Toni Childs followed up her critically acclaimed Union in 1991 with House of Hope. Once again, Childs wrote the bulk of the album with David Rickets (David and David) with whim she co-produced the album. Despite those facts, and despite the return of guitarist David Rhodes and drummer Rick Marotta, House of Hope fails to match the impressive standards of Childs' debut.
Childs treads much of the same ground as on Union, both lyrically and musically, but too much of House of Hope feels incomplete. What the record lacks, however, is almost made up for on the tracks that do work beginning with the lead-off "I've Got to Go Now," a tale of a woman leaving an abusive relationship. Childs dramatic vocals imbue the protagonist with willful, albeit fragile, resolve and a spirit that is moving. "Heaven's Gate" is a lovely ballad resembling a lullaby (which chronicles a widow's longing to be reunited with her husband) over a graceful soundtrack of piano and acoustic guitar. And on "The Dead Are Dancing," Los Lobos' David Hidalgo adds guitar and accordion to the ode to the disappeared dissidents of Chile.