Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “So Much of Life Ahead (Hearts of the Children, #5)” as Want to Read:
So Much of Life Ahead (Hearts of the Children, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

So Much of Life Ahead (Hearts of the Children #5)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  2,145 ratings  ·  84 reviews
In this concluding volume of Hearts of the Children, we come full circle to bid good-bye to the Thomas family. The characters we met in Children of the Promise, and their posterity in this sequel series, have filled our hearts for years. As four young cousinsGene, Kathy, Diane, and Hansfind their own paths in life, they are propelled forward by their strong heritage and th ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published September 9th 2005 by Deseret Book Company
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about So Much of Life Ahead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about So Much of Life Ahead

Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites by Chris HeimerdingerPillar of Light by Gerald N. LundCharly by Jack WeylandPrincess Academy by Shannon HaleFire of the Covenant by Gerald N. Lund
Best LDS fiction
77th out of 485 books — 428 voters
Princess Academy by Shannon HaleFablehaven by Brandon MullThe Goose Girl by Shannon HalePrincess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day GeorgePrincess of Glass by Jessica Day George
Books by Utah Authors
169th out of 734 books — 377 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,777)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I finally finished the HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN series, and it's a satisfying feeling to be done with the story of the Thomas family, next generation. This book is set in the 1960s and 1970s and is quite enjoyable and compelling in many ways. However, it's not nearly as good as the previous Hughes series, CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE, which is set during World War II. I'm not much for books in a series, but this was fun. I like Dean Hughes a lot, no matter what he writes.

Not that it matters, but I read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am reviewing not only this book but the overall series. I enjoyed this book as all of the stories started towards resolution. The characters that were starting to annoy have grown on me and I enjoyed them a lot better near the end. As far as the series goes, it was good, but a little too much of a variation on a theme with all of the characters stories. They were too close to their parents' storylines (if you read "The Children of the Promise" series). Overall it was enjoyable but I can't say ...more
This is a beautiful book and series. I had now read all five in Hearts of the Children and all five in Children of the Promise. Dean Hughes did a masterful job. The characters are so interesting and the plot so realistic to me. To have a novel that deals with my church that I belong to and played such a role in shaping my life and seeing how it plays out in another family and others' lives is a wonder to me.
I borrowed all five books in this series from my daughter rather than buy them myself. I
These books were a lot of fun to read. I learned a lot about life in the 60's and 70's, my parents generation. They kept my interest and made me want to keep reading them every night. They had a great message!
I think one of the best things about Dean Hughes' authorial style is that it's clean and transparent. The story pulls you in, but you're not constantly being reminded that you're *in* a story--that, to me, is a mark of a skilled author.

I had to laugh, a little, when I realised that after reading (well, listening to) "Far From home," and a few of the sequels, that I had become engrossed in what essentially amounts to and LDS literary soap opera. But Hughes has definitely done his homework, making
Oct 19, 2008 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amy by: Alison
After LOVING the first series about the Thomas family in WWII era, I had high expectations of this one. It was disappointing ar first - but I stuck with it because I was very interested in the history of that time. By the 3rd book I was finally interested and by the end I really enjoyed it. The story of these people in the 60s and early 70s facinated me because of how little I really knew about the time. More than anything it gave me a greater appreciation for my parents and inlaws, who were rig ...more
Stan Crowe
I think one of the best things about Dean Hughes' authorial style is that it's clean and transparent. The story pulls you in, but you're not constantly being reminded that you're *in* a story--that, to me, is a mark of a skilled author.

I had to laugh, a little, when I realised that after reading (well, listening to) several of the "Hearts of the Children" series that I had become engrossed in what essentially amounts to and LDS literary soap opera. But Hughes has definitely done his homework, ma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Baxter
Stop me if I’ve said this before, but I think one of the reasons people liked the first Hughes series better than this one is the subject matter and the tone the author conveyed throughout each. Children of the Promise; set in World War II, aptly portrayed a family caught up in the times and events of an era that was at once was devastating, yet also warm and fuzzy in retrospect. In contrast the Hearts of the Children series, of which this is the final installment, dealt with a much less fondly ...more
Oh my goodness, so many feelings! This book made me cry several times. It was a great conclusion to a great series. I feel like I learned so much and gained so much insight from reading these books. The Thomas family seems so real, it's hard to believe the series is over. I loved reading both the Children of the Promise and Hearts of the Children series. So good!!
I loved the first series so much, "The Children of The Promise", we bought all 5 volumes of "The Hearts of The Children". I loved these books because they seemed to be about real people, not perfect people. Just like you and me.

A comment by Dean Hughes that will give you an idea of how he thinks and writes:

"Before we have children, we think most of the parents sitting in sacrament meeting ought to “do something about their kids.” Once we have kids, we think everyone ought to be a lot more unders
This book is the end of a series that I thought was a little too stereotypically "cheesy" Mormon. However, this particular book, while idealistic, is honest from a Salt Lake insider's point of view. Fortunately, it allows for differences of opinion, life experiences, and chances for people to step outside of "Zion". It even pokes fun at some Mormon idiosyncracies. It's a little unrealistic in my experience with regard to laying open everyone's feelings and assuming that with enough faith, everyt ...more
It's hard to see all these books come to an end. I've loved reading about the Thomases, and being a part of their lives. This second series caused me to think a lot about an era that I haven't taken the time to think about before.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was glad I finally finished/re-read this series. It's kind of a hard one to read at times--you wish the author would "fix" everything and make everything better, but unfortunately, he tries to make it as real to life as possible. So Diane stays divorced and Gene is still struggling with his emotional wounds from the war.

I really like this author, though. I love the historical details he gives--it always makes me want to read some history from that era.

Also, I've heard he has a book about Diane
I really enjoyed the LDS perspective of this period of history.
This series of books really got me interested in learning about the Vietnam War and what life was like in the sixties and seventies. The author really has a way of pulling you in to the characters' lives and really showing what it was like to live during that time and experience some of the things that were going on.

If you're interested in this time period or LDS fiction, I would definitely recommend the series. Dean Hughes does a wonderful job of capturing real world experiences for four diffe
Rex Cluff
I was a bit disappointed with this final volume of the series. It felt like the author knew the story was over and he was in a hurry to wrap it up. Yes, there were touching moments and not everybody had a "Disney", happily-ever-after ending, but at times the dialogue and settings seemed forced, unrealistic and even "campy". Still, the overall message was worthwhile and each family should take that message to heart and do their best to apply it in their current settings. I have thoroughly enjoyed ...more
This series was not as good as the previous.
Debbie Williams
See review under Writing on the Wall.
Todd Lemmon
I was captivated from start to finish for about 3 months while I read all 10 volumes of the two-part series. I gained a greater appreciation for my own heritage as well as those who have gone to war. I found myself able to relate to pieces of the lives and experiences of each character. The books gave me a better resolve to pass on to my posterity the ability to live the gospel despite the conditions of the world or what we may experience, good or bad. I think in part that is what Brother Hughes ...more
I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with this series. I enjoyed, for the most part, Diana's and Kathleen's story line. But I didn't have any closure when the series ended. I didn't like most of the characters and how they ended up.
But, saying that, it was still enjoyable to read. I liked to see the character's reactions to historical events, like the Kennedy assassination and the Civil Rights Movement. The story is very moving from a historical stance, but lacks in connection with the c
All in all I enjoyed the ending of the series, I wish there could have been something better for Diane, but I'm glad that she grew up and is starting to make better choices.
I was happy with Kathy's ending, but a little saddened by Gene's. I wish that he could have been completely healed, but I was happy to see that he was making progress and stopped being so stinking stubborn.
I'm glad I read the series because I did enjoy it especially once the characters were out of their teens and early 20's!
I liked being able to continue the story of the Thomas family. It goes through typical life challenges and gave me a better perspective of what things may have been like in the 60's. It is realistic. Not every ending is a happy one, but it shows how we can cope with our challenges. I felt most connected to the Character of Cathy. She is very stubborn and constantly questioning things. But, she seemed to have learned more compared to her cousin by the traits that she has.
I really enjoyed this series. Children of the Promise and Hearts of the Children Series are both very well written and I understand that his research into the history is pretty accurate. I like reading his thoughts at the end of each book that share what he was trying to portray while writing the book. I am at a loss for what to read now. I really got into these books and feel that my time reading them was well worth it!
I really liked this series and this was a pretty good end to the series. I liked the previous books a little better because this book felt like it was more of a wrapping up of four major story lines and it had to be done by a certain page, rather than letting the stories play out to the end that was more natural. I liked these books enough that I have looked by another book by this author. Overall, well done!
Nov 15, 2007 Laurie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: lds
I am a little sad to be leaving the Thomas family. I mean I have been with them for 10 books now! I have really enjoyed both series. I do still think that The Children of the Promise was my favorite, but this one was still good. I am just fascinated by the amount of time and effort he puts in to researching his books. I am looking forward to reading his new book out!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 92 93 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Faith of Our Fathers: Through the Perilous Fight (Volume Three)
  • Come Unto Me (The Kingdom and the Crown, #2)
  • Prelude to Glory, Vol. 3: To Decide Our Destiny
  • 'Til the Boys Come Home: A World War I Novel
Dean Hughes is the author of more than eighty books for young readers, including the popular sports series Angel Park All-Stars, the Scrappers series, the Nutty series, the widely acclaimed companion novels Family Pose and Team Picture, and Search and Destroy. Soldier Boys was selected for the 2001 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list. Dean Hughes and his wife, Kathleen, have three ...more
More about Dean Hughes...

Other Books in the Series

Hearts of the Children (5 books)
  • The Writing on the Wall (Hearts of the Children, #1)
  • Troubled Waters (Hearts of the Children, #2)
  • How Many Roads (Hearts of the Children, #3)
  • Take Me Home (Hearts of the Children, #4)

Share This Book