Review: All that Makes Life Bright

all that makes life bright cover

All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her new husband, Calvin, is completely supportive and says she must be a literary woman. Harriet’s sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but Harriet is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed–being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman’s life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband’s heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after -I do-? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

My Review

I’m one of those readers out there that knew very little about Harriet Beecher Stowe.  I knew she was an early American author, but that was it.  So I began this book with no expectations, other than I expect good things from author Josi S. Kilpack.

This book is one of Shadow Mountain’s A Proper Romance, and I was delighted to be allowed to receive an ARC in exchange for a review.

One of the things I enjoyed about this fictional account of Harriet’s early married life as that she was very real. All those feelings of inadequacy, of being overwhelmed with domestic duties, of being a wife, of motherhood–all those are real.  As well as the very real need to write, and to create.

When Harriet marries widower Calvin Stowe, she embarks on a new chapter in her life. Both of them have to find the intricate balance on this path of life.   And Harriet could not have made the difference she did had her role been different, and this book does a wonderful job on showing the wisdom God has in who he calls to the task.

As a side note, at the end of the book, Ms. Kilpack shares info on what parts were real, and which were fictionalized.