Linda K. Hubalek's Cultivating Hope Narrated by Ann M. Richardson

Cultivating Hope
Planting Dreams Series, Book 2
Author: Linda K. Hubalek
Narrator: Ann M. Richardson
3 hours 15 minutes
Publisher: Butterfield Books Ltd.
Whispersync for Voice-ready

Author Linda K. Hubalek
Cultivating Hope
Book 2 of the Planting Dreams series

Narrator Ann M. Richardson

Narrator Review:

Ann M. Richardson's narration of Cultivating Hope will blow your socks off. You will
begin thinking you are actually listening to Charlotta Johnson speak, it is so genuine sounding,
it can get down right scary. It's like tapping into to the past and experiencing everything Charlotta is doing, hearing, feeling and seeing.  Ann Richardson, sounds exactly like I think Charlotta should sound. Amazing narration, as Ms. Richardson speaks from her heart or maybe it's she speaks from Charlotta's heart and it comes through hers. This is a not to be missed series for you history buffs. It is thrilling, and packs a punch in just a little over three hours. I will be sorry when the series is over and so will you. Listen and love Cultivating Hope, by Linda K. Hubalek.

Book Review:

Cultivating Hope from the Planting Dreams Series, picks up a year after the Johnson family has been homesteading on the Kansas prairie. In one year much has happened to this family that we have come to love and admire. They had heartbreaking losses, and their already small and meager harvest goes to the grasshoppers and they are once again worried how they will feed their children and livestock. The 1874 locust invasion was not just a lot of locust it was millions of them, so many they blackened the sky, ate everything in their path, stripped trees bare, ate clothes off the line, and pretty much devastated everything in several states. When they were done, they left behind their stench and excrement's that polluted the streams, and ponds.

Many homesteaders moved and left their land others like the Johnson's toughed it out and survived. They need rain and more rain but it refuses to come. The drought has been terrible, leaving them with scarce amounts of food to eat. People are scouring the land for anything green to feed their animals, others are turning the garden yet again hoping for a missed potato or other edible. If not for the aid from the good people in the East, that sent food and clothing to the suffering citizens of Kansas, the Johnson's and many other good people may have starved to death.

These pioneer's were sturdy stock, most were hopeful that things would get better, they'd have a good harvest, a good rain, or like in Annie's song, Tomorrow, they lived on prayers, hope, and tomorrow. By 1876 there are enough people that they have a school, a church, and shops. Although Charlotta did not have much schooling, she is grateful that her children are able to go. She was wise enough to know the value of her children learning to read, write, and do math. So off they all go unless there is harvesting or planting to do.

So domesticity goes on pretty smoothly for a time as Charlotta and Samuel strive towards their goal of having a real home with a good producing farm. In 1880, they are well on their way to achieving their goal when they build their new home and some of the long and dearly held dreams are bearing fruit. Sadly, an especially sever winter grips Kansas with fifteen foot snow drifts and snow so deep, that Charlotta can barely get to the barn to find her son and husband. It is a terrible, terrible winter and little Esther has for some reason gone out side and Charlotta can't find her. She finds a glove and her dinner pail but not the child.
I found this to be a very touching story about Esther, and her determination, kind warmheartedness and pluck to do what she thought was the right thing. Esther rapidly became my favorite person in this astonishing story.
  Linda Hubalek has skillfully merged fact and fiction to give the reader/listener a taste of pioneer life and the hardships they suffered through, along with their joys and times of fun. We feel how important family was and the church played a significant role in most people's life. They gathered to pray, make friends, help one another to succeed and without their religion and churches America would not have become the prosperous and generous nation it is now. They survived and flourished on faith, hope and charity.

A Prairie Dugout Home 


Linda K. Hubalek, Planting Dreams Narrated by Ann M. Richardson

Planting Dreams book 1 of the Planting Dreams Series
Linda K. Hubalek
Narrator: Ann M. Richardson
Butterfield Books Inc.
3 hours 5 minutes

Narrator: Ann M. Richardson

Linda K. Hubalek Author of the Planting Dreams Series
Author: Linda K. Hubalek 

Cover photo of Planting Dreams by Linda K. Hubalek
Planting Dreams by Linda Hubalek

Dainty is perhaps an old fashioned word, but it is what comes to mind when I listen
to the very delicate and feminine voice of Ann M. Richardson. Ms. Richardson's voice
is very clear with nice intonations. Her reading is flawless, graceful and will captivate
your attention. I like her interpretation of the characters and the Swedish accent, which
is in no way over done. Ann Richardson uses her voice well, and makes good transitions.
She certainly did add a lot of pleasure to my listening of Planting Dreams. I highly recommend
listening to the audio book version to really pump up the reality factor.

In this very exciting series about a Swedish family that decides to immigrate from Sweden
to American in the 1800's, Linda Hubalek, has recreated her own ancestors story. Some
is derived from reality and some is from Ms. Hubalek's fertile imagination. She does such
a wonderful interpretation that you can easily forget that parts are made up, and the blend is so
smooth that you will not be able to easily detect between fact and fiction. Hubalek's, fiction is based in research and reality from genuine documentations of the times.

Planting Dreams, is an endearing and charming story of Charlotta Johnson and her family taking the  risky and adventurous leap of faith to immigrate to America. Charlotta and her husband are facing a hard decision, worried about another drought and not being able to feed themselves or their children. Knowing they would always be tenant farmers on rocky, and poor land that was difficult to plant on. Living in tenant housing was small and lacking. Yet, leaving for an unknown country, leaving friends and family, generations of traditions behind, could make the stoutest souls to quaver.

After much researching, sifting the true from the false, and frequent changes of mind, they make the decision to immigrate. Hubalek, perfectly exemplifies their feelings and thoughts after they've made their choice. What to take, what to leave, how to pack things, what needs to be easily accessible on the journey. Heart wrenching thoughts of never seeing loved ones again, and knowing it's likely you will never see your homeland except in your memories. Once underway, and on the train to the Port of Call where they will board the ship that will sail them away to a new life, is an adventure in itself.

Charlotta's, thoughts carry us from stage to stage of their transition to a new way of life and some very different ways of farming, eating and day to day living. I admire the fortitude of not only Charlotta and her family, but all immigrants that made their way to a new land. Their struggles to adapt and at the same time maintain some of their traditions, thus giving America it's unique character, variety of foods, and adding words and expressions to the English language.

It was thoughtful and kind, that the Lutheran minister's gave their time, money, aid and encouragement to the new arrivals. It seemed to me that their presence on the docks to meet the ships did much to comfort and help the new immigrants onto the next stage of their journey. For Charlotta and her family it was the church that aided them in finding a farm to rent for a year. This gave them time to adapt to new ways of farming, new crops to plant and much, much more, so when they moved on to their final destination they were more prepared knowing what to purchase, how to handle their money, and what they faced as homesteaders.

I highly recommend Planting Dreams and suggest you start the series with the first one, Planting Dreams, the second is Cultivating Hope followed by Harvesting Faith. This is just one of Linda Hubalek's series of historical books, she also has written The Trail of Thread series as well as some other extraordinary books. All are narrated by the very talented Ann M. Richardson, who gives a powerful voice to every story. You can visit Linda Hubalek at her website to enjoy her thoughts and peruse the many photographs of pioneers like the one below. 

From Linda K. Hubalek's collection of photos of pioneer life. Inside a dugout
Pioneer life

Cultivating Hope Book 2 of the Planting Dreams Series

Harvesting Faith Book 3 of the Planting Dreams Series