Thursday, June 11, 2020


Hey everyone!  I have another review for you, this time for Stories that Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner!  It was a truly enjoyable read, and I was grateful for the opportunity to read it.  Here's some more info on the book itself before I get into the specifics.  

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 front of 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.  


Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of All Manner of Things, as well as A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home.  She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women's events across the country.  Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan.  

This book was just released earlier this month.  Make sure to grab a copy HERE!  


This one earned 5 stars from me.  While the first couple of chapters were a bit on the slower side and the narrative took a bit to get used to, the story was easy to slip into and enjoy.  Finkbeiner uses a rather interesting storytelling device of mirroring modern day with the past, and of using fictional stories (told to Hugo by Betty) to mirror the lessons that both Betty and Hugo are learning at the time.  It's a storytelling choice that I've often wondered about -- how well it would work and if it could be pulled off at all -- and I'm glad to say that this book really pulled it off.  It's definitely reminiscent of This Is Us in its storytelling, its ability to grab difficult themes and work with them, and to draw the reader in.  It's easy to read a hundred pages of this in the blink of an eye -- I did just that when I was finishing the novel.  You'll find yourself rooting for the characters and mulling over the difficult topics presented; some of the snubs and nasty comments that she and Hugo face considering the time era, mourning losses, even mental health -- which was dealt with horrifically in the 60s.  It handles each topic with grace and enough blatancy to make known the atrocities and the good that can come out of each thing.  

The themes of family, struggle, growth, healing, and forgiveness are big in this book, and it's easy to get sucked into the storyline and even easier to really 'feel for' the characters.  While the ending seemed a little bit rushed (maybe I just wanted to keep reading, though) it was an enjoyable read and a very poetic and satisfying ending.  It has just a touch of humor, a lot of heart, and a whole bunch of important topics to unpack.  

Do you plan on picking up a copy of Stories that Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner?    


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