Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Hope Chest: A Novel by Viola Shipman - Review

The discovery of one woman’s heirloom hope chest unveils precious memories and helps three people who have each lost a part of themselves find joy once again.

Ever since she was diagnosed with ALS, fiercely independent Mattie doesn’t feel like herself. She can’t navigate her beloved home, she can’t go for a boat ride, and she can barely even feed herself. Her devoted husband, Don, doesn’t want to imagine life without his wife of nearly fifty years, but Mattie isn’t likely to make it past their anniversary.

But when Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and her young daughter, Jeri, enter the couple’s life, happiness and the possibility for new memories return. Together they form a family, and Mattie is finally able to pass on her memories from the hope chest she received from her mother.

With each item—including a favorite doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges.

A beautiful story about the unconditional love and support of family, The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman will remind you that hope can be found where and when you least expect it.

My Review:

A beautifully written tale of love, loss and discovering happiness in the little things in life.

“There is always hope where there is love.”

Mattie and Don Tice have been married for 50 years and Don still loves Mattie more than anything.  But as Mattie’s ALS progresses, he is forced to seek help taking care of her.  When Don hires Rose, a struggling single mother, as Mattie’s caretaker, he had no idea how involved Rose and her daughter would become in their lives.  They became the family they never had. 

The story is told in phases after Don and Mattie list their beloved lake house for sale and move someplace easier for Mattie to navigate in her wheelchair.  During the move, Mattie’s hope chest is rediscovered.  Throughout the book, Mattie finds comfort in the heirlooms in her hope chest as she asks for them or they are discovered.  The story flashes back in time to when each item was placed in the box and tells of the importance of each item in Mattie’s life. 

When I first started reading this book, I really didn’t know much about ALS.  Now I have a good idea what the patients and their loved ones go through.  I got totally lost in this book.  It is a very emotional story full of love, hope and the value of family. 

I thought this bible verse was a perfect addition to the story.
“‘So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.’”   Corinthians 4:16–18

I received a digital copy through NetGalley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press


  1. Oh, I think I'll pick this up for when we fly back to the US this summer, I will need a good book to get sucked into to pass the time. Thank you! ~Melissa