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We Hope for Better Things

Narrated by: Stina Nielsen
Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"We Hope for Better Things has it all: fabulous storytelling, an emotional impact that lingers long after you turn the last page, and a setting that immerses you. I haven't read such a powerful, moving story since I read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. This book will change how you look at the world we live in. Highly recommended!" (Colleen Coble, USA Today best-selling author of the Rock Harbor series and The View from Rainshadow Bay)

"A timely exploration of race in America, We Hope for Better Things is an exercise of empathy that will shape many a soul. Erin Bartels navigates this sensitive topic with compassion as she shifts her readers back and forth between past and present, nudging us to examine the secrets we keep, the grudges we hold, and the prejudices we may help create even without intention." (Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Perennials)

When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request - that she look up a relative she didn't know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos - seems like it isn't worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time. 

At her great-aunt's 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think. 

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes listeners on an emotional journey through time - from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War - to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

©2019 Erin Bartels (P)2018 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Breezed right thru it!

I really enjoyed this book and the narrator as well. Since I grew up in the metro Detroit area, it was fascinating to experience the story in places that are familiar to me. The author did a great job of linking 3 generations and a complicated family tree. I really enjoyed the historical aspect of this work of fiction; Civil War, Detroit riots. Very well done, definitely would recommend!

38 of 39 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Caroline
  • Hollywood, SC, United States
  • 01-04-19

Hidden gem of a book!

I found this book while searching for new releases. The summary caught my interest but I hesitated to purchase because there were no reviews. However, I knew I could return it if I didn’t like it, so I took a chance and was well rewarded.
This book would be a bestseller if it were promoted. Fantastic story and good writing. I hope an Audible editor will listen to this one and promote it, because this is one of the best books I’ve listened to in some time. And I listen to two or three books a week.

115 of 120 people found this review helpful

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Great historical fiction

My wife and I listened to the audible version of "We Hope for Better Things" on our way from Michigan to Florida. What a great novel. I really enjoyed the way Erin intertwined the 3 periods of time in the Balsam genealogy and all the research she did to support the story. I am looking forward to her next novel.

65 of 68 people found this review helpful

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  • Gretchen
  • Salinas, CA, United States
  • 03-06-19

A New Author to Watch For!

I am so grateful to the two reviewers who brought my attention to this book. I enjoyed the rich history & the character development all the way through. Stina Nielsen did a great job with every character. I look forward to more books from this talented author!

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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3 generations

This story holds a great story about 3 generations. As reader we're following the lifes of 3 woman: one in the late 19th century, one around 1967 and the last one in the present.
Al story's are beautifully weaven together.
A good build story. I think every one would enjoy.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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such a great book

love this story and it's many layers, so so great!!!! really wish I knew what happened to the blue eyed boy!!!!!!

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Too Dorky

This is an earnest story about very serious subject matter and history, but I just couldn’t finish this book. It felt like it was geared for a young adult crowd.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Rich characters and an engrossing tale

One of those stories that stays with you. It makes me wish I could see the house and meet these people. Well written.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • RK
  • New Jersey
  • 07-21-19

This is an amazing story!!

I LOVED THE CHARACTERS!! They will stay with me for a very long time! Mary (from the Civil War) and her absolutely beautiful and sad story of her life and love of a slave named George. Nora (from the sixties in Detroit) marries a black man named William and gets ostracized from her high class family. They move to Lepeure, Michigan to get away from the horrible things that happen to a biracial couple in Detroit. And then there's Nora's great niece, Elizabeth who comes to her great aunt's 150 year old farmhouse in Lepeure, Michigan with the intent of getting a set of pictures to her great aunt Nora. But, she found out that that the history of the farmhouse is too appealing to leave. Elizabeth stays to help her aunt and falls in love with a nursery owner. This is an awesome book! I love you Erin Bartels!!

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Spectacular Story!

This may be my favorite book of all time. And I read a lot of books. Wow. Wish I didn’t end. I read it in two days. Just never wanted to put it down.