Friday, June 26, 2020

"Stories That Bind Us" by Susie Finkbeiner -- Book Review

About the Book

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.

My Thoughts

"Stories That Bind Us" is not my usual genre of book, but I kept hearing great things about Susie Finkbeiner's books and wanted to read one of her books, so when this book came available, I was happy to be able to read it. The book is well written and had a nice flow. It felt like Betty was a friend and you could go down the street to visit her. The book dealt with some difficult situations (mental illness, race relations in the 60's, death of a spouse) and handled them with sensitivity. I loved the stories that Betty told to Hugo and the life lessons they taught. Having been to Belle Isle in Detroit, it was fun to read about Betty's trip there. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I am glad I picked it up.

About the Author  

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it's a congenital condition, one she's quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother's Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner's bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie's socks off). Pearl's story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She's a junkie. She couldn't quit if she wanted to.

"Stories That Bind Us" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; 5/1 edition (June 2, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800735706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800735708
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 8856 KB
  • Print Length: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (June 2, 2020)
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2020
  • Sold by: Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0821QX4Q3

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily.

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