Monday, August 7, 2017
All That Makes Life Bright
Despite her sister's concerns, Harriet Beecher doesn't question that her married life with Calvin Stowe will be full of happiness, family, independence and literary opportunities. Just two months into their marriage, though, Harriet finds herself overwhelmed with household responsibilities she detests, pregnant, and having to bid her new husband farewell as he embarks on a long European trip. Between Calvin's high domestic expectations of Harriet and his tendency to compare her to his first, beloved wife, Harriet begins to wonder is she is capable of being the wife Calvin needs, as well as the woman she needs herself to be. After months apart, the addition of children to their family, and constant financial struggles, will Harriet and Calvin remember how to cherish one another despite their extreme temperamental differences?
Josi S. Kilpack tells yet another gut-wrenchingly beautiful story based on the life of acclaimed author Harriet Beecher Stowe in All That Makes Life Bright. Words cannot express how much I adored this book. Kilpack does a flawless job alternately portraying both Calvin and Harriet in realistic and sympathetic ways. Neither one is always in the right, and thus the novel perfectly exemplifies the daily struggles of the early years of marriage. Are Calvin's expectations reasonable, or overbearing? Both. Is Harriet a wife and mother, or an author? Both. Every stay-at-home mother will shed a tear reading of Harriet's struggles to find an identity outside that of a cook/housekeeper/nanny... as well as the accompanying guilt associated with those feelings. It's as if Kilpack had read my own diary. Perfection. Absolute perfection.
I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.