tragic events force mother and daughter to face their own shortcomings and the ever-widening chasm that threatens to separate them forever. 

     In some ways, Her Mother's Hope was a very hard book to read; it often reminded me of Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austen. Marta had such a terrible childhood (mainly her father's dislike and cruelty to her, as well as her sister Elise's suicide) that it profoundly affected the choices she made later in life and had the potential to destroy all the relationships dearest to her. Marta made me terribly angry several times the way she treated her daughter Hildegard. At the same time, it was easy to see why she did what she did, even if I can't say I ever really liked her. There were several times I wanted to literally shake her! Because Marta could see many of Elise's personality traits in Hildegard, she determined that her daughter would never end up like her sister. Since Marta blamed her own mother for "coddling" Elise, she did the exact opposite with Hildegard, instead often singling her out from her other siblings to "toughen" up. Hildegard was easier to like, although I got annoyed at her a few times, too. I found the ending realistic, but hopeful.  Her Mother's Hope was an amazing, rather epic look at family relationships and how even experiences from our earliest childhood can color our decisions made as adults.

Rating: 7


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