Title: A Strand of Hope
Author: Amanda Tero
Collection: Librarians of Willow Hollow, book 1
Major Themes: Faith, Forgiveness, Librarians
Synopsis: When she discovers the possible answer to their family’s money woes—and, perhaps, a way to please her mother for once—Lena becomes a horseback librarian, but soon discovers she has more trouble than ever.
As soon as I saw A Strand of Hope up for preorder, I ordered it. Mostly because the preorder was a very good price, but partly because I have loved Tero’s books in the past, and I expected this one to be just as good! I ended up reading a different book in this collection first, even though this was the first in publishing order (not that I think it matters). Both are excellent, but so far, I think Lena’s story has touched me the most.
Lena’s mother harbors many regrets, and she tends to want to take them out on Lena. That’s partially because Lena was an illegitimate child, but life and fate have also done their duty, and as a bitter woman, she doesn’t find a lot to live for. Lena, on the other hand, finds plenty of time to escape the sorrows of her life now between the pages of a good book. When her dream job is offered to her, she can’t resist—but that has the potential to get her into a lot more trouble than she ever realizes!
A Strand of Hope is, in many ways, a simple story—but I still found it to be quite gripping. The little town of Willow Hollow is cute, but the attitudes are those you’d find just about anywhere. I felt like I got to know the people here a little bit, but by far my biggest impression was of the work the horseback librarians had to do. It wasn’t an easy task, but a love of books and the people they were serving kept them going, and in the end, I was quite impressed by their attitudes!
If you’re interested in stories from history with faith in action, you’d probably enjoy this book. It does deal with a few harder facts of life, but it’s a great young adult read. I came away encouraged!
My two favorite quotes from this book:
“Honey, you can’t force someone to have a good relationship with you. You can only keep loving them as Christ loves you, keep forgiving them as Christ forgives you, and keep reaching out to them as Christ does to you.” —Homer
“Always keep God in your mind, Lena. That will keep you on the right path. Keep your heart full of praise. That will keep your heart resting in hope.” —Pastor Stuart
WARNING: A woman curses in ch. 1 and 9. Someone thinks about shading the truth in ch. 2. There’s a brief mention of an “unwanted child of an unwed mother” in ch. 20.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above