Her Mother's Hope (Marta's Legacy) is the story of mothers and daughters, three generations of women in the same family. Marta is the main character. She was born in Switzerland in the late 1800's. Her father was a tailor, her mother a seamstress. She was a bright child who loved school but her father made her drop out and go to work even before she finished elementary school. Her father was also both verbally and physically abusive. She had a sister who was the apple of her father's eye and her mother's pet. However, her sister, like her mother, had little fight in her. Both were pleasers. Marta is sent off to housekeeping school and works her way through a series of jobs in hotels, boarding houses and mansions until finally going to Canada to pursue her dreams. She meets and marries Niclas and has to give up all she has worked for to follow him first to western Canada and then to California. Along the way they have four children, including the second major character in the book, Hildamara. Like her grandmother and aunt, Hildamara is a pleaser, a servant. Marta keeps pushing her, demanding things of her, trying to get her to stand up for herself, to demand what she wants or needs, but Hildamara doesn't; she just becomes more convinced that her mother doesn't love her.
The book takes us from Switzerland to Paris to England to Canada and finally to California. We see Marta growing into a successful business woman, and finally realizing that she is worthy of being loved. We see her daughter suffer the same feelings of unworthiness due to her inability (she believes) to gain her mother's love. Finally we see Marta realizing that while Hildamara's strength isn't the same type as hers, she does indeed have the strength she so desired her daughter to have.
Her Mother's Hope is Christian fiction. We often hear how the family attended church. At the beginning of the book Marta is in church shortly after a beating by her father. The pastor speaks about the need to continue to work at staying on the right path and Marta wonders if God is like her father--impossible to please. One thing that attracts Hildamara's eventual husband to her is her prayerfulness. Still, this is a powerful book about the relationships between parents and children and to dismiss it because you don't read Christian fiction would be a mistake.