THE AUTHOR: All the Forgivenesses

A Note from Elizabeth Hardinger

Dear Readers,

All the Forgivenesses tells the story of Bertie Winslow, born in poverty in Kentucky at the turn of the twentieth century and forced, at fifteen, to bear the responsibility of four younger siblings. In addition to privation, Bertie must navigate complicated family dynamics, find her soul within the framework of a punitive theology, and invent a life from scratch. I hope you’ll root for Bertie and her siblings as she struggles against her own ignorance, impatience, jealousy, and fear of failure to try to reach a place of love and forgiveness.

I imagined writing a novel for many years; I got an MFA in creative writing in 1986. I piddled around and wrote notes and first drafts of a few chapters. Then one morning about ten years ago, I woke up with these words in my mind: “Do you think you’re going to live forever? How mad are you going to be on your deathbed if you don’t write that book?” So I started writing in earnest.

I hope you enjoy this sojourn through a life that few of us will ever know.

All best,



Elizabeth Hardinger