Book Review: "Her Daughter's Dream" by Francine Rivers

In the dramatic conclusion to Her Mother's Hope, the Cold War has begun and Carolyn is struggling to navigate her shifting family landscape and the changing times. With her mother, Hildemara, away in a tuberculosis sanatorium, Carolyn develops a special bond with her Oma Marta. But when Hildie returns, tensions between she and Marta escalate, and Carolyn feels she is to blame. College offers the chance to find herself, but a family tragedy shatters her independence. Rather than return home, she cuts all ties and disappears into the heady culture of San Francisco. When she reemerges two years later, more lost than ever, only her family can help rebuild a life for her and her daughter, May Flower Dawn. Just like Carolyn, May Flower Dawn develops a closer bond with her grandmother, Hildie, than with her mother, causing yet another rift between generations. But as Dawn struggles to avoid the mistakes of those who went before her, she vows that somehow, she will be a bridge between her mother and grandmother rather than the wall that separates them forever. Spanning the 1950s to the present day, Her Daughter's Dream is the final chapter of an unforgettable epic family saga about the sacrifices every mother makes for her daughter-and the very nature of unconditional love.

After I finished reading the first book in this two book saga, Her Mother's Hope, I knew that September 2010 could not come fast enough for me to be able to read the sequel. The first book was exactly what a Francine Rivers book should be and I knew that I would not be disappointed when I finally got my hands on this book. Luckily the wait between books was only a couple months. Like the first book, it's over 500 pages but believe me, they fly by really fast. The first book in the series focused on Marta and her daughter Hildie. This book focuses on Hildie's daughter Carolyn and her own daughter, Dawn. The story starts in the 1950s and continues through each decade until the present day. It's a really interesting look into American history and culture.

The main focus of the book is how due to Marta's past mistakes at how she chose to raise Hildie, this has now become a trickle effect with future generations of the family. Four generations of these women have dysfunctional mother/daughter relationships and they don't improve over time. It is sad how these women missed out on so much because for whatever reason they chose not to show love to their own daughters. This book focuses on Carolyn and Dawn and their journey in trying to rectify what almost a century has wrecked havoc on their family. The story is written beautifully and in Rivers' trademark, characterization is deep and engaging. I really felt that I was a part of the story and found myself engrossed completely.

As I did with the first book, there were times when I got really annoyed with all the characters. Marta, Hildie and Carolyn were all reacting in ways that were harming their relationships. I just wanted to insert myself into the story and pretty much yell at them for not realizing how they were all hurting each other. It was heartbreaking to see history repeat itself due to mistakes the women had made. Hildie was doing to Dawn exactly what she had seen her mother do to Carolyn. This kept driving wedges between the mother/daughter relationships while the grandmother/granddaughter relationship thrived. I got frustrated with how everyone was acting and it was just really sad that some things didn't get resolved.

Without spoiling the story, I'll just say that the ending is not a completely happy one. While things do get wrapped up, they aren't wrapped up neatly. I was actually a bit surprised with what happened. It could be seen as a bit dramatic but realistic as well. I didn't expect a happy ending. There are several scenes in the book that are a bit hard to read. One of them involves child molestation. It is an uncomfortable scene but is not graphic. Another involves a condemning church. This one made me angry at the people in the church who thought they were all holy when really they were nothing but hypocrites. Other topics such as how Alcoholics Anonymous can be beneficial is also brought up as well.

Overall, I would call the two books in this series as an epic. It spans four generations of this family and shows how the relationship between mother and daughter was broken and repaired. The family is dysfunctional, to say the least, and things weren't always happy but under it all they loved each other. The story is also a really interesting look into American history. The first book looked at American history from an immigrant and first generation children's point of view. This book takes it from the viewpoint of children who have always grown up in American and get to experience the privileges of their citizenship to the fullest. They reaped the rewards that previous generations had worked hard to achieve. It's really hard to sum up this book in a small review so I would recommend that you just go out and read it for yourself. These books are some of Francine's best and I would recommend them for all mothers and daughters to read and then discuss. HIGHLY recommended.

Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers is published by Tyndale (2010)

This ARC was provided by the publisher


  1. Anonymous11:27 AM

    I think I could relate to this book because my mother had to be in a hospital for a long time twice when I was a child but I had no grandmother close by to bond with.


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