The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)
As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the
publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my
opinions in any way.
Before The Hope Chest, I'd never heard of Viola Shipman and frankly I'm surprised by this. I thought the entirety of this novel was drawn wonderfully and while it wasn't/isn't my favourite novel of the year, it was still quite the captivating read and an experience I won't soon forget. I was curious by the entire premise of both it and The Charm Bracelet and binge-read them during some much needed downtime.
I think the first thing that readers should know is that the writing is elegant. Pure and simple, it is stunning and offers so much to the story. Beyond that, it's thought provoking and sparkles from start to finish. I know, I say it a lot in my reviews but this novel has heart and just takes you in from the start. Something in the way that Shipman crafted the story is special--whether it be the first time you read it, the last, or the fifth. Shipman pulls on our heartstrings and makes us really, really think and feel freely. I caught myself tearing up a few times over the most mundane of things. Then, came the heavy stuff.
I found that the overall sense of family and care was the most present theme in The Hope Chest. The way the characters blended together in ways outside of our typical family/friend structure. I love novels that incorporate that and tie things up nicely. Connections between characters is an essential to making a story flow and Shipman did so gracefully.
As for the characters I really felt fascinated by them and hoped for something a bit better to come their way. The Hope Chest was heartfelt and alluring--a nice little gem to pick up during the awkward space between seasons.