The Hope Chest by Carolyn Brown Book Review

The Hope Chest by Carolyn Brown is a story about new beginnings and healing from generational trauma. There is also some sweet romance thrown in which keeps the book light and hopeful.

After the death of their grandmother Nessa, Flynn and April return to Blossom, Texas to discover what her Will holds. the cousins discover that their grandmother Lucy has left them her home and a locked hope chest. To get into the hope chest they need to complete a final task, together they need to finish a hand-stitched quilt.

As they go through the motions of making the quilt each cousin re-examines where they are in life and put they r relationship with their grandmother under scrutiny.

To Nessa,  her grandmother and the house were an escape from her scratch Christian parents. For Flynn, it awakens the feeling of abandonment from his childhood. For April who grew up living with her grandmother, the house is a reminder of a past she wants to forget and all the mistakes she has made in her life.

Each of them feels alone and is looking for more in their lives. As they rediscover the family they have in each other, they all begin to find new paths which will lead them to the love and stability they all want.

Despite there being some tough issues that each character has to deal with, this is a warm, fluffy book in typical Carolyn Brown style. The characters are flawed by charming and you find yourself really wanting them to be okay.

You’ll enjoy this book if you like:

  • sweet romances
  • small town stories
  • family centred stories





Excerpt from The Hope Chest by Carolyn Brown 

“Are we ready, then?” Paul handed each of them a folder. “This is a copy of her will. In simple language, it says that you three grandchildren inherit her entire estate to be held jointly, which is the two-bedroom house, her quilting shed, the four and a half acres that it sits on, and everything in the house. The property cannot be sold. She wanted it to always be there in case one of you needed a place to live or just wanted to use it for a vacation home. There is a quilt in the frame out in her work shed, and before any of you can leave, you have to hand-quilt it. She was adamant about that part of the will. It cannot be quilted on the sewing machine. If any of you fail to work together, then you forfeit your third to the other two.” He flipped through a few more papers. “There is a hope chest, also known as a cedar chest, that you will put the quilt in when it is completed. That hope chest is now in the care of Jackson Devereaux, her friend and nearest neighbor, and it will remain in his care until one of you gets married. The person who marries first inherits the chest. Jackson also has the key to the hope chest and will open it for you when the quilt is finished. You can see whatever is inside when you open it, and at that time, the contents will belong to you three grandchildren. She didn’t even tell me what’s in the chest, so it will be your surprise.”

“It’s probably some of her extra pillowcases,” Nessa said.

“Or maybe she kept all her money in there rather than burying it in quart jars out in the backyard.” Flynn chuckled.

She had to have money hidden somewhere. She’d lived frugally and sold her quilts and quilt kits for a high price, so what had she done with the profits?

“What if we don’t give a damn about the hope chest or what’s in it?” April asked.

“That’s your choice, but I would advise you strongly to at least finish that quilt and find out what Lucy has left you. Now, the last thing we need to consider is her car. It is part of the estate and cannot be sold. The keys are on this ring with the house key.” He handed the ring to Nessa and then laid out a stack of papers with yellow, red, and blue tabs. “Each of you need to sign on every sheet. This is acknowledging that I have explained the terms of the will and that you are accepting them. April, you are yellow. Flynn, you are blue. And Vanessa, red.”

Nessa picked up the pen first and began flipping pages and signing on the appropriate lines. “What if none of us want to leave at the end of the quilting stuff?” She tucked an errant strand of curly red hair behind her ear as if focused on the document, but her steely blue eyes floated in tears. Leave it to Nessa to ask that question. She’d always been Nanny Lucy’s favorite of the three, even when she rebelled against her father’s strict religion and did not marry the guy he had picked out for her. Nessa looked like Lucy and was the daughter of her favorite child.

“Then I suggest you learn to live together in harmony,” Paul answered as he pulled envelopes from his briefcase.,