When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled with 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?
Would you listen to All That Makes Life Bright again? Why?
Probably some day! I connected with the issues raised in the story - balancing family, career, and practicing faith amidst all the obstacles.
What other book might you compare All That Makes Life Bright to and why?
I have read Madeleine L'Engle's autobiographical works (Crosswick Journals) and she records how she managed to find time for writing while also managing family needs, including, in her case, and elderly relative. All done in love.
Which character – as performed by Cassandra Campbell – was your favorite?
Hattie. I loved her inner struggles, as expressed by Ms. Campbell.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Prolific Writer, Scholar, and Mother.
Any additional comments?
I've been studying the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, and was fascinated with how much she was able to accomplish in her life. I was curious how she did so with several children. I love this book because it neither dismisses motherhood nor career, but wrestles with changing the paradigm to make both callings work.
I loved the book and learned a lot about abolitionism and the historical facts concerning this period. It was also interesting to learn about how things were for women then as opposed to now and how much women did during this time period to change things for women today. Thanks to the author for such a beautiful illustration of the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe! Now I want to read Uncle Tom's Cabin.