By: Terry Tyler
When settling down to read Hope by author Terry Tyler, keep the following passages from Charles Dicken’s masterpiece A Christmas Carol in mind:
“At this festive season of the year Mr. Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries.”
Scrooge- “Are there no Prisons?”
“Plenty of prisons…”
Scrooge- “And the Union Workhouses. Are they still in operation?”
“Both very busy sir…”
“Those who are badly off must go there.”
“Many can’t go there; and would rather die.”
Scrooge- “If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
While A Christmas Carol was published in 1843, if we sprint ahead 200 years in the novel Hope, we will arrive in a futuristic Britain with some very intriguing parallels. In both works the poor and downtrodden remain on the outskirts of society looking in. However, in the novel Hope, something more sinister and esoteric is afoot. A perfect read for those who love fast-paced and intelligent fiction… which is really not so far from the truth!
The novel follows the lives of the three major characters- Lita, Nick and Kendall. Lita is a successful blogger and social media influencer; Nick is a journalist and political activist who goes under the pseudonym “Widow Skanky” in his spare time; and Kendall is a cute, yet needy, retail assistant. The three friends are roommates who are increasingly concerned with the direction their country is taking. A new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Guy Morrissey and his wife MoMo, is making itself known for strict austerity and an unforgiving nature. It brings to mind the phrase, “only the strong survive.” Or is that really the truth? Sometimes people are hit with pure bad luck, or in some cases, debilitating sabotage. That can lead to their utter destruction despite having a robust inner strength. This is something the trio find out first hand. When they run afoul of the authorities, they spiral all the way to the bottom and end up homeless and in the workhouse known as Hope Village. The three failed to safeguard themselves in a society which basically knows and follows your every move. Privacy simply does not exist and security is only for those who play nice. Will the friends be able to rise up and overcome what seem to be insurmountable odds? or are they doomed to a lifetime of suffering in this new and unforgiving land?
I have reviewed Terry Tyler’s work before so I was not surprised in the least by the quality of her writing. It is fast-paced, intelligent and gripping. It will engage the reader right from the outset and then spit them out at the end. Mesmerized from start to finish. I could honestly read her work all day long. However, what I found the most impressive in this particular book was the terrifying nature of the plot. This author knows her stuff! She understands the art of social media and it is discussed intelligently, realistically… and put together as part of a fascinating story! Also, around the globe we are currently observing the rise of austerity and harsh, narrow-minded governments which welcome exclusion as opposed to inclusion. As such, what Tyler puts forth in Hope is not too far from reality. That is what makes it a truly terrifying book!
In regards to characters, I found the many different players to be very well developed and entirely believable. They are characters who I will not soon forget. For instance, Lita experiences a roller coaster of growth throughout the novel. We see her experience extreme highs and devastating lows. We are also able to get right into her mindset. Nick and Kendall play significant supporting roles, albeit at opposite ends of the spectrum. Nick as a caustic rebel and Kendall as a gullible individual who simply wants to be loved in a cold-hearted world. In my opinion, Kendall may be the wisest of them all in the end. As a reader you find yourself rooting for the trio as they battle setbacks and truly evil, devious individuals.
Overall, I was entranced by this novel and give it my highest recommendation. It should be required reading for those who possess a social conscience … but more so for those who do not. Top notch fiction which is juxtaposed with current events.
5 out of 5 Orwellian Stars for this one! *****