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Her Mother's Hope (Marta's Legacy) Paperback – April 1, 2011
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I listened to most of this on a car trip and I think that made it seem longer than it would had I been reading the whole thing. If you like family dramas, then don't miss it. If you are looking for immediate mystery or romance or resolution or conflict, then perhaps give it a pass. All of that is in there, to a degree, but it's slow-burning and secondary to the story as a whole.
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.
Her Mother's Hope opens with Marta, a young woman with an abusive father and a weak mother, leaving her home to work in a hotel, then traveling to England and later to Canada. Marta meets and marries her husband Niclas and they move to California and raise their 4 children between the two world wars. While Niclas lives to work the land, Marta must raise their children. Because she has learned only the strong survive, she parents with tough love. Her daughter Hildemara is very different from Marta and constantly seeks but doesn't feel she's getting Marta's approval. Thus there is a great conflict and constant misunderstanding between these two.
Rivers' book captures the reader and leaves the reader wanting more, but she delivers in the sequel, Her Daughter's Dream. Both of these books in Marta's Legacy series are amazing books that are sure to please!