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The Probable Future

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Alice Hoffman’s most magical novel to date -- three generations of extraordinary women are driven to unite in crisis and discover the rewards of reconciliation and love.

Women of the Sparrow family have unusual gifts. Elinor can detect falsehood. Her daughter, Jenny, can see people's dreams when they sleep. Granddaughter Stella has a mental window on the future -- a future that she might not want to see.

In The Probable Future this vivid and intriguing cast of characters confronts a haunting past -- and a very current murder -- against the evocative backdrop of small-town New England. By turns chilling and enchanting, The Probable Future chronicles the Sparrows’s legacy as young Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Her potential to ruin or redeem becomes unbearable when one of her premonitions puts her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. Yet this ordeal also leads Stella to the grandmother she was forbidden to meet and to a historic family home full of talismans from her ancestors.

Poignant, arresting, unsettling, The Probable Future showcases the lavish literary gifts that have made Alice Hoffman one of America’s most treasured writers.

352 pages, Paperback

First published February 24, 2003

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About the author

Alice Hoffman

110 books19.3k followers
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew; The Marriage of Opposites; The Red Garden; The Museum of Extraordinary Things; The Dovekeepers; Here on Earth, an Oprah’s Book Club selection; and the Practical Magic series, including Practical
Magic; Magic Lessons; The Rules of Magic, a selection of Reese’s Book Club; and The Book of Magic. She lives near Boston.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,289 reviews
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,299 reviews4,828 followers
July 11, 2021

Each of the Sparrow women of Unity, Massachusetts has an unusual ability which manifests itself on her 13th birthday. In this book - due to a confluence of circumstances - three generations of Sparrow women find themselves living together in the family's vintage "cake house" - which has the shape of a giant wedding cake.

Brought together are:

- Elinor - who can detect liars;

- Elinor's daughter Jenny - who can see people's dreams;

- and Jenny's daughter Stella - who can see how people will die.

At the beginning of the story Jenny, her husband Will, and her daughter Stella are living in Cambridge, Massachusetts when 13-year-old Stella 'sees' that a woman is going to be murdered.

Stella insists her father tell the police and when the woman is killed, Will - having 'suspicious knowledge of the crime' - is arrested for the murder. Stella's parents ship her off to Unity to protect her from the real killer and Jenny soon joins her there, where they remain.

There is conflict in the family because Jenny, who had been neglected by her grieving mother Elinor, ran off to marry her ne'er do well, lying, cheating boyfriend Will when she was seventeen.....

.....and Stella feels smothered and controlled by Jenny.

In the course of the story we learn a lot about the history of the Sparrow women (one of whom was drowned as a witch), which is interesting. There are also a variety of additional characters who help round out the tale but don't really 'pop' off the page.

As Jenny and Stella settle into Unity several couples fall in love or admit their love, which - in fairy tale fashion - is beneficial to their lives. In this book at least love cures a lot of ills.

I thought the initial premise of the book was intriguing but before long the story bogged down for me and I found that I didn't particularly like most of the characters. In fact some of the characters are so self-absorbed and oblivious and others are so self-effacing that I didn't much care what happened to them. Though skillfully written this book is more of a miss than a hit for me.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Nikoleta.
667 reviews269 followers
March 18, 2016
Υπέροχο δείγμα του αμερικάνικου μαγικού ρεαλισμού. Μου άρεσε ιδιαίτερα η τόσο ρομαντική αφήγηση και η μαγική ατμόσφαιρα. Εξαιρετικό βιβλίο. (Ατυχέστατη η επιλογή του ελληνικού εξωφύλλου, δεν μου ταιριάζει καθόλου με το ύφος και την ατμόσφαιρα του κειμένου.)
Profile Image for Kelly.
447 reviews216 followers
March 1, 2011
Some things, Ms. Hoffman, some things need not be explained until the words don't even sound like words anymore. In fact, Ms. Hoffman explains the setting (ie. Cake House, flora, fauna, seasons in MA, etc) so much and in so many different ways, she makes Stephen King look terse. And that, people, is talent.

The characters are one-dimensional, unrealistic, and completely unlikeable. The women in the novel are either two of the following: cold and constantly angry for no valid reason or daft and riddled with low self-esteem. As for the men, with the exception of two, they're lying, cheating dogs that Ms. Hoffman decides at the last hour to redeem in a manner so devoid of reality it's almost laughable. Almost. Oh, and those two men...idiotic, love-sick puppies with the patience of a saint.

But the worse part, the worse part may actually be a plot line that weaved in and out of existence. Then again, maybe it was the jumps in time, a tying of loose ends here and there throughout the book (inappropriately placed) that look like they were added as an after thought when the book was finished. My guess though is that it was probably closing the book feeling like a chump. But hey, at least I'm a chump that could now get her horticulture degree. Thanks, Ms. Hoffman!
Profile Image for Nardia.
68 reviews
May 7, 2011
This is a lovely story. I was hooked from the start, reading it all in two sittings, and when the book finally let me go it was with a sigh of relief and satisfaction. Alice Hoffman's grasp on her words is just magical; tightly controlled, so that each sentence seems to hold layers of meaning, but also flowing easily from the tongue. There's definitely a certain poetry in the way she weaves the environments where the story takes place, and she doesn't write as though her readers are stupid. Many little details that add to the depth of the story are slipped in quietly, fitting in naturally, beneath the noise of the surface events; it's refreshing to see a writer who doesn't feel the need to brandish about plot points like a flashing neon sign. She doesn't turn her head away from the less enchanting sides of a person, but shows how people can overcome their own weaknesses and the demons of their past, whether it takes them months or years or decades... In many, many ways, this is a beautiful book and I recommend it to anyone who knows how to appreciate a great writer.
Profile Image for Schmacko.
246 reviews63 followers
August 4, 2009
(This is a little long, cuz I get bitchy.)

There’s an audience for this type of Hoffman novel. I probably ain’t it.

I would guess that Hoffman’s core readers as transcendental herbalists from Martha’s Vineyard, and I’m sure I’m not that! So, maybe I was destined to dislike this book

The Probable Future is about the three most recent generations of the Sparrow women. All Sparrow women have witch-like gifts, like being about to sniff out liars or the talent to predict the mode of others’ deaths. It’s this last gift that gets the teenaged Stella Sparrow in trouble. She foresees a brutal Boston murder and tries to get her loser dad to stop it before it happens. Instead, he gets arrested for the crime. So Stella and her mom flee to small-town Massachusetts to hide out with the cantankerous grandma. Here they come to understand more about 13 generations of Sparrow women and their gifts.

Although I love Hoffman’s idea of domestic witchcraft and magic, I find her execution fluffy and unsurprising – the story arc is basically the stuff of Lifetime films, with a small bit of New England witchery thrown in. The sum product is a mystical version of a Laura Ashley gift basket, replete with a pale pastel bow to wrap the whole damn thing up too neatly at the end.

It also pisses me off that the females are seen as flawed but human, and many of the males are simply slackers, demons, pricks or buffoons. There’s not a lot of singularity here; I wouldn’t want to spend an unexpected amount of time with ANY of Hoffman’s two-dimensional characters. She defines too much of them by likes and dislikes and not enough by action intrinsic to the plot. Many of the conflicts could’ve simply been fixed with a good conversation. None of these people are witty, deep or complex.

I also distinctly dislike when authors write shallow “mustache twisting” villains; this book has one of the shallowest. And of course it’s a man, because I think Hoffman thinks this means she’s being feminist. (I suppose a female moustache-twister would be too scary and weird, though…all that facial hair.)

Hoffman’s book is missing a good question. The Probable Future possessed absolutely no thematic complications, comic or dramatic. (There are bumper sticker themes: “Family is good.” “Change is good.”) There was no point where I pondered, “God, what would I do?!? How would I handle this situation?!?” I never thought the author was taking any intellectual or emotional risks. The solutions to the characters’ problems were always obvious. Often, I didn’t care. Sometimes I even thought of a very quick, easy solution the characters were to vapid to consider.

Finally, all the description of horticulture, of bird wings, of flavored tea, gets old after a while. These aspects are buried in corny lines like, “Eleanor knew that you couldn’t tell anything about a new flower before it bloomed, just like you cannot tell truth about young people until they blossom into adulthood.”

My major quibbles being duly noted, Hoffman’s use of magic—casual, almost commonplace—is wonderful. I just wish she could’ve made a more unexpected plot with richer characterization. And she can end the book with us pondering a few questions, and I wouldn’t complain. I could actually live through the detailed descriptions of flora, fauna and food. But for all of its magic, the worst part of The Probable Future is how banal its characters are; it’s like Martha Stewart for the Wiccan set.

But then again, I suspect I am not the target audience here.

(By the way, I’ve also read Practical Magic, Second Nature and Seventh Heaven. Last night I tried to give Hoffman one more chance with Here on Earth. But after 40 pages, I had to put it down. It has the same characters—same struggling mom, same Gothy daughter. It possessed the same cursed land. It took place in a small Massachusetts town, like The Probable Future. It was scary how repetitive this seemed. I had to quit.)
Profile Image for Marie Sexton.
Author 54 books2,148 followers
February 11, 2016
OMG, I can't remember the last time I cried so much reading a book. One of those perfect stories that makes me feel like a fraud for daring to call myself an author. My eyes are swollen and I'll have the sniffles all night, but it was worth it.
Profile Image for MJ.
285 reviews
April 2, 2014
this book reminded me how much I love to read. I don't know enough about composition to say if it was well written, but I do know when someone is a good storyteller. hoffman is definitely that.
Profile Image for Tania.
1,171 reviews266 followers
April 13, 2015
We know what we need when we get it.

2.5 stars. I should have enjoyed this more, it had all the right elements - magical realism, mother-daughter issues, special magical abilities, but I didn't. I could not connect with the characters at all, and I think the book was too long. I absolutely adored The Dovekeepers by same author, which was a very different type of book, I'm holding thumbs she'll do something similar in future, because I don't think I'll be reading her older books if they are like the probable future.
The Story: The Story of three generations of the extraordinary Sparrow women with unusual gifts who are driven to unite in crisis, and discover the rewards of reconciliation and love.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,402 reviews8,129 followers
September 26, 2009
"The Probable Future" is about the Sparrow family, a lineage of woman who through each generation have their own unique powers and abilities. Elinor, the grandmother, can detect falsehood. Jenny, the middle-aged mother, can see other people's dreams. And Stella, the granddaughter, can see how people are going to die. These powers come with tribulations though. Elinor is slowly dying. Jenny has a cheating ex-husband and has been living her entire life with the wrong person. And Stella is your simple angst-filled teenager. When Stella tells her father Will Avery to warn the police about a murder that was going to take place, the police get suspicious of him and accuse him of being the murderer himself. This accusation brings the entire family back together, where they will have to deal with each other and hopefully reconciliate.

This was a good book, although it took me forever to read thanks to all advanced courses at school. The writing was full of figurative language, the metaphors and similes were seemingly boundless. I appreciated her prose, but sometimes I felt as if she could've cut back on some paragraphs and made them shorter.

As for the plot, I think there was just a little bit too much going on. Everything in the end was handled, but I felt that not a single aspect of the plot was finished as smoothly as it could've been. For example, the Sparrow family's powers were never explained. Also, Will's legal case was never fully described in detail either. So maybe this book would've appealed to a different audience better, but I still liked it for what it was.
Profile Image for Meagan.
53 reviews13 followers
August 29, 2007
Honestly, this book was one of the best depictions of mother-daughter relationships I've ever read. I felt for both mother and child in it, I could see both sides and where both were coming from - yet unlike other novels, I saw no clear way to fix it, because there was no clear way to fix things. It was kind of heartbreaking to read, because I saw my own relationship with my mom in Hoffman's words.

The only downside to the plot was Stella's relationship with the football player. It seemed awkward and out of place - I applaud Hoffman for taking a risk, putting the heroine with the character who wouldn't necessarily be called the "hero" of the younger cast, but her execution could've used some smoothing over.

Other than that, it was a very good novel. A very typical Hoffman novel - she uses supernatural elements to define the relationships between her female characters. It takes after Practical Magic in the way that the women's abilities are passed down through the family line, but the circumstances and characters are different enough so that you can firmly separate the two novels in your head.
Profile Image for Badly Drawn Girl.
151 reviews26 followers
December 8, 2010

I have some mixed feelings about this book which usually happens when I read a book that allows me to suspend belief but which doesn't have enough substance to sustain my enjoyment beyond the act of reading. To put it simply, while reading it I was sucked into the fairy tale like quality. But after I was finished (and had come back down to earth) the flaws showed up quite clearly. I felt that people changed too much, too quickly... and that in hindsight the story had some huge holes in the plot.

Now I don't want to get down to specifics so I won't. I would say that sometimes people read for information, and sometimes they read to escape, and sometimes they read to evoke feelings, or visit faraway places or just to kill time. We read for a million different reasons. This is a book that shines as a beach read, a vacation read, a bedtime story. It's uplifting, optimistic, fun and enjoyable. It's not great literature, and that's okay too. Only in hindsight, did my feelings wan... but while I was reading it I enjoyed it a bunch.
Profile Image for DeB.
952 reviews246 followers
April 15, 2015
Surprised to discover that I liked Alice Hoffman's writing. I had mixed her up with another author and avoided her before this. I loved the touch of magic, the heart and pathos of the people, the charm in her writing. I will try another...
Profile Image for Amy.
Author 2 books149 followers
January 22, 2009
I though I'd read this when it came out, and was right- I had- but went ahead and reread it anyway. Hoffman has a thing about the relationships of women in a family lineage- Practical Magic, Blackbird House both come to mind. But she has such a lyrical way of breathing life into her characters, that the journey is magical. Her books start off and you can feel the breeze, smell the scents in the wind, feel the weight of the very air. She weaves the environment into every story, whether it's a New England town, or the Florida coast. I love her dips into Magical Realism that often frequent her books.

Anyhow, she usually has a passage or two that just knock my socks off. This book it was:
Love ambushed you, it lay in wait, dormant for days or years. It was the readt thread, the peach stone, the kiss, the forgiveness. It came after you, it escaped you, it was invisible, it was everything, even to someone at the very end of their life...

Profile Image for Lisa.
105 reviews4 followers
February 4, 2009
Yes, another Alice Hoffman book under my belt. When I read this book, I was transported to a town I would love to live in. I would love to work in that tea shop and cut plum pie, live in Cake House, have mystery, wisteria, bees and powers surround me. That would be wonderful. But the other morning, I had a dream about this book. And in this dream I was bugged by how passive Jenny is. She is passive like like March in "Here on Earth." It's like these characters turn late 30s/early 40s and become idiots. "Oh, here I am having awesome sex with men and I have a daughter? what? her hair is black? she's being attacked? Whatever, I'm having awesome sex!" This bugged me so much it seeped into my self-conscious. I have read enough AH now to see patterns, patterns I enjoy reading. But really, that passivity blows.
Profile Image for Karen.
572 reviews20 followers
February 5, 2016
My rating is 4-1/2 stars. This was the type of story that started off slowly and hooked you with little, interesting tidbits of information and before you know it, you have Kleenex nearby and actually come to care about every single person, living or dead, in the town of Unity as if you were living there right along with them. Alice Hoffman's writing was poetic and profound. Her theme of love was shown in all it's ugliness, from grief to heartbreak, and it all it's wonder from new love to restored relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the town, the history, the supernatural elements and the way all that affected me as I was reading it.
Profile Image for Margo.
762 reviews2 followers
April 28, 2017
This was my introduction to Alice Hoffman and I really didn't care for her style of writing. I really thought I was listening to a translation and was amazed to see that she has lived her entire life in New York. Something about her sentience structure did not seem to flow well. Possibly this was due to the narration by Susan Ericksen but I didn't think so at the time.

This was a story of a family whose women were possessed of one supernatural gift each. The main focus was on the three most recent generations; the grandmother who could detect untruths, the mother who could see peoples dreams and the daughter who could predict the dates on which people would die. As I am a fan of fantasy, this sounded promising but for me the main focus of the novel was on romance, one of my least favorite genres! The in between the inter-generational dramas the author seemed to spend a lot of time musing on the nature of romantic love. I'm sure there're people

I expected a stronger emphasis on the magical and fantasy elements of the book. I would also have liked a bit more emphasis on the plot which at best, I found insubstantial and unstructured. I think it's fair to say that this was not the book for me and, had I not been reading it as part of a challenge, I would have consigned it to my DNF pile quite early in. (less)
Profile Image for Judy.
970 reviews55 followers
April 2, 2012
Finally I got around to reading this book. The copy came to me in 2008. I loved the story, the characters, the family histories, the old house, the lake, the roses and old trees, the evocative prose....everything that often is found in an Alice Hoffman novel. I found this book to have themes similar to those in Practical Magic. I felt like I could smell the lake and the old damp house. Even the food descriptions in this book made me taste or imagine...was it 9-Frog Soup? I enjoyed the stories about the women and the men they should not have chosen but felt incapable of not choosing. Life is so like that, we make so many wrong or late moves. Hoffman worked her magic, and so many surprising things took place, and I was left feeling full pleased and satisfied. Big thank you to dolphinwriter for sharing this with me! If I could write stories, I would want them to read like an Alice Hoffman story.

I recently also finished "The Ice Queen" by Hoffman, and really enjoyed that one as well. It's not at all full of the same kind of magic that fills her other stories. Lots of sadness, depression, and loneliness, but I still thoroughly loved the magical prose and fanciful ideas.
Profile Image for Olivia.
163 reviews12 followers
January 16, 2022
2022--Second reading

I don't remember when I first read this but it was a couple years ago. And I loved it!
It's actually fairly similar to Practical Magic. And as much acclaimed as PM is, I have to say I like this one better. It's not as... Adult situation and language? There are some innuendo, infidelity, and a few spatterings of unpleasant words even so though.

I love her writing style SO much. AH wasn't my first intro to magical realism but I came to crave it more through her because she does make it so real. And makes you want to look for the little things everywhere.

Wow, how AH weaves misunderstandings and reconciliation. Words unsaid and what should not have been said. How complicated family's can be but focus on what matters most. I love the folklore she incorporates and that it's like a modern fairytale.

In some ways I do think this is more a 4 star now though, there were a few things that didn't match what I remembered, as well as didn't flow as well. Also a couple typos lol

One of the books I bought myself for Christmas 💛
Profile Image for Marie.
329 reviews
September 10, 2007
I have to stop reading Alice Hoffman. I read Here on Earth and The River King and both of them felt flat to me - so did this one. I never came to care for the characters. I felt that the stories had to potential to be very interesting, but what could have been a spellbinding mix of the human and otherworldly never really ever gelled for me. I found myself skimming pages of botanical descriptions, and let's face it, if you're not a botanist, pages of descriptions of the local flora is most likely going to bore you. Most of the characters in this book, from the teenager to the senior citizen to the father-turned-good to the heart-of-gold cafe owner rang hollow and stereotypical to me. I didn't care what happened to any of them, and the only thing that made me finish was that I hate to leave a book unfinished.
Profile Image for Teri.
1,761 reviews
July 29, 2019
Unfortunately, this didn't work well for me. I did like the writing, I think Alice Hoffman weaves a great story, however, her books tend to make me kind of sad. I love the whimsical and magical elements that are present, but--and I'm sure this is intentional, like trying to be somewhat realistic--her characters drive me nuts. I couldn't stand almost anyone in this book. Now, I understand in real life there are tons of unlikable people, but Lord, I don't want to sit with them. Stella was the worst kind of brat. Most of the adults were completely unlikable. I hated Will. Was I happy for Liza? I don't know, she seems kind of stupid, but she was nice, so there's that. Doc was a good character. Hap. Matt of course, but we don't get enough of him for me. I will read from this author again, but hopefully with more likable characters.
Profile Image for Melanti.
1,256 reviews116 followers
January 27, 2015
I hate to admit this because I really am a fan, but Alice Hoffman is rather formulaic. So, if you've read other Hoffman books and liked them, you'll probably like this one too.

I do feel obligated to point out that henna doesn't work like a commercial hair dye. As a general rule, you can't get hair the color of a stop light by using it. Nor can you decide at 4:30 that you'd like to dye your hair and be finished and presentable for a dinner party that night.

I've seen this error in several books - all published in the late 1990s/early 2000s. It makes me wonder what sort of misinformation was circulating about henna at the time. (Or possibly there was a glut of fake henna products on the market, perhaps?) I'm sure it resulted in a lot of disappointed would-be redheads!
Profile Image for Ruby.
144 reviews
January 9, 2013
Some books are like short, hot love affairs. They are irresistible, calling out to you for attention during any number of inappropriate times, such as when driving. You might leave such books open on the seat next to you, wishing for traffic and long red lights. When books like this are over, they must be mourned.

Oh, I don't know if I believe in Alice Hoffman's world of redemption, of blue roses and the whims of bees and birds, but I sure would like to. I'd like to visit Unity and look for the spot where nothing grows to pay homage to Rebecca Sparrow, maybe ring a bell...

I know what complicates my ability to give one integral star rating to this book, but some books you have to hold in your memory as more perfect than they are. Sometimes you decide not to kiss and tell.

Profile Image for Marcela.
20 reviews
November 6, 2017
I’m a fan of Hoffman’s “Dovekeepers” and “Museum of Extraordinary Things” so I thought I’d give this book a try. I was sorely disappointed. Instead of a fascinating story about a family of women with magical powers and a young girl trying to cope with hers (which seems more a curse than a gift) I found a story about mediocre people living mediocre lives in a tiny mediocre town. The only interesting part of the entire book ended up being the backstory to the Sparrow women spanning 6+ generations, which could’ve been told in one chapter. The vast majority of the book was boring and I didn’t feel at all engaged or attached to any of the characters like I did in “Dovekeepers” or “Museum.” I found myself skimming through most of the book.
Profile Image for Michelle.
515 reviews33 followers
September 20, 2016
This was a major disappointment for me. I usually love Alice Hoffman books, but this one was just eh. My major complaint is the way that it was written. You would get 1 page of the actual story and then 3 pages of some side stuff that doesn't really matter. All through the book you get this. It really just made reading the story so much harder.

The 2nd complaint I had was that 90% of the characters were asshats in some shape or form. I really don't care that they seemed to redeem themselves in the end. They were really not likable at all.
Profile Image for Carolyn F..
3,342 reviews51 followers
June 21, 2017

The normal Alice Hoffman book - people with something extra in dysfunctional relationships - love it. I loved how even finding their special someone doesn't make all of their problems go away. Really good book.
Profile Image for Carrie.
60 reviews
December 5, 2017
This book touched my heart in so many ways I don’t write long reviews so I am sorry. I found myself crying over an anecdote I this book and I don’t cry. I hope anyone who reads this review and reads this book enjoys it as much as I did.
Profile Image for Theresa.
973 reviews19 followers
June 13, 2022
The Sparrow women, all born in March and all awakening on their 13th birthday with a special gift, are part of the very fabric of the New England Town of Unity for over 300 years. Here we follow 3 generations of Sparrow women in contemporary times:

Elinor who can identify lies and liars, dedicated her life to her gardens and trying to create a blue rose, turning her back on life after her husband died, and on her daughter...

Jenny was left to raise herself after her father died and her mother disappeared into her gardens. Jenny's gift is to be able to read others dreams. She runs off with the town bad boy liar and does not see or speak to her mother Elinor for many years.

Stella is Jenny's daughter. Rebellious, blond when all Sparrow women who came before were brunettes, wakes up on her 13th birthday with the gift of seeing the future lives of others. Thus there can be no question that Stella is a Sparrow.

The story revolves around these 3 women, the men in their lives and the town itself, as all reconcile their gifts, relationships with each other, and the lives and deaths of all Sparrow women.

I bumped my rating up from 3.5 stars because there really are a number of spectacular images and magical moments, and an effective use of those differences, strengths, or wisdom that had women like the Sparrows judged as witches. Those ultimately over-road the times it dragged or failed to grasp my attention.

ETA - a day after writing this review more dissatisfaction rose to the surface, especially with the ending, so I dropped to 3 stars.
Profile Image for Dele Haynes.
218 reviews13 followers
May 11, 2018
The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman, (Fiction) I've been enjoying a great discovery of Alice Hoffman's books recently. Her books have a very strong female center where the women take the lead. In a world where they solve what is happening in their own lives. Her books also includes the otherworldness that women seem to move through so effortlessly.
The Sparrow women are the center of The Probable Future, each Sparrow woman is given a spiritual gift on her thirteenth birthday. Elinor Sparrow sees the truth in people, her daughter, Jenny, dreams other peoples dreams and her granddaughter, Stella, sees some peoples point of death. Each of these gifts will help each woman to come to understand each other better and bring them a future they had not imagined for themselves.
A mother-daughter conflict is at the center of the story. Elinor and Jenny had been estranged for years, Jenny and Stella are going down the same path. They each had to come to recognize their own faults in the matter and to begin to return to a loving relationship.
I've come to really enjoy Alice's stories. Her female characters are strong center characters in their own lives. They make mistakes, but they lean on each other to solve them. I also enjoy that she creates worlds that are not all black and white, that there are other forces in the world. I believe women are connected to these forces. Yes, I would recommend that book to anyone who would like to discover a slightly different world.
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