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  • Writer's pictureCaroline

Stories that Bind Us | Book Review

In 2019, I reviewed All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner...

And fell. in. love.

My litmus test for a book: Do I find myself thinking about the characters while I'm going about my day, after I close the book?

Susie's characters wind themselves into your heartstrings before you even know they are there. So when I saw her newest book, Stories that Bind Us, I knew I had to read it.

Confession, I was teary by the end of the second chapter. I used to say that I don't cry for books, but I'm thinking I'm going to have to change that.

About the Book

Rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at forty. With so much life still in fron tof her, she tries to figure out what's next, never imagining what God had in mind.

When her estranged sister returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960s small-town 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.

My Thoughts

This novel touches on so many important and raw topics - loss, depression and mental disorders, race, and complicated relationships. And answers the problem of brokenness in this world with the only perfect, beautiful answer. Our God is love, and He heals in ways we would never expect. Even in the face of our worst fears, there is new life and hope and unexpected gifts.

Now that is tear-worthy.

Betty Sweet is such a relatable character -- at first I wasn't sure how I would relate to a 40 year old character, but oh wow. I wish I could be friends with her in real life! Her relationship with her husband Norm and then with little Hugo made this book one of the most heartwarming I've read in a long time. I have a very very soft spot for little boys who just need love and Hugo nailed me right there.

I was so thankful that Clara's struggle with mental disorders was represented so well, and the issues of race in the 1960s during the Kennedy era and Martin Luther King.

Go get this book and meet the Sweet clan. You won't regret it. You just might want to have a couple tissues nearby for the good kind of tears.

P.S. Thanks for being here and reading my reviews! You mean the world to me! Be sure to let me know if you read this book and what you think!

5 stars, hands down!


I received this book from the publisher and happily provided my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.*

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