Make friends in Hope Springs
Pull up a chair and discover the strength and sustenance of friendship with Jessie, Margaret, Louise, Beatrice, and Charlotte, as the unique bond forged between these five remarkable women is put to the test when one of their own is stricken with a deadly illness. Filled with the mystery and wonder that make life worthwhile, Hope Springs will lift your spirits and warm your heart.
Like Rebecca Wells in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Hinton has a knack in her novels for tapping into a woman's longings for lifelong, authentic, messy friendships. In this engaging follow-up to The Friendship Cake, Hinton picks up the threads of the lives of the five quirky women who make up the North Carolina Hope Springs Community Church cookbook committee and spins out more of their stories. She hangs her narrative on gardening as a metaphor for life, occasionally succumbing to clich s ("They were rough and spindly souls with very shallow roots"), but usually handling the theme with subtlety. There's plenty of room for metaphor. Pastor Charlotte finds she has lost her faith as she attempts to help Brittany's mother, Nadine, recover from her second suicide attempt. Louise ponders grief and love; Bea enjoys her newlywed status; Margaret wrangles with breast cancer; and Jessie battles fear that James will abandon her again and agonizes over a possible move. Hinton admirably mixes poignant moments (the friends shaving their heads in solidarity with Margaret) with amusing incidents (Louise notes, "This tea tastes like shit, Beatrice" and discovers it's Easy Movement, a laxative drink). While she avoids tendering pat answers to difficult questions of faith, Hinton folds themes of hope and redemption into her story. Conservative CBA readers may shrink from such expletives as "Jesus!" or "horseshit!"; Louise's lesbian status; feminine gender references to God; or the occasional sexual description but many readers of faith should find this novel both entertaining and tender.