All That Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack (Review)

I've loved all of Kilpack's books in this series to date and was so excited to hear
that she was writing about Harriet Beecher Stowe. Read my thoughts on it below...

All That Makes Life Bright:
The Life and Love of Harriet Beecher Stowe
(A Historical Proper Romance)
by Josi S. Kilpack
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 336 Pages
September 5th 2017 by Shadow Mountain


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 husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she 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?

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My Review

ALL THAT MAKES LIFE BRIGHT is a heartrending story about the early marriage of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author who wrote UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. Kilpack does a fantastic job of making her characters come alive and easy to relate to, as well as immersing her readers in this historical period where the United States was in political and civil turmoil. Readers will fall in love with Harriet and Calvin as they navigate their new relationship, and will rejoice at the joyful ending! Highly recommended to sweet romance and historical romance readers!

This story started out mildly enough, but soon I found myself deeply invested in these characters and hopeful for them to figure things out so they could reach their happily-ever-after. I could relate to both Harriet and Calvin and their very different perspectives, especially as a wife and mother myself who also faces somewhat of a balancing act between my various roles. There were parts that made me laugh, some that made me cry and then cry again, and some that were very tender moments. There were even a few that were gripping. Through it all, I could not put this book down until I reached the sweet ending, which thankfully did not disappoint. I also enjoyed the author's notes at the end, which I found to be rather interesting.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I loved this story from beginning to end! It had so much heart, struggle, and joy. I could not have asked for more.

Content: Referenced marital relations, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and purchased a copy as well, which did not require a review nor affect it in any way.

Books in the Series

  The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott (Historical Proper Romance #2)
The Sheriffs of Savage Wells Beauty and the Clockwork Beast Forever and Forever (Historical Proper Romance) A Lady's Favor
My Fair GentlemanHeir to Edenbrooke Lord Fenton's Folly A Heart Revealed
(Books link to my reviews or Amazon.)

About the Author

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney award for Mystery/Suspense in 207 and Wedding Cake, book twelve in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series won in 2014. Josi was also the Best of State winner in Fiction for 2012. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband, children and super-cute – but not very friendly – cat.

Have you read any other books based on historical figures? Will you be reading this one?

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