Stories That Bind Us

A Novel

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Rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at forty. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what's next, never imagining what God had in mind.

When her estranged sister returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960s small-town Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.


"Susie Finkbeiner graces us with a quiet novel about ordinary people who use storytelling to navigate a life that has become far more complicated than they wished it was. Stories That Bind Us reminds us that life is messy and love hurts sometimes--but it is always worth it."--Erin Bartels, author of We Hope for Better Things and The Words between Us

"A heartbreaking, heartwarming story so fixed in real time that reading it feels like visiting some familiar past. Is there anything more wonderful than a story full of characters that take up residence in our own history? This story is a gift."--Shawn Smucker, author of the award-winning novel Light from Distant Stars

"There is a timelessness to the experience of reading Stories That Bind Us. In a voice that will be welcomed by fans of Anne Tyler, Finkbeiner creates compelling drama from the breath-to-breath moments of an ordinary life."--Allison Pittman, author of The Seamstress


Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of All Manner of Things, which was selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, as well as A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women's events across the country. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan.


Endorsements

"Susie Finkbeiner graces us with a quiet novel about ordinary people who use storytelling to navigate a life that has become far more complicated than they wished it was. As she peels away the layers of self-protection around her characters, revealing them to us in all of their complexity, the people we see staring back look a lot like ourselves, cloaking past hurts with present distractions and misdirections. Stories That Bind Us reminds us that life is messy and love hurts sometimes--but it is always worth it."

Erin Bartels, author of We Hope for Better Things and The Words between Us

"Well, Susie Finkbeiner has done it again, giving us a heartbreaking, heartwarming story so fixed in real time that reading it feels like visiting some familiar past. Her narrator is warm and genuine and brings us along at just the right pace. I'm left wishing I could spend time with the Sweet family in person, play with the boys, taste the pastries. Is there anything more wonderful than a story full of characters that take up residence in our own history? This story is a gift."

Shawn Smucker, author of the award-winning novel Light from Distant Stars

"There is a timelessness to the experience of reading Stories That Bind Us. With soft, exquisite precision, Susie Finkbeiner doesn't quite deliver a story with a discernible beginning, middle, and end. Instead, the reader enters midstream in a lifelong romance and, in a masterful interweaving of present action and flashback, feels the life of Betty Sweet lap at the edges of the page. Grieving the loss of her husband, Betty finds focus and solace in caring for her troubled sister's young son. This is especially poignant, given that she and her husband, Norm, were not able to have children during the course of their long, loving marriage. Her healing is gradual and surprising and achingly sweet. And while, yes, this is a work of historical fiction, it is an era that lives in our photo albums and home movies. In a voice that will be welcomed by fans of Anne Tyler, Finkbeiner creates compelling drama from the breath-to-breath moments of an ordinary life."

Allison Pittman, author of The Seamstress

"Stories That Bind Us is a lyrical, evocative novel about sisters, the beautiful complications of maternal love, and sacrifice. In the process of showing us how to love, Finkbeiner reminds us that we, too, are worthy to receive it."

Jolina Petersheim, bestselling author of How the Light Gets In

"Rich with more texture and tenderness than the sweets from the family bakery, Stories That Bind Us is a novel that takes readers not only back in time, but deep into heart issues we may have forgotten but can't afford to ignore."

Cynthia Ruchti, award-winning author


The Author

  1. Susie Finkbeiner
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    Susie Finkbeiner

    Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of All Manner of Things, which was selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, as well as A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit...

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