Book Review: The Highest of Hopes by Susan Anne Mason

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This was a light read with some serious topics covered, and I loved how the emotion evoked ranged from funny to sad to inspired so many times while reading. I had never read this author before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I love her writing style! Susan Anne Mason creates realistic, flawed characters, and she inserts dialogue at the right time and also lets the scenery sometimes speak for itself. I thought the storyline was also really interesting, since it was set in the early 1900s, when many things were still old-fashioned but time were changing and becoming more modern. Women were going to college, men were seeing their wives bring home money from working office jobs, and medicine was progressing to take care of soldiers returning home with what is now recognized as PTSD. Fascinating time period, and this author described it eloquently with great accuracy! Selling her grandfather's watch shop and sailing to Canada to meet a father she never knew, Emmaline Moore is on the adventure of a lifetime. Accompanied by her childhood friend, Jonathan Rowe, she is hoping to build a relationship with her father and finally have the family she has always wanted. However, upon arrival, she discovers that her father is currently running for mayor, and the last thing his campaign needs is a long-lost daughter showing up unannounced, seemingly abandoned at birth by her scoundrel of a father. The papers would have a field day! Despite the many obstacles, Emmaline is determined to overcome them in order to get to know her father and her newfound siblings. If only they wanted to get to know her too. Soon she is working to not only save her relationship with her father but also her budding romance with her best friend. The first thing I will say is the one thing I noticed frequently while reading - this whole book is full of one apology after another. First Emmaline apologizes, then Jonathan takes a turn, then Randall (her father) gives it a go...everyone has a point at which they apologize. Except for Randall's wife. She is a horrid woman who really never redeemed herself. I think the main issue is how young Emmaline and Jonathan are, and they have both been thrust into adult roles so young in life. It was so inspiring to watch them work through issues and make better people of themselves, and by the end of the book, there had been an amazing amount of character development. I think Emmaline grew the most, because initially, she came across to me as very immature and impulsive. But over time, as events progressed and she had to take on a more mature role in life, she grew as a person and put others ahead of herself. Jonathan grew as well - he put too much emphasis on his love for Emmaline and not enough on what he wanted. And then he was too pigheaded to see when he made the wrong decision. It was such a roller coaster of emotion, and I enjoyed every second of it! I will definitely read more of Susan Anne Mason's work! With the history in the story and the brilliant growth in characters, her books are rewarding reads. I am excited to see what comes next. **I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**

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