Lesley Pearse is one of my favourite authors and I have read many of her novels. Her writing is so captivating that she transports you to the era the story is set in and you really care about the characters. Hope is another great example of how great an author Lesley is.
On a bleak night Lady Harvey gives birth to a baby girl but as the result of a love affair the girl has no place in Lady Harvey’s world. Nell, her maid, takes the baby to her family, the Rentons, and they bring her up as one of their own children. Named Hope, this baby girl has a wonderful life growing up in a farming family and yes there is hardship but love and care for her is abundant. Unfortunately life takes a cruel twist when her parents die and she has to move in with Nell and her mean husband Albert.
Hope starts a journey of hardship in her life. She is forced to leave her home and family by Albert and finds herself in the roughest and poorest area of Bristol. But she is a determined girl who makes some close friends. After tragedy strikes again, Hope meets Doctor Bennett who encourages her to become a nurse. Finding herself in the most basic hospital in Bristol she works hard and eventually ends up nursing the wounded in the Crimea.
Twists and turns take place throughout this story and we wonder how so many things can happen to one person. But Hope is determined, learns quickly and has an ability to win people’s hearts. So we want her to have some happiness in her life! Bennett is just that person who Hope loves and marries. But just as happiness comes, so does more hardship when she goes to the Crimea and the awful conditions the soldiers had to endure. Hope has to come home without Bennett but will she see him again and what else will happen? If you haven’t read this book, I will let you find out…..
Hope is a character we really care about. We identify with her emotions and we are willing her through the situations she goes through. Sad and happy, we are there with her in the story and hoping she has a happy ending that she so deserves. Lesley’s stories are also historical fiction and her descriptions of the slums in Bristol and places in the Crimea make us feel as if we are really there. I found her description and what Hope saw in the Crimea poignant and really horrific. Knowing a bit about this period of history, this part of the story really makes you think about what really happened there and how many people died due to poor conditions rather that fighting.
I really enjoyed this story and if you like some historical fiction mixed with characters you will care about, drama and emotion you will love this book too.
Let me know what you thought of Hope and also if you are a big fan of Lesley’s novels as I am?