Monday, May 23, 2022

All The Little Hopes by Leah Weiss


They are best friends but it's a miracle they ever even met.  Lucy Brown is from the eastern part of North Carolina, growing up on a farm with tobacco and bees with her large family.  Now that the War is on, one of her brothers and her brother-in-law are gone overseas.  Her dad is sought out by the government for his bees.  The Army doesn't want the honey so much but needs all the beeswax he can provide for waterproofing tents.

Allie Burt Tucker is from the mountains of North Carolina.  After her mother's death, her father sends her East to help out his sister who is pregnant and needs help.  But when Burt arrives, her aunt doesn't know who she is or why she's there. The aunt hasn't seen her husband in weeks and thinks Burt is after him. She seems on the verge of a breakdown and one night she throws Burt out in a storm and tells her never to return.  Burt makes her way to Lucy's house and eventually moves in with Lucy's family.

With the war on, Lucy's dad has trouble keeping up the work of the farm plus over a hundred hives.  He trains Burt to work with the bees and also uses the help of the town's gentle giant who is a bit slow but a good worker.  Later he even uses German prisoners of war.  There is some talk about them but the men soon show that they are just like most men, some good, some bad.

Burt and Lucy do all the things thirteen year old girls do.  They tell stories, pretend to be detectives and talk about boys.  They do each other's hair.  Over the next couple of years they grow ever closer as they start to become more adult.  Burt has a close call with an older boy who pretends to like her but has other things in mind.  The girls learn about Ouija boards and use one to solve their most puzzling questions although the answers seem strange and hard to interpret.  But most of all they learn to be a family and form a friendship that will never be broken.

Leah Weiss is a bestselling author who never published until after she retired from her career as an executive assistant at a school.  Her first novel, If The Creek Don't Rise, has sold over a 100,000 copies and is also a novel of the rural South.  Weiss was born in Eastern North Carolina.  I was lucky enough to meet her at an author event when her first novel was published and she is a warm and witty woman.  The characters in this book will bring wry smiles of recognition to women as they look back on their own teenage years and the friends they shared their lives with.  This book is recommended for women's fiction readers.

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