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A Read with Jenna Bonus Selection
Ethan Joella’s deeply moving, life-affirming novel about residents in a small Connecticut town facing everyday fears and desires—a lost love, a stalled career, a diagnosis—pulls at the heartstrings and provides hope.
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.
The residents of a small Connecticut city navigate grief and hope in Joella's tender debut, a series of vignettes marked by a sense of connection and community. In the opening, Freddie Taylor and her husband, Greg, both nearing 40, grapple with his cancer diagnosis. Freddie had planned to return to writing fiction once their daughter started school, but instead takes a part-time job as a seamstress while Greg, who has worked hard to make v-p at a financial services firm, wishes he were handling the illness better instead of turning prickly toward Freddie and his boss, Alex Lionel. Alex's own fear and guilt are detailed in a later chapter about a long-ago affair he had after the death of his son at 14. Now Alex is hoping his wife of 50 years, Kay, will meet his lovely grown daughter Iris from that tryst. There's also Darcy Crowley, the widow who started the dry-cleaning business where Freddie works and wishes to mend things with her son, who has become addicted to pills and alcohol after his dad's death and a breakup with his girlfriend. The prose can be simplistic, but Joella has a good handle on each of the many characters. Throughout, the overlapping story lines keep readers turning the pages. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Literary.