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Stories That Bind Us ~ Review

Stories That Bind Us
By Susie Finkbeiner

Betty Sweet's life is just about as close to perfect as it could be. She's married to her first and only love, Norman. But all of that changes when she is left a widow at 40 years of age. Lost in her grief she cuts herself from her life until her sister-in-law won't take no for an answer and helps her see that the rest of the family is hurting too. Just because Norman died doesn't mean Betty is no longer part of the Sweet family.

When Betty's long-estranged sister Clara returns, parts of Betty's past return to her. Memories of her mother and the darkness she often found herself in. Memories of her childhood with Clara. But Clara isn't alone, she has a son Hugo whom no one knew about. Hugo stands out in LaFontaine, Michigan as biracial persons don't call the small-town home.

Betty almost instantly falls in love with the 5-year-old nephew she has just met. But she is concerned as Hugo shows signs of having a mother just like Betty's. Clara is slipping into a darkness and despair that she seems unable to pull herself out of. With love and care, Betty shows Hugo that love can be given freely and that accidents happen without outbursts of anger. As Hugo begins acting like a little boy instead of a careworn old man Betty finds herself dreading whenever Clara decides it is time to again leave home behind.

The Stories That Bind Us is a beautiful and moving read about the power of family and the stories of our past that bind us together. This book is set in the tumultuous days of the 1960s - calls of equality, threats of war, and political upheaval with the assassination of President Kennedy. What seems so far removed LaFontaine finds itself becoming news that enters Betty's world when she is mourning her own private loss. Betty is about to become a fighter - fighting for her sister and the nephew she has come to love - inspired by a story she shared with Hugo of Clara's determination years before. Family and love are worth taking a risk for.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Rediscover the power of story
to open the doors of our hearts.

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 returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960's 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.

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~ Blooming with Books