Relationships are so complicated and complex. Trying to discern our own motives are difficult, and when we try to peek into another's heart, it's even more confusing. After all, "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy" (Proverbs 14:10).
And yet, we seek to understand. "The purposes of a man's heart are deep water, but a man of understanding draws them out" (Proverbs 20:5).
Francine Rivers is seeking to draw out deep water in Her Mother's Hope, the first of a two-book saga called Marta's Legacy. Ms. Rivers is at the top of my favorite author's list, so I was eagerly anticipating this book. I have said before that my only complaint about her is that she hasn't written enough books. And my favorite genre is historical fiction. This book did not disappoint.
The heroine of the novel is a strong-willed independent woman. I love that. Marta is determined to flee an abusive father in Switzerland and pursue her dreams wherever they lead her in the years before the First World War. I found myself rooting for her to succeed and sorrowing with her through her difficulties. She eventually lands in Canada and starts a family of her own. It is in her mothering that we really begin to see the relationships unfold -- the conflicts, the drama, the bitterness, the joy.
And it is in her mothering of Hildie, her oldest daughter, that Marta frustrated me and infuriated me most. But she also captivated me. She caused me to examine my mothering and to attempt to view it from where my children stand. Do they see my prodding and expectations as severe? Do they know, know, know that I love them and am proud of them? And how often do I bungle the relationships of the very ones I love so dearly in the name of trying to do what's best for them?
Her Daughter's Dream, the conclusion of Marta's Legacy, will not be out until the fall of this year. However, the thoughts and questions the book stirred within me will keep me company as I wait.