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We Hope For Better Things (Book Review)

By Benjamin H. Liles

          Erin Bartels has written a lovely book that spans the space of what would appear to be about one hundred fifty years in the life of a family intertwined with the underground railroad during the Civil War era in the States. We Hope For Better Things, in my honest review here, reminds me a bit of Lee Harper's To Kill a Mockingbird, but without making anyone feel uncomfortable in reading this book. Bartels takes a look at how things like faith, hope, and love, can transcend times and places to bring people together.

          I truly loved and enjoyed the book, even though it seems every chapter has you hopping from one era to another. It starts off in the modern day, and in the next chapter takes you to the 1960s, and at some point you find yourself reading a chapter in the 1860s while this young woman, a reporter--Elizabeth Balsam--tries to figure out her family connection to a Nora Balsam, and the history of her family beyond that.

          Beyond that I cannot get myself to say any more about what goes on in the pages other than I truly believe this is as great a read as other books I reviewed in the past. For me, and this is my opinion here, it's as good as A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz. There are definite differences between the books and that's a great thing. the takeaway is we all have our own ways of explaining and showing faith, hope and love in a myriad of different ways.

          Aside from her freelance and copywriting job by day, and a novelist by night, Erin Bartels is also a painter, a seamstress, poet and photographer. We Hope for Better Things is her debut novel, and in that same vein of my opinion is a wonderful book, truthfully. Some may not like it as much as I? do, but I truly did. Bartels lives in Michigan and never more than a two hour drive from the Great Lakes or even a short drive to an inland lake, river or stream. She also blogs semi-annually regularly at

          I received a complimentary copy of this book to give an honest and fair review of it.

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