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Publisher Description

"Saugatuck, MI, springs to life in this nostalgic, gentle story of lifelong love along with the emotional support and care that families and friends can provide. " —Library Journal

The discovery of one woman’s heirloom hope chest unveils precious memories and helps three people who have each lost a part of themselves find joy once again.

Ever since she was diagnosed with ALS, fiercely independent Mattie doesn’t feel like herself. She can’t navigate her beloved home, she can’t go for a boat ride, and she can barely even feed herself. Her devoted husband, Don, doesn’t want to imagine life without his wife of nearly fifty years, but Mattie isn’t likely to make it past their anniversary.

But when Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and her young daughter, Jeri, enter the couple’s life, happiness and the possibility for new memories return. Together they form a family, and Mattie is finally able to pass on her memories from the hope chest she received from her mother.

With each item—including a favorite doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges.

A beautiful story about the unconditional love and support of family, The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman will remind you that hope can be found where and when you least expect it.

Fiction & Literature
March 21
St. Martin's Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

Kris Anderson, The Avid Reader ,

Lovely, heartwarming novel!

The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman is a story of hope and love. Madeline “Mattie” Tice has ALS and can no longer stay in Hope Dunnes—her beloved lake house. Don, her husband, is moving them into a newly built home that can accommodate her wheelchair. The movers are bringing down one more item as Mattie takes one last look around the house. It turns out to be the hope chest given to her by her mother and father one Easter when she was a little girl. Each item in the chest holds a special meaning to Mattie. Don is wore out from caring for his wife full-time and is hiring a caregiver. Rose Hoffs is applying for the position. She desperately needs a full-time job. She has been working part-time for There’s No Place Like Home. Her boss feels that Rose is the perfect fit for the job with the Tice’s. Rose has been raising her daughter, Jeri on her own since her husband left her. Rose is forced to bring Jeri with her to the interview. Mattie notices that Rose has a little girl in the car and insists she bring her in. Rose and Jeri entering Mattie and Don’s life is just what they needed. They were both feeling hopeless and lost (and so was Rose). We get to find out about Mattie’s life through the items in her hope chest. The items hold precious memories. These items help bring Mattie, Don, Rose and Jeri together as a family and provide hope for the future. Mattie may not be with them much longer, but she is leaving behind a legacy of memories and a future for three important people in her life. Join them in Saugatuck, Michigan for a story of love, faith, courage, hopefulness along with a touch of sadness in The Hope Chest.

The Hope Chest is a heartwarming novel. It is nicely written and easy to read. I was drawn into the story and my attention was held throughout the book. There were a couple of slow sections, but they were few. I like how as each item is revealed in the hope chest, we are taken into the past. We slowly see how Mattie’s life unfolded and how each item impacts the present. I especially liked the Raggedy Ann doll that was in the chest. It is an emotional novel that will make you smile, laugh, and cry. I give The Hope Chest 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). The book shows you how important it is to enjoy and savor each moment of your life. We are also provided with a new type of family dynamic. I like the relationship drawn between hope and home in the story. There is a little repetition of information, but the book has a pleasing ending. The Christian element is just right and the author did a superb job at portraying a person with ALS. ALS is a debilitating disease that affects the body horribly, but leaves the person with their mind intact. The Hope Chest is my favorite book by Viola Shipman.

Bluehairedlady ,

The Hope Chest


bh313@hotmail ,


This is a fantastic emotionally charged story that both broke my heart and gave me hope. Mattie and Don are an older couple dealing with Mattie's battle against ALS. She's reached a point where her care is too much for Don to handle alone so they hire a young woman raising a daughter on her own. Rose and Jeri bring much needed life back into the home and the four of them form a comfortable little family unit. They really bond as they go through the items Mattie has stored in the Hope Chest. Each item has memories attached and reminds Mattie and Don of the wonderful life they've shared and shows Rose and Jeri how extraordinary love and family can be. This is a wonderfully done story and one I highly recommend.

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