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A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
Contemporary fiction

A Little Hope


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Ethan Joella, on your first book!

by Ethan Joella
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Quick take

An ode to the beauty of the everyday, this novel traces the losses, loves, and dreams of a small Connecticut town.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad



In the small city of Wharton, Connecticut, lives are beginning to unravel. A husband betrays his wife. A son struggles with addiction. A widow misses her late spouse. At the heart of these interlinking stories is one couple: Freddie and Greg Tyler.

Greg has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a brutal form of cancer. He intends to handle this the way he has faced everything else: through grit and determination. But can Greg successfully overcome his illness? How will Freddie and their daughter cope if he doesn’t? How do the other residents of Wharton learn to live with loss, and find happiness again?

An emotionally powerful debut that immerses the reader into a community of friends, family, and neighbors, A Little Hope celebrates the importance of small moments of connection and the ways that love and forgiveness can help us survive even the most difficult of life’s challenges.

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Why I love it

In A Little Hope, a heartfelt, life-affirming novel, we follow the many stories of the inhabitants of a small Connecticut town. Each chapter is devoted to someone new—a woman whose husband has just been diagnosed with cancer, her husband’s high-powered boss and his illegitimate child, a local business owner with ties to everyone in the community, and more. If this all sounds dizzying, it is all the more testament to the excellent writing that seamlessly blends these stories together.

At the heart of it, this is a novel about the resiliency of love and the human spirit. We love each other, love who is left, love who we can, and do the best we can do, however that may be possible. This does not mean that we aren't changed, of course, and we see into the minds of those who have lost and see the scars that are left and how they persevere. Especially after the bruising last eighteen months, which, I suspect, have left us all looking for connection and meaning, this felt especially relatable.

What I love about this book is its emotional truths—at times deeply sad, the novel is simultaneously soothing as it speaks honestly of the everyday celebrations and tragedies of each character’s life. The author captures so well what it is like to be young, to get married for the first time, to lose your first love, and to find your head spinning at having lost the freedom and carelessness of your 20s. It is a beautiful novel, and as the title suggests, its moving characters and beautiful writing might just give you a little hope.

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