All the Little Hopes by Leigh Weiss

All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss. Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Landmark, [2021]. 352 pp.

All the Little Hopes by Leigh Weiss

Many of us whose families grew up in North Carolina understand well life on a farm (even if our families moved “to town” a generation or more ago). It doesn’t take long to drive from our cities to our rural communities. All the Little Hopes will transport you to rural North Carolina during World War II.

Lucy is a smart 13-year-old girl who idolizes Nancy Drew. Her family’s farm looks a little different without her older brother and her older sister’s husband, as they are both off fighting the Nazis. But Lucy and her other siblings are busy with beekeeping, taking care of the animals, working the tobacco fields, and praying for all of those off fighting the war.

Allie Bert Tucker lives on the other side of North Carolina, but her life isn’t going so well. Her mother is pregnant, and when Bert slips away for the afternoon, she comes back home to find out her mother has passed away in childbirth. Her father sends her to his sister Violet, who is expecting a baby, and lives all the way across the state. Bert gets on the train and finds herself in another world, leaving the mountains for the coastal plain.

When Lucy meets Bert on the railway bridge, they instantly become best friends. Lucy introduces Bert to Nancy Drew, and the two girls find mysteries of their own to solve, including what has happened to several men in town who have disappeared. Bert quickly ends up living with Lucy and her family because Violet has some mental health issues, and the girls become as close as sisters.

The girls also deal with becoming women and the wanted (and unwanted) attention of men, family tragedies, Nazis prisoners working in their town and on the farm, and a mysterious illness that knocks down the entire family.

There are many interesting characters in this book, and Weiss has done a great job of making the people of the town of Riverton come alive in your mind. She also depicts the conflicting emotions of those with soldiers overseas when Nazi prisoners were placed in camps and sent out to work at farms and in businesses across the country.

I didn’t want this story to end, and now want to go back and read her other book.

Mary Beth Adams is the Outreach Coordinator for Alamance County Public Libraries. She can be contacted at madams@alamancelibraries.org.