Book Review: The Hope Chest

My book review today is about “The Hope Chest” by Viola Shipman. This was the author’s grandmother’s name. He writes under this name to give tribute to her.


Mattie has always been very independent, with a long successful career in garden design, but 5 years of ALS  has stolen all that.

As Mattie gets weaker, her husband Don realizes that they must move leave their beloved lake home and move to town where he can hire someone to help. That turns out to be twenty-something Rose and her young daughter Jeri.

Though Mattie and Don were not able to have children, Rose and Jeri come to fill that empty spot in their hearts.

Don brings Mattie’s childhood hope chest down from the attic, and with it come old memories. The reader is taken back to another time while Mattie visualizes her own childhood through each beloved object from this chest.

This is a wonderful book that will renew your faith in the ties that bind. That love bridges devastating illnesses and strengthens bonds. And that hope can be found where you least expect it.

I was surprised to learn at the end that this author is using a pseudonym. Viola Shipman is actually Wade Rouse. He chose his grandmother’s name whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing.

About The Author:

author Wade Rouse

Wade Rouse is the internationally bestselling author of seven books. His latest novel, The Hope Chest, launched in March from St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books. The Charm Bracelet came out in paperback in January.

To date, the novels, written under the pen name Viola Shipman. They’ve been translated into over a dozen languages and resonated with readers around the world.

Wade chose his grandmother’s name as his pen name. This was to pay tribute to the woman whose heirlooms, lives, lessons and love inspire his fiction. And inspired him to become a writer and the person he is today.




  1. I think the author must have a very open and loving heart to assume a woman’s pen-name and write a story so full of feeling. Having chosen to write under his grandmother’s name speaks a lot of the kind of nurturing he must have received as a child and young person.

    Sounds like a good read. Thanks for reviewing, Brenda.

    Pats to the pupsters.

  2. The Charm Bracelet was a really good read to me so I feel sure that I will also enjoy The Hope Chest.

    I do remember reading about the author; I think not too long ago he had an article in Coastal Living magazine. He talked about the meaning behind his pen name and his love for his grandmother. After reading the article, I knew I wanted to read his novel.

    Thank you for this book review.

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