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A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
Contemporary fiction

A Little Hope

Debut

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

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad

    Sad

Synopsis

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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of A Little Hope.
A Little Hope

1.

Rain Day

Freddie Tyler wakes at six and watches her sleeping husband breathe for a moment. The dog lifts his head from his place at the foot of the bed and jumps off to join her before she slips out the door. Downstairs, she flips the switch by the fireplace and flames spread out among the river rocks.

The coffee sputters and drips as she opens the back door for the dog, Wizard. Freddie relishes the rush of autumn air against her ankles, watches the dog trudge through the dewy grass, goes back in to feed the cat, which has been waiting in the kitchen.

She shouldn’t be worried.

Freddie has always loved mornings. She likes the margin she gains when she’s the first awake. She likes the way the back lawn outside the window looks rested and raked. She likes the way half the kitchen is dark. The sun through the skylight makes lazy shadows of trees across the wood floors, and she wanders around the house as if she has just discovered it.

Beyond the yard’s back fence are two wooded lots, and she wishes she and Greg could buy them so no one ever builds there. The trees are starting to turn, just blushing now with hints of red, and she pictures a deer somewhere tiptoeing its way around. She imagines knowing those lots would always stay the same, knowing they could make that happen. But this isn’t a good time to talk about the future.

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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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Member ratings (18,129)

  • Katelyn H.

    Saint Paul, MN

    “Deeply moving” is a buzz phrase I read a lot in book reviews, but “A Little Hope” is exactly that. It will evoke that feeling of sonder, especially for those who are familiar with grief. Exceptional.

  • Raquel J.

    San Antonio, TX

    This book was so amazing! I loved how there were different plots & characters that all kind of intertwined. An amazing read ????. Thank you for making me cry & laugh. I love books that are so real!!✨☺️

  • Anne F.

    Indianapolis, IN

    I am smitten with this story! The words flowed so easily it reminded me of Ann Patchett’s writing. The interwoven stories full of heartbreak and hope captivated me and I couldn’t stop. Sad it’s over!

  • Sandy A.

    Ozone park, NY

    Unfortunately I read this book during the roughest time I’ve experienced in life thus far-I’m certain I cried a little extra than most. Fortunately, it’s emotional truths provided huge comfort. Loved!

  • Stephanie L.

    Colorado Springs, CO

    Such a beautiful, easy read. Ethan Joella has a way of making life’s simple details carry so much weight. And I suppose they do. Even though there’s a lot of sadness, there’s also so much joy in it.

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