There is much to enjoy in Bettie Boswell’s Hoping for Treasure. Leaping back and forth between post-World War II and the present, the author explores the lives of ordinary people dealing with challenges that are universal, from romance, to careers, to social conflicts. Spanning these periods is a tale of ancestry and American history.
This sequel to the novel On Cue takes place in the community of Forest Glen and involves a house which once sheltered runaway slaves. By 1946 it has become a boarding house where a man named Dale Nash comes to live after his military discharge. The owner’s live-in assistant, Betsy, is attracted to Dale but is fearful of romance in the wake of a previous betrayal. Betsy and Dale share an interest in the old house and what may lie behind the basement walls.
Skipping ahead to the twenty-first century, we find newlyweds Scott and Ginny Hallmark living in that same house while juggling their teaching jobs. Much of Ginny’s story involves her interest in some old papers she discovers in a desk. They provide a link between the past and the present.
In the novel’s postwar chapters we get glimpses of a time when women worked in war factories, housekeepers hung their laundry on clotheslines, wood-fueled stoves did the cooking, telephone service was by party line, and women painted seams on their legs when they couldn’t afford stockings.
To me, one of the more interesting aspects of the book is a school funding election which will decide the fate of Ginny and her students. You can tell the author is familiar with the ripple effects of spending cuts on public schools in America, not to mention the daily pressures of educating kids. ‘Sometimes,” Ginny reflects, “a teacher needs a mental health day.”
Though I had a few issues with the author’s narrative approach and some editing problems, it was refreshing to meet characters in both eras who turn to God when their burdens become overwhelming. Hoping for Treasure should appeal to readers who are neither rich nor powerful; just ordinary people trying to do their best.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed are my own.