Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Hope against Hope by Sheena Wilkinson

Polly follows her cousin Catherine to Belfast, to a very special women's hostel called Helen's Hope. But Belfast is splitting apart and even in their haven, the war finds a way in...

I grew up in Ireland, I've lived here for all my life. When I was young the news always had reports of violence Up North, but I'm ashamed to say I never thought about it was just part of the background of life in Ireland, and I was still too young when the Good Friday agreement came into play to really think about it. I never spent much time wondering what it was like for the people living there.

Now I don't have to. This book paints such a vivid picture of what was happening at the time, how people dealt with it. I love that it doesn't demonise either side; some characters are portrayed as bad, cruel or mean, but not because of the ideologies they follow. Just because some people are cruel or mean.

Polly is a fantastic character. I understand that Stella and a few other characters appeared in Sheena's other books, but I never felt as if I was missing out on anything or that there was backstory I didn't know about. I'll be looking up the other books now to read. This is a fabulous picture of a very important piece of Irish History, and I'm glad I learned it from this wonderful book.

Ireland is at war, communities torn apart by bitter hatred – and now a hard border. But brave young women stand up for hope.

The year is 1921. Ireland has been at war for two years. Communities are torn apart by bitter hatred - and now a hard border splits the island. In Belfast, Helen's Hope hostel is a progessive space where young women live and work together - a haven of tolerance and diversity in a fractured city. But some people hate Helen's Hope and its values. Another pitch-perfect historical novel from the prize-winning author of Star by Star.

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