by Susie Finkbeiner
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.
Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.
This is one of those books that touches way down deep, to the innermost parts of your being.
I started it, and then had to go do work, but kept on finding myself sitting down again, and reading snatches in every spare minute I could find. This is one of those stories that will leave a long lasting impact!
I do believe this is one of my new favorites for this year! This story had me in tears several times. I also found myself smiling, and then almost laughing, through those tears. Ms. Finkbeiner somehow manages to bring to life many deep feelings in the lives of these characters.
I especially loved Betty, the heroine. She’s so Sweet (pun intended). She wanted to give up on life, but then she’s given a new reason to go on living – the return of her sister Clara and a little nephew, Hugo, she hadn’t even known existed.
Because Clara is not well, Betty finds herself caring for Hugo and loving him so much, so intensely, and becoming deeply involved with issues surrounding him.
And then there’s the part about stories…Betty reminisces, remembers stories her mother told her, and retells these stories to Hugo. Such sweet stories, making them relevant to whatever current issues they are facing. I just loved reading each one of these!
This book deals with many hard issues that we face. First, we see Betty grieving deeply. And then, learning to sympathize and care for her sister. There are also flashbacks, showing us bits and pieces of Betty’s childhood. A difficult time in which she loses her mother.
Another hard issue that is faced in this book is the racist issue. At first, Betty doesn’t seem to think it affects her. But the more she learns to love her sweet little nephew, Hugo, the more she realizes that racism is relevant, even in her small hometown in Michigan.
I love the fact that Ms. Finkbeiner faces these difficult issues in such a lovely manner. Realistically, but head on. And always with hope.
This book really brought to life those good ole’ days back in the sixties. If you are looking for a heart-warming, yet soul-stirring read, look no further.
Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255