Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life by Caroline Day – Blog Tour Book Review
Be charmed by 2021’s most unforgettable heroine
I’m pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for the delayed release of this wonderful book. They say that things happen for a reason and Hope is definitely something we need right now. Publishing on 22nd July so do grab yourself a copy and delve in.
About the Book
‘In life you meet many people. Some you admire, some you wish you’d never met. Few make you think: ‘When I woke up this morning, I didn’t imagine that I would meet somebody like you.’ When you do, it’s rather like taking a step and finding gravity has relaxed. Hope Nicely is a little like that.’
‘A sunburst of a story, full of love, kindness and one of the sweetest, most engaging central characters you’re likely to meet. An absolute joy’
Sarah Haywood, bestselling author of The Cactus
Hope Nicely hasn’t had an easy life.
But she’s happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people’s dogs. She’s a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she’s a rainbow person, a special drop of light.
It’s just . . . there’s something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope decides to join an evening class where she will not only learn the lessons of writing (including the number one golden rule of ‘show don’t tell’), but may also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some friends.
But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are even more lessons to come . . .
Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life is the novel we all need right now, a heart-warming tale of loneliness, friendship, acceptance, kindness, and, above all, hope.
‘A heart-bursting book, full of tears, laughter and hope. Gorgeously written with an incredible protagonist, I can’tit recommend enough, it’s FABULOUS’
Jessica Ryn, author of The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside
‘A gorgeous, funny, heart-warming read. Leaves you smiling’
Ericka Waller, author of Dog Days
About the Author
Caroline Day is a freelance journalist and consultant editor, living in Crouch End, married with kids and two dogs. She is an alumna of the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course and has written extensively for national media, with a focus on the human side of health and family issues.
She first started writing Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and successfully completed her 50,000-word target in the space of a month (although she has since edited it a lot).
Caroline is in close contact with a Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder support group from whom she has received an enthusiastic early response and she does have some personal experience which has both given her the idea for the novel, ‘where Hope comes from’ as she describes it, and huge respect for those living neuro-diverse lives.
About the Audiobook Narrator
Zoe Croft is a multi-award-winning actress and filmmaker who is passionate about representing neurodiverse characters in the media. Her acting career thus far includes appearances in several BBC dramas, including as a series regular in ‘Holby City’. Like Hope, Zoe always wanted to be author. But, like many children who have learning disabilities she struggled in school and was told by a teacher that ‘people like her’ don’t become writers. Nearly a decade later she decided to prove them wrong! Her first short film, ‘Some Way Out’, that she wrote, illustrated and starred in won several awards – including best writer! Zoe is thrilled to be voicing Hope and *hopes* you enjoy the story as much as she did!
Zoe is represented by VisABLE People, an agency which specialises in finding mainstream opportunities for artists with disabilities.
What I Thought
Agents and publishers talk about finding a book with a strong voice so they must have leapt at the chance to represent this one. Although, it is perhaps easier to ‘find the voice’ in a first person narrative, that doesn’t make Hope’s voice any less valid. After all, that’s kind of what the story is about. Finding your voice, speaking your truth, and being your authentic self.
As a writer I loved that the book was structured as Hope’s autobiography and also that the chapters focused on a different aspect of writing a book. It was almost like a mini writing exercise in itself.
The cast of characters are bought vividly to life through Hope’s narrative, with their flaws and strengths on clear display through her literal responses to them, and their responses to her, which aren’t always as positive as I’m sure the readers will be.
Our narrator Hope has FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Although I read a printed ARC I have listened to the sample of the audiobook narrated by Zoe Croft and based on that I’d happily recommend either option. Hope’s voice leaps from the page but Zoe also helps bring her to life.
There are some serious topics considered in the book with her adopted mother Jenny’s illness and her search for her birth mother. And I’m not going to say you won’t need tissues to hand. You will likely laugh and cry, and feel a hundred other emotions.
TW: Suicidal Ideation, Ableism (by some characters against Hope), Adoption.
Do take a look at the introduction to Hope’s Golden Rules (pictured above) – I think a certain government might – flip a pancake – learn something from Hope.
If you’d like to find out more about FASD check out the U.K. Network here: http://www.fasdnetwork.org/what-is-fasd.html
A huge thank you to Tracey at Compulsive Readers and the publisher for the gifted ARC for the purposes of an honest review. See what everyone else on the tour thought over the next few days too.