The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman Book Review Amazon
Books,  Fiction

The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman Book Review

The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman Book Review Amazon

The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman Book Review

The lowdown from Goodreads

Published March 21, 2017

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.

The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman Book Review

Though it is not my usual fare, I think I read it at just the right time in my life (I mean the right week in my life).  I didn’t even read the synopsis before diving in, and when I started it I immediately thought, “great, a depressing book about a woman with ALS.”  When I started this book I knew just enough about the disease to know that it is a prison.  The mind works as the body fails you, and o have seen several devastating stories about it.  But this book, as the title suggests, is more than just a sad story.

Mattie and Don have been married for almost 50 years, and Mattie has ALS.  Rose is a young, divorced single parent of daughter Jeri.  Rose is hired to be a caregiver for Mattie, but she becomes much more.  The four of them redefine the meaning of family.  The book is well written and Viola Shipman does well making the characters three dimensional, and you really care about what happens to these people.  I may have even shed a few tears while reading…

I like the way the book was divided; each section was titled for an object in Mattie’s hope chest, and the chapters in that section were devoted to the memories associated with the objects.  It was a beautiful and unique way to tell the story.


I was Into This book. You will be Really Into This book if you like love stories, romances and Hallmark movies.  This is not normally something I would pick up, and honestly not something I would normally enjoy, but I did.  This was a little on the cheesy side, but it was just what I needed. Everyone needs a little bit of sappiness in their lives sometimes. If you’re looking for another tearjerker, try A Bridge Across The Ocean.

Special thanks to Viola Shipman, St. Martin’s Press & NetGalley for providing my copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.

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About the Author: Viola Shipman

The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman Book Review Amazon

VIOLA SHIPMAN is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name to pay tribute to the woman whose heirlooms, life, lessons and love inspire his fiction. To date, The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest have been translated into over a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. The Recipe Box will publish in 2018. Rouse writes regularly for PeopleGood Housekeeping and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered. He divides his time between the resort towns of Saugatuck-Douglas, Michigan, and Palm Springs, California.


I am a Texan living in California with my husband Mark, my best pup Ziggy, and our two cats Marilyn and Goldie. I love reading, cooking, binge-watching great tv shows and staying up too late talking to my friends.

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