Book Review

Valentine’s Thoughts + Book Review: Fanny’s Hope Chest By Sarah Holman

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day. For some, it’s a day of excitement as they plan the perfect way to show their significant other just how much they love them, and for others, like me, it’s a time to look forward to the 15th when the chocolate goes on sale and you can plot about throwing water-balloons at the couples in the park. (I am joking. I would never do such a thing.) I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, but I don’t really look forward to it either. I’m in my early twenties, and even though I am okay being single now, I still understand the loneliness and fear of remaining single.

My bitter spell happened in my late teens when here I was approaching adulthood without ever having a boyfriend, or even a guy friend I thought could be a boyfriend. But God has worked in me and on my heart and having a boyfriend/husband won’t make me whole, it won’t fill my loneliness. Only God can do that. Just because I’m fine with my singleness it doesn’t mean I don’t dream of one day getting married and having a family of my own, and even though I’m okay now, that doesn’t mean in five or ten years, or even next year, I’ll still be okay. All I can do is focus on this next moment, this next minute, this next day. Trying to look into the future is as pointless as looking through a telescope in the fog, all that does is magnify the fog in your vision and if you keep looking through the telescope, you can miss seeing the lighthouse beam guiding you.


Today I have a review for a wonderful novella that, even if contemporary isn’t your genre, I believe can help if you’re struggling with singleness, even if you’re not I still recommend reading it.

About the book

How old is too old for a hope chest?
When Ellie starts a new job as a home health aid, she doesn’t expect to meet a woman in her eighties looking for her hope chest, nor a house as messy as Ellie’s own emotional state. But as she cleans up Fanny’s house, she begins to wonder if Fanny’s hope chest might hold the answers to her questions about disappointed dreams and holding on to hope.
That is, if she can face both the mess and her own heart.


This novella is about Ellie as she tries to come to terms with still being single at thirty. She just lost her job as a nanny for a family she worked with for several years, even being there when some of the babies were born. That was the closest she came to motherhood, and having it suddenly ripped away brings her reality as a single woman into stark contrast with her coupled friends. She doesn’t even know why she continues putting things in her hope chest when she is loosing hope of ever getting married. And to make matters worse, her new job is as the caretaker of an elderly woman who never married. She now has to see her worst fear brought to life in someone else. But there’s something about Fanny and the fact that she wants Ellie to find her own hope chest for her. What could an elderly woman possibly need a hope chest for? But as Ellie cleans away the clutter, of Fanny’s house and her own heart, she learns that both Fanny and her hope chest have a story to tell and a lesson to teach. I loved how the story swapped back and forth between Ellie’s now and Fanny’s past, we learned Fanny’s past along with Ellie. Both POV’s were distinct and very captivating. Now, this is no give your hope to God and trust Him and He will give you a husband at the end of the story, but the ending was still wonderful. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll be honest, I cried at the end and I don’t even know if they were tears of happiness, grief over my singleness, sympathy, or some combination. Life doesn’t give us a certainty of love and marriage, and even if we do marry there’s no guarantee of Disney’s happily-ever-after. This story isn’t wish-fulfillment, but it is still such a hopeful ending.


Ellie is such a wonderful woman, she is sweet, kind, patient, and does more than what her job requires by cleaning every room thoroughly, including all the drawers and behind bookshelves. But she is also human, her heart aches from being single at thirty, at having to bear the “helpful” suggestions of family members on how to get a guy and the pitying looks from others. She hurts so much that sometimes she will snap in moments of stress. Ellie is no Mary-Sue, she struggles with trusting God with her singleness, even giving thought to the fear that if she does give Him her dream of being a wife, He will never give it back and she will remain single all her life.

Fanny is a dear and I love her. Learning her story was heartrending and so beautiful. Yes, there is beauty in a life of singleness, there is hope in a life of singleness. Fanny’s story showed that the world doesn’t end just because you don’t get married. Her life wasn’t easy, and she went through what Ellie is going through, yet she showed what a life is like if you give it to God, if you give Him your hopes and dreams and your life still doesn’t turn like what you thought, there is still beauty and purpose in it. Married or not, Fanny is the kind of woman I hope to be like when I’m an old lady.


The content is very clean. There is a certain Sunday School scene were Fanny is teaching a group of little kids about Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar and one of the kids points out that Hagar and Abraham weren’t married when she had Ishmael which started a discussion. It didn’t go far and was just glossed over by mentioning little red cheeks and pointed inquiries. I think 14+ girls would love this story and it’s perfect no matter how old you are.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the author

Sarah Holman lives in central Texas with her amazing family. When not working
on her next novel, she can usually be found hanging out with her siblings, reading, or taking
long walks. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it’s because she serves a God
with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

Website | Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day? Are you interested in reading Fanny’s Hope Chest? Wanna throw water-balloons at couples with me? Valentine’s doesn’t just have to be about romantic love, give a shout out to someone you love, a friend, family member, or even a blog or blogger you really like.

Tell me in the comments! 😀


16 thoughts on “Valentine’s Thoughts + Book Review: Fanny’s Hope Chest By Sarah Holman”

  1. Happy Valentine’s, dear friend!!!

    I loved all your Valentine’s thoughts! I, too, have come to entirely embrace singleness–I actually LOVE it. BUT, it took me a loooong time to get here. Being in my upper 20s and also never having a boyfriend or anything even close can kind of seem…depressing. But through God’s help I’ve learned to count the blessings in it and be grateful! I mean, I avoided all the boyfriend/girlfriend drama so many of my friends dealt with. So I gotta say, that’s been nice. XD And just being single and having freedom to just be…me is something I honestly really enjoy. So yes! I love the single life now, but I DEFINITELY had some hard, hard years getting to this point.

    So allll that to say, I love that Sarah wrote this story! It sounds like such an important story for all the single ladies. And I adored reading your review on it!

    Thank you so much for sharing and all your sweet thoughts! Now go get yourself some chocolate, girl. You totally deserve it! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy Valentine’s to you too, dear friend!!! ❤

      Thank you so much! ❤ I loved all your thoughts too! I agree with them so much, thank you for sharing! Haha, yeah, avoiding all the boyfriend/girlfriend drama is a blessing. XD I also love the freedom singleness provides, I wouldn't be able to get half of what I do done if I was in a relationship. 😉

      It's a really precious story and I really think it will touch the single ladies who are struggling. Thank you so much!

      Thank you for reading! Hehe, *salutes* Yes, Ma'am! XD And you deserve cheesecake! 😀


  2. I’m in the same boat for singleness. It doesn’t really bother me. I’m too busy dealing with my characters and their aversion to the love lives I’m trying to create for them to worry about my own.
    The 15th. Yes! That should be the real holiday. Anytime such massive amounts of candy go on sale is worthy of celebration.
    Great review! I hadn’t heard of it ’til now.


    1. Haha, same! I can’t seem to write a story without writing some sort of love story in there. Playing matchmaker for my characters doesn’t leave much time for worrying about my own love life. 😉
      *high-fives* Indeed! I really like the after Christmas sale too.
      Thank you! You should definitely read it sometime, it’s so good! ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  3. GREAT BOOK REVIEW!!!!!!! Happy (a li’l bit late) Valentine’s Day!!!!!!!!! Don’t feel so bad about being single. I have lots of friends who have boyfriends and I’m like over here not even knowing hardly any dudes as friends. XD Anyway, YES LET’S GO THROW WATER BALLOONS AT COUPLES!!!!!!! XD 🤣🤣🤣🤣 And then while we’re at it, let’s go buy a bunch of the chocolate on sale. 🍫🍫🍫🍫 Also this TOTALLY sounds like a book I need to read!!! <33 (But, Jen, WHY do you have to do this to my TBR list. XD It can't take anymore books. 😆 Nah, I'm just kidding.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!! Happy (late) Valentine’s Day to you to!!! ❤ I believe God will write my love story when it's time, if that's what He has planned for me. I know he'll do the same for you! *hugs* MWAHAHA!!! *ahem* I mean, of course we'd never actually do that. *she says as she passes you full water-balloons* Ooooh! Yes! Buy ALL the chocolate!!! XDDD The book is SO good! <33 (Hehe, all part of my evil plan. XD)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post sis! 🤗💛
    Wait, we’re NOT throwing water balloons?!? 😲
    *slowly backs away and pushes all the water balloons into the closet to hide the evidence…* 🤫🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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