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Her Mother's Hope (Marta's Legacy) Hardcover – March 16, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Romance Hall of Famer Rivers (Redeeming Love) returns with her first full-length novel since 2003 with this two-generation saga of a mother and daughter, the first of two parts. Ambitious, strong-willed Marta Schneider leaves her home in rural Switzerland at the beginning of the 20th century. She's determined to flee her abusive father, loving but weak mother, and the constraints placed on women. Meeting interesting characters all along her journey, she works her way to Canada. There she buys a boardinghouse and meets her match in Niclas Waltert, a German engineer with a farmer's heart. Through Marta's sharp elbows and the sweat of Niclas's brow, the family eventually arrives at an increasingly comfortable life in California's Central Valley. The second half of the story, told from the point of view of constitutionally timid daughter Hildemara Rose, is less deeply imagined. So many events happen as history rapidly unrolls in the background that the narrative feels too much like an outline for a Lifetime TV offering about a couple buffeted by the winds of WWII. Writers like Rivers are why people buy Christian fiction: it's dramatic, engaging, and acknowledges the bedroom without going inside. This well-told tale will have readers eagerly awaiting the story's resolution. (Mar.)
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*Starred Review* Swiss-born Marta Schneider was her Papa’s least favored child, and his abuse pushes her to leave home and achieve great things, first in nearby Interlaken, later in England, then Canada, and finally in California, where she and her German husband, Niclas, settle down to raise their four children in the lull between the two world wars. Niclas is a godly and trusting man with a university degree who nonetheless has a powerful desire to work the soil. So it falls to shrewd and ambitious Marta to protect them all from greedy and unscrupulous folk who would take advantage. Romance Writers of America Hall of Famer Rivers’ eagerly anticipated, first full-length Christian novel since 2003 is an emotionally rich exploration based loosely on her own family history as it follows world events through the first half of the twentieth century. The first in a two-part saga about four women, Rivers’ novel will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction and sweeping family sagas with exotic settings. As her compelling characters seek to do what they feel their faith demands, Rivers sets their resonant struggles against dusty streets, windswept Canadian plains, and California vineyards in vivid scenes readers will not soon forget. --Lynne Welch
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I love Francine Rivers, but the Martha's Legacy series is so below par, I found myself wondering if someone else was writing using her name.
I loved Redeeming Love! I feasted on the Mark of the Lion series. But as I began this book, I found the writing so superficial, I made it several chapters before I was fully convinced that they weren't intended as a mere background introduction to the real story. Actually, this whole book was a mere background for a story, that gets better (but never fully good) in the second book.
So, if you don't plan to read the second book, I wouldn't even bother with this one. And, if you can't enjoy a story told in an overly cursory, rushed way, I wouldn't bother with either.
These books would have been so much better if Ms. Rivers would have invested the length the stories deserved. Instead, they jump through huge events in the protagonists' lives and the reader doesn't get to be a part of their transformation and adventures. It's told like someone would speak such a story to you as gossip - with only just enough detail to keep going and get to the next point in the big picture story.
Putting that criticism aside, I did actually appreciate the story quite a bit (indeed it makes it all the more a shame to not have it told well). The big story is of generational wounds, told by telling the smaller stories of the lives of four generations of women. The women are interesting, realistic characters, the conflict in their family has at its essence the truth many of us have experienced in our own lives. So, it was thought-provoking towards the end of book two. But at the end of this book (book 1), I was entirely unsatisfied, felt that no story had really been told, and briefly wondered if Amazon had sold me an abridged version by mistake.
I could NOT put this book down!! It compelled me each day to keep finding out what the next step would be for each person involved. I stayed up one too many nights reading way beyond when I should have slept! One of the best-but once again Francine Rivers has taken a way of life and put flesh to it so that others might understand!
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